Gardening is the practice of cultivating and growing plants as a part of agriculture. As we all know, gardening often takes place in a spacious area in one’s yard where you can plant any flowers you love and vegetables you need for daily consumption. But nowadays, as most people live in cities and high-rise buildings, they rarely have enough space to grow a garden. If you are one of these people, urban gardening is what you need to know to be successful in the venture you want to pursue.
Urban gardening is great for people living in the city. But first, there are many things to reflect on, such as the type of urban gardening you want to engage in. You must also know the importance of it to humans and the environment and learn how to become successful in this line of gardening.
In this article, we will discuss how to handle urban gardening. Fortunately, there are so many tips to sustain urban gardening. These suggestions will guide you toward creating a bountiful harvest of your crops while saving money.
What Is Urban Gardening?
Urban gardening is a practice that refers to the local community growing food crops within an urban environment. It includes a combination of techniques and approaches to grow plants in a densely populated area. Urban gardening has been a successful alternative to regular gardening for those living in the city. It represents a shift from the traditional way of planting crops that can only be done in rural areas toward an urbanized environment.
With the growing recognition of the quality of food we consume, urban gardening is one of the most promising agriculture trends rising. City dwellers are seriously taking matters into their own hands to bring sustainable food to their tables. Indeed, more and more people would like to engage in gardening, even if they lack space to produce organic crops to provide their families with the freshest food possible.
Plus, you get to save a substantial amount of money by growing your own vegetables and fruits rather than buying them at the market. Urban gardening is surrounded by several unique gardening forms and concepts, including the following.
Container gardening is ideal for people with little to no garden space. It is a micro model farming where a family produces fruits and vegetables in containers for their personal consumption to help improve the health and well-being of their family members. Container gardening can make use of old tires, plastic bags, clay pots, raised beds, buckets, milk jugs, barrels, ice cream containers, bushel baskets, plastic bottles, and cans.
A community garden is an area where the residents of a community are entitled to create and build gardens to sustain the neighborhood’s needs. This practice either utilizes individual or shared plots on private or public space by a group of people. Also, it is a great idea for those with no space to deal with. Community gardens allow people to build social ties and create a friendly society.
If you have no deck, balcony, or rooftop, indoor gardening can also be a functional method for you. Similar to container gardening, in which plants are grown in containers, with this method, the garden is situated indoors. You can place it near windows or in a spot that receives sunlight.
A green roof is an addition made to the roof of an existing building or house to grow plants. It can be partially or completely covered with vegetation. On the other hand, green roofs provide shade and reduce the temperature of the roof’s surface and surrounding air.
Guerilla garden is a revolutionary type of gardening that makes use of public space, vacant lots, or even spaces beside highways. It is a troublemaking method of gardening that is not advisable if you cannot face the consequences of it.
Hydroponics is a Latin word meaning “working with water.” It refers to the art of gardening without soil. Instead, this method uses mineral nutrient solutions in water to grow plants. According to studies, plants that grow through the hydroponic method are more nutritious, healthier, and grow quicker than soil-grown plants.
What are backyard farms? Curious about this structure and backyard farming? If you plan to live a sustainable lifestyle, you need to know more about these topics. Read our article to know more about backyards farms and the benefits of backyard farming.
The Importance of Urban Gardening
As most people now live in urbanized areas, their food always travels long distances before reaching their tables. This means that the food we serve is not fresh as it already traveled a long journey. With this dilemma, everyone is entitled to find ways to serve fresh food to feed their loved ones. So, we will talk about the importance of urban gardening to sustain our daily food needs.
Increase food security
Urban gardening involves planting simple food crops like leafy vegetables, herbs, and fruits. As a result, it lessens the dependence on fruits and veggies produced from farms to the market. Home-grown crops also escalate the number of foods accessible to a household and prevent malnutrition and hunger.
They also reduce the impact of food deserts in low-income residents and allow families to enjoy nutritious food that is necessary to live healthily. Thereby, city dwellers now have access to foods that are fresh and nutritious.
Ensure healthful lifestyle
Urban gardening ensures fresh and healthy organic foods that are mainly free from unnatural fertilizers and pesticides. It gives your family the nutrients they need to stay healthy and active every day. In addition, the aspects of horticultural therapy that uses plants and gardening to improve an individual’s mental and physical health have been widely recognized as an effective form of therapy for some time.
Enhance the whole human-being
To be able to grow and produce food as a fruit of labor brings satisfaction to one’s body and mind. Urban gardening helps improve a person’s physical and mental states as it makes them active and calm at the same time. Raking, digging, and stretching the body is indeed some form of exercise that improves one’s mobility and flexibility. Also, gardening makes you feel peaceful and relaxed, which boosts your mood and reduces stress.
Social interactions are important to the well-being of the people within a community as it has positive health effects. Indeed, community gardens bring people together and allow them to find good company in their neighborhoods. It can provide productive and effective activity, not only for adults but also for teenagers and kids as well.
