There is a proverb that says “the only unquestionably useful thing that a person can do is garden.” Just because people are stuck in the middle of a concrete jungle does not mean that they have to give up on their gardens. They use the space that they have.
First Step: Soil
If you have any yard at all, no matter how small, then you have room to grow some food. Even if you only have a postage stamp backyard that the sun never touches, then you have space for a compost pit. The compost pit is one of the most important tools in an urban gardener’s toolkit, because without it soil can be difficult to find. Good soil is cheap when you buy it in stores, but good gardening uses a lot of soil, so it can be useful to have your own supply. It also reduces your solid waste, which is good for everyone.
Creative Spaces for Gardening
Urban gardening does not require any yard at all. Any surface that is touched by the sun can grow some food. You can put hanging pots outside your window or find a few square feet on the roof to put some boxes and crates. Tomatoes and onions grow quite well in pots. Tomatoes will even grow hanging upside down! Radishes will fill a barrel to the very edge. If you have a yard with an old tree stump, then plant squash around it. The squash will grow incredibly well, because they draw nutrients from the wood. In the process they soften the wood and make the stump easier to remove. Squash, pumpkins, and zucchini are all the same plant, though they grow at different times of year, so you can keep a year-round squash garden that improves your living space at the same time. It is very easy to grow more squash than any one family can eat, even in a small urban area. Fortunately, squash makes great dog food.
Advantages of Urban Gardening
This is just one of the many ways that you can use urban gardening to make more green space for yourself. Urban gardening has many real advantages, too. Your plants will have so much resistance to the seasons, because you will be able to carry them inside when it gets too cold or move them into the shade when it gets too hot. You will never have to worry about them getting enough water. Once you truly understand your plants and your soil it will be child’s play to get each pot or garden bed to have exactly the right mixture of drainage and nutrients.
Even if you live in the heart of the city, there is no reason why you cannot take some of the responsibility of food production upon yourself. Any space that can see the sun can grow a plant. Start growing your own urban garden today!
Peter Wendt is a writer, researcher and active environmentalist in Austin, Texas. Peter is also very interested in gardening, and as a project he decided to develop a small urban gardening center. When creating his company, Peter knew he needed legal advice and decided to use this clean energy consulting firm, which he highly recommends.