Tips for City Dwellers
We’re turning concrete jungles into food-producing powerhouses.
City dwellers may not have 5 acres and a mule, but new technology and techniques are helping them grow fresh food in downtown locations. Check out our guides for tips on using walls, roofs and overlooked spaces to grow greens and herbs now.
Grow Up, Not Out
No matter how small your garden, you will harvest more by growing plants vertically. And the sky really is the limit if you select climbing plants. The benefits of growing up (and not out) include greater yield, easier harvesting, and the opportunity to “dress up” your garden with ornamental structures that promote climbing. Many vegetables climb naturally—or will reach skyward if so encouraged. Pole beans, and vine tomatoes excel at ascension, as do the ever-popular cucurbits: cucumbers, melons, and squashes, among others. Once you decide which vegetables you want to plant, turn your attention to which supports you will use to grow them. Trellises, arches, fences, cages, stakes, lattices, netting—the possibilities are limited only by your imagination and your tastes. Just be sure the tendrils of your plants can latch onto whatever material you choose.
Choose High-Yield Plants
Do you really want to devote precious space to a plant that’s stingy come harvest time? If you don’t have much land to work with, prioritize productive varieties to ensure you make the most of your available land. Leaf lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper, radish and pole beans all earn their keep when it comes to productivity.
Think in 3D
Imagine your garden space in three dimensions, not two. You can create more soil surface on any flat landscape by rounding it out (adding a mound and then tapering it down). Make even better use of that space by arranging your plants to maximize the number that fit in it. Avoid square patterns or rows and instead plant in triangles, making sure to adhere to the spacing guidelines and not crowd your plants too tightly.
Vegetables, flowers, herbs—almost any plant can thrive in a container as long as it has the proper soil and care. When you lack lots of land, container gardening provides a viable alternative for you to maximize the space you do you have. Perhaps even better, containers come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and composition so they’ll help you embellish the nooks and crannies throughout your garden plot.