Engaging in the community gardens results in exchanging thoughts and ideas to improve ourselves. This connection may also reduce crimes and allow residents to feel safer in their neighborhoods.
Economic significance and gives jobs opportunity
Urban gardening can promote economic development and local employment. It can increase the economy of a certain place or community by generating economic activities by producing and selling crops like herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Ultimately, it generates job opportunities for the community and creates income.
Urban gardening reduces air pollution as more and more people in the cities practice this activity. Plus, it does not contaminate as much soil as a rural setting, which uses lots of non-organic fertilizer and hazardous chemicals to maximize the harvest.
Urban gardening has a good impact on the environment. It strengthens environmental consciousness through aspects like organic waste recycling, securing quality water and air, and preserving urban biodiversity.
Experts believe that investing in urban agriculture can greatly enhance a community’s knowledge of agriculture. Through urban farm programs that educate and inform, many people will get involved and become more aware of how local food systems and processes are made and distributed.
As a result, alternatives to food sources are created, and access to fresh food is made easier. Alcala said that urban agriculture may not be able to produce all that city dwellers need, but it is a way to increase awareness of agriculture and of the government’s programs to ensure food security.
Alcala also mentioned that in emergencies, they have a ready source of food. Likewise, he shared that having more plants in their house gives them more fresh air and that gardening has become his way of exercising and contributing to the city’s clean and green program.
If you are an avid consumer of vegetables, it may be a good idea for you to transform your backyard into a vegetable garden. This way, you will have your own source of produce and you will be able to partake in an activity that is good for your physical and mental health. To help you get started, here is a guide to turning your backyard into a vegetable garden.
Tips for Building a Sustainable Urban Garden
Most gardeners frequently grow ornamental plants for their beautiful appearance, and root vegetables, leafy vegetables, fruits, and herbs for consumption, cosmetic, and medicinal uses. Also, gardening encourages you to get outside to connect with nature and deal with your beautiful surroundings. This activity has been proven to fully benefit human beings.
Here are some tips you must follow to build a sustainable urban garden.
Consider your space
Before you start digging and planting, you have to consider the space available. Take a look at the area you intend to use for your garden. You also have to consider that your place is exposed to sunlight and rain, as it influences the growth of your crops.
Selecting you soil
The soil determines the quality of the crops you will reap. It is the foundation of your garden, and it plays an important role in the entire existence of the plants. Testing your soil is advised to determine the pH level and soil type.
While ready-mix soils guarantee great results, they are loaded with chemicals. Incorporating your soil with organic matter and soil amendments will benefit your crops. Thus, go for organic soil and harvest chemical-free healthy crops.
Choose the right plants
Plant food that you usually like to eat and consider your setting in picking the crops to plant to avoid failure. Leafy vegetables and herbs are perfect as they are easy to grow in urban areas. Do not overcrowd your plants and start small as you consider your space.
Native plants will also prosper as they will adapt and withstand the weather conditions. Don’t waste your time and effort on plants that you know you will leave behind, and instead, invest in crops that you will benefit from.
Consider the sunlight
Sunlight is essential for all plants, as it is one of their sources of energy for survival. If your garden is a bit dark, most crops will not prosper. On the other hand, not all plants need the same amount of sunlight. Do some research on the plants’ needs while considering your location.
The best time to water the plant is early in the morning when it is still cool outside. This makes the water available to the plants throughout the day. Plus, watering in the evening when there is no sun cuts down evaporation and allows the plants to take all the water they need.
Besides, overwatering will kill the plants. So, remember that too much is bad in all aspects. As most urban gardeners use containers, we advise adding drainage holes to avoid waterlogging.
Consider vertical gardening
The advantage of growing plants vertically is that it saves space in your garden and allows you to grow more in a single space. You can also use spaces where you otherwise couldn’t grow anything, such as fences and walls, to hang your potted plants. Plus, growing plants vertically in containers adds visual interest and beauty to your garden.
Urban gardening has existed for many years and has had a big impact on modern society. Since we cannot control urbanization in society, we need to adapt to the world we live in.
The interest in urban gardening has already arisen from individuals to community groups, all united by the same objective: improve the quality of their health and food access. Urban gardening is the solution to feed our family the right and healthiest food. Gardening has always been proclaimed as a relaxing hobby that provides great benefits.
Backyard gardening has enabled many people to create their own sources of food, minimize their stress level, improve their mood, exercise, maintain good mental health, create relationships and a community, and so many more. Here are 12 reasons why backyard gardening is important.
Nowadays, as many people work from home and kids are homeschooling, gardening can be a great family-inclusive activity. Aside from being able to provide food for your loved ones, urban gardening is also beneficial to your mental health. The essence of urban gardening is that it places all of the benefits of rural living within the reach of the city dwellers, even if there is not enough space around.
No matter how small your space may be, there are options for you to enjoy urban gardening. All the tips and advice mentioned above are great options to consider for city people and everyone who loves gardening. With proper planning and a little bit of creativity, you can have your own garden even if you live in the city.