Friday, July 4, 2014

Urban Gardening

Picture by Sebastian Rauch
You love gardens, you love plants and you love to eat fresh vegetables. You know how to do it and they say you have a green thumb. You got all the equipment you need to plant, but there is only one problem; you live in the city. The good thing is that we now have techniques on how to garden on a small space. So, whether you live in an apartment and you have a very small space, you can still work those green thumbs and have a small garden. 

So, what to plant?

The first thing you have to consider is budget. So how much will you spare for the garden? A little space arrangement ought to cost respectably compare to a bigger one, however there is still a cost.  You will still have to invest on better seeds and fertilizers. Organic fertilizers can be cheaper, but in a small space and a city, well, you have to be very careful with that. Your neighbors might complain of the smell of fresh animal manure. 

Now that you have considered the budget, we now talk about what to plant. You have to consider plants that are easy to maintain since you live in a city and obviously your time is quite limited in your garden. There are a lot of plant species that are considered as low maintenance like tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, green beans and lettuce. Low maintenance means they are easy to grow compared to other crops and even kids can grow them. 
Here’s a list of typical vegetables for easy gardening:

Cucumber (pipino)
Pigeon Pea (kadios)

The best vegetables for containers are potatoes, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squash, beans and don't forget herbs like basil and rosemary. 

Also, take consider plant compatibility for most of these plants will share a space or a pot. You don’t place a plant that required too much water on a plant that needs less. Also, don’t place a plant that requires more sunlight from a plant that only requires less. Example,  tomatoes, which likes hot and dry conditions, would not be a good match with water-hungry cucumbers.

Then the second thing you have to learn is how to maximize the use of pots and containers. Large pot can accommodate a lot of salad-type vegetables, but it will not really consume a large amount of space – something like 6 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 1½ feet high is Ok. Also, if you have some discarded one liter plastic cola bottles, just collect them so you can make a plant tower. Wait, waitnot so fast! We will get into it as the article continues.

There are plants that can thrive even in a small space: tomatoes, culinary herbs like basil and cilantro goes well on pots.  Remember those plastic cola bottles that I mentioned a while ago? This can come in remarkably handy for vertical gardening. Tomatoes, peppers, and countless herbs can thrive plant towers made from cola bottles.  

It's best that you get a pack of potting soil to include when planting. Peat most and ready-mixed potting soil is found in most garden supply shops. It gives a natural help when planting. Also, but a slow-releasing fertilizer and apply them twice – once when planting and again partially through the sunny season. This will give enough sustain to an incredible harvest. 

Always keep an eye on your growing crops. You sometimes don’t know what lurks on its leaves and stem. Watch for signs of disease like discoloring, wilting, and insect damage. Use organic-type pesticides if possible. Again, organic pesticides can be brought in the nearest garden supply. 

And then there is the damage from urban pollution… dust, smoke from exhausted pipes, chemicals. If your place is surrounded by trees, then it would solve the problem.  The trees will protect your garden from pollution coming from factories and vehicles. Ok… no tress? If you live in subdivisions, away from  the main street, that will solve the problem. If not, then just wash your produce thoroughly with baking soda and running water before serving them.

Keep your garden watered well and see that you water them er… not too much and not too little. Test the soil and the easiest way to tell if your plants need water is to stick your finger into the soil; if it feels dry, it’s time to water. Too muddy and that means you’re giving them too much.

Pick fruit when ripe to guarantee continuous production. Use a sharp pruner to remove fruit from vegetable plants and shear herbs as cleanly as possible to keep your plants healthy and productive. Impress your guests and serve your vegetable fresh – right from your own backyard.

Aside for personal use, you can also bring additional sources to your family. If you reap a good harvest, you can sell these to your neighbors. 

So what are you waiting for? Get those hands dirty and start your own urban garden.

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