Urban Gardening is the hot, new trend of city slickers across the world. As younger generations simultaneously flock to urban areas and return to green, urban gardening has actually become a norm.
In fact, the urban agriculture trend is revolutionizing how we understand gardens — and for the better. With new limitations (like the ones that come with concrete jungles), the way we garden has the opportunity to morph into something even more fulfilling and wonderful than traditional garden beds.
Here’s everything you need to know about urban gardening — from urban gardening
What Is Urban Gardening?
At its core, urban gardening is growing a plant of any kind in a city. This includes all types of techniques and opportunities to create successful growth. The first rule of urban growing: there is no right way!
Generally though, when we say urban gardening, we’re talking about two types of growing: container and rooftop gardening.
Container gardening is a small collection of plants hosted within a large pot. It’s an ideal solution for the concrete jungle inhabitant— especially for those living in small spaces. Container gardens most often occur on patios, porches, small yards, balconies, or windowsills. Buckets, raised beds, and window boxes are the most common homes for plants.
Rooftop gardening is transforming the roof of a building into a garden. Not by placing pots out, but by adding soil and creating garden beds. Rooftop gardening is a bit expensive but results in a beautiful garden that brings lots of joy and long
History of Urban Growing
Urban gardening has a rich history. It’s been around since ancient Egypt when community wastes were used to help feed urban farming.
Their resurgence occurred in the United States during World War I and II in response to food shortages. These were called the infamous victory gardens, which developed into a huge program.
The Victory Garden Program produced nearly 10 million pounds of fruits and veggies. This accounts for almost 50% of U.S. grown produce. At its peak, nearly 6 million people participated in the movement.
The benefits of gardening are extensive. Urban and container gardening? Especially so. Now, urban
Increases general emotional well-being.
Gardening has been proven in studies to reduce levels of depression and increase happiness. There’s a unique bacteria in soil called
Once it’s in your body, it encourages you to release serotonin, which is colloquially known as the happiness hormone. This serotonin then spreads through your body and helps ease the symptoms of depression.
In any case, there’s something particularly joyful about having green at your fingertips, no matter how concrete your urban environment is.
High focus levels.
Studies show that having plants around you can improve concentration and productivity by up to 15%. Plants spur on our creative power. When we see nature, our brains begin to process information differently. This stimulates the creation of new ideas.
Whether your garden is indoor or outdoor, having your plants close by and within view keeps your brain happy.
Ensures you eat fresh.
It can be difficult to eat fresh, organic food as an urbanite. It’s particularly expensive and, depending on where you live, sometimes difficult to find. There’s no fresher/more organic/more sustainable food that harvests eaten right off the vine.
When you grow, you’re in complete control of what you’re ingesting. No toxic chemicals and no GMOs. Plus, you’ll be immediately eating your fresh produce while your veggies contain their highest amounts of nutrients.
Reduces food miles.
Growing your own food allows you to reduce your carbon footprint. The veggies/herbs you buy at the supermarket are usually not local, which means they’ve traveled quite a way to get to you.
Often, your garlic is actually coming from China. By container gardening even a few veggies, you’re significantly reducing the environmental cost of eating.
Urban Gardening Tips
For a complete guide on how to begin your urban garden, go here! See below for the most essential urban gardening techniques.
- Sunlight is vital. Find a place where your garden has access to the sun for at least 6-8 hours a day. If not, move your garden to follow the sun!
- Soil depth is important. Shallow plants (under one foot tall) require at least 6 inches of soil depth, whereas more deep-rooted plants need at least 1 foot of depth.
- Consider drainage. It’s imperative that moisture can move through the soil.
- Soil content is key — find a curated soil mix or stick to potting soil.
- Water your garden! Generally speaking, soak the entire container each time but do not overwater. Regularly dump out any excess water.
- Be creative! No matter what your space is, an urban garden works for you. Think hanging baskets, window sills, fire escapes, etc.
- For smaller gardens, create your own compost using your everyday waste! Old produce, coffee grounds, newsprint, and flowers can all be made to compost.
Most importantly, know that, with urban gardening, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Experiment and find a container garden that works for you. The good things you’ll reap from your garden will astound you.