When you live in a big city it can be hard enough to find a patch of green to sit on, let alone fertile ground to the garden. But do not despair. There are lots of things that can be grown in the urban jungle. Once you work out how much room you have, there are many ways to bring organic gardening into your life. Even in limited space, you can grow leafy greens, beets, peppers, and more.
In your apartment
If you have space for relatively large pots on the floor, you have a number of options. One company that makes great indoor containers for the aspiring gardener is Wooly Pocket. Their planters are made of 100% post-consumer materials and run the gamut from small modular containers to a mounting system that can turn your wall space into living art. One of the great things about Wooly’s products is that they are designed to protect floors, walls, and furniture around them.
If all you have is counter space to start an herb garden in, Potting Shed Creations has a fantastic line of organic starter kits. These include a range of herbs and spices and some tasty treats for your pets.
Of course, if you have a patio or terrace, your options are even greater.
Square foot gardening
If you have a back yard or access to a rooftop, this puts you in a whole different league. Jill and I first started gardening when we lived in Brooklyn and we produced enough veggies to keep us going through the summer and into the late autumn. If you are on a roof or just want to keep your garden contained and easy to manage, Square Foot Gardening may be the way to go. The setup for this system, popularized on PBS by Mel Bartholomew is a little more labor-intensive, but once it’s going, the yield from a four-foot square plot can be extraordinary.
If your desire to get in the dirt is strong enough to get you out the door, then you may want to find a community garden in your neighborhood. From small herb patches to legitimate farming, community gardens have been a feature of the NYC landscape since the 1970s when empty lots were tilled to offset the City’s financial crisis. Many native New Yorkers remember Adam Purple but may never have had the opportunity to see his breathtaking Garden of Eden on the Lower East Side (pictured below). Born in the same era and continuing to this day, Green Thumb NYC remains the portal to the City’s community gardens.
However far you want to go with your urban garden, the fruits of your labors will be rewarded. The satisfaction of using your own Qi to grow your food can’t be beaten! In addition to the fun and health benefits, it also saves money. Getting your herbs from your kitchen counter is not only cheaper than flying them from far away, but it is also an environmentally supportive thing to do.