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Urban Gardening – A Growing Trend

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Every day, throughout the suburbs and urban communities, more and more people are choosing to start their own gardens to try and get that farm-to-table taste in their own homes.

When you think about the benefits of urban gardening the most common one that comes to mind is growing your own food. Throughout the past few years, the cost of fresh produce has continued to rise and more and more people have become aware of the benefits of in-season eating. However, growing food is not the only benefit that comes from urban gardening. Growing fruits and vegetables on your city patios, porches, and balconies can greatly improve the air quality in your area. The more plants you grow, the more toxins and pollution will be filtered out of their surrounding area. Urban gardens can also establish a sense of community. Starting a rooftop garden in an apartment building or a community garden on shared housing porches and patios can strengthen relationships and build new connections.

When thinking about starting a new garden, it is important to check your zoning locations that pertain to plant growth and harvests. Knowing what to grow is half the battle. It is also necessary to note where the sun faces and how many hours of sunlight it gives to your gardening area. Some vegetables are very hardy and can last under the darkest and worst conditions from season to season such as lettuces and onions. Many other vegetables and most fruits need a certain amount of sun every day up to eight hours for them to thrive and be able to harvest.

If you live in the suburbs, you most likely have a little more yard to work with than your neighbors in the urban communities. Whether you are farming hundreds of acres or fifty square feet, gardening in the ground is much of the same process - preparing the soil, planting, and fertilizing. If you do not have a yard or want to try different types of gardening, there are plenty to pick from.

One of the leading trends in gardening right now is what’s known as container gardening on patios, porches, balconies, and roofs. Container gardening does not necessarily only mean a flowerpot. It’s exactly how it sounds - any container used to grow any plant. You can even get creative and grow vertically using pallets, old gutters, and more!

Hanging a pallet with the inside facing out, on the ceiling of your porch or balcony, or putting it on the side of the wall frees up floor space and gives you a larger space to hang plants from. By adding mason jars to the side of the pallet, you can create your own vertical herb garden. If you choose to attach the pallet to the top of your balcony or porch, buy some hooks and use them to hang multiple hanging planters. Hanging planters come in all shapes and sizes and can be used for things like lettuce, cabbage, green onion, tomatoes, and strawberries.

If a pallet is too bulky or not a reasonable option for you, then try hanging planter boxes or some trellis. Putting planter boxes on the outside of your railing complemented with a trellis can give you the opportunity to grow a plethora of fruits and vegetables without taking away from the limited space you have. Many plants that vine along the ground can be grown vertically on a trellis or lattice if it is strong enough to support the weight of the plant. Surprisingly, plants like pumpkins and watermelons actually thrive when grown at an elevation off the ground.

Stand-alone planter boxes and flowerpots allow you the option to grow some of the more deep-rooted and stronger plants. These options may consist of corn, carrots, peppers, celery, and most fruit trees. If you live in an apartment building with roof access, check with your landlord about the rules and restrictions pertaining to rooftop gardening. If this is possible, then you may have the ability to have your very own urban farm on the top of your building.

After harvesting and cooking, start collecting all the scraps from your kitchen that can be used as compost. Put a box just outside the kitchen door to collect food scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, and cardboard. This can greatly reduce the amount of trash thrown out and helps stimulate plant growth and overall plant health.

Urban and suburban gardening is on the rise so get on board and see what type of urban garden you can create with your ingenuity.

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