Even as technological advances by humanity are skyrocketing in amazing ways, humans are still reliant on their most basic necessities, such as food and shelter. Today, many urban families or people who don’t have large plots of land to call their own are choosing urban farming, growing their own plants and food to consume in an entirely sustainable and self-satisfying why.
There are almost endless positive reasons to engage in urban farming, such as a reduced carbon footprint, helping combat climate change, and even having an impact on reducing the massive amount of resources that are guzzled by transporting produce by finding new ways to have local foods. It also offers urban farmers a way to have total control over their own goods and produce, without using fertilizers or pesticides, and the little bit of greenery can even improve the local air quality.
Once you have made the decision to start your own urban farm, no matter how big or small you start with, we have compiled some essential tips and tricks to get you moving with the best foot forward.
Do the Research
At the planning stages of your urban farm, start doing your research right away, which you can start by checking out gardening books at your local library or asking friends and family what gardening books they found to be the most helpful. The USDA has local gardening Cooperative Extension offices that are also designed to help burgeoning farmers looking to make the world a little more green.
While doing the research, pay special attention to your region’s growing season, the best plants that can be grown in your climate, and the steps you will need to take to prepare your garden. You will also need to consider where you want your garden located for optimized exposure to sun, wind, and other conditions such as availability to pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies.
Start documenting all your efforts right away, and be assured that future gardens will be improvements as you will have kept a lasting record of what was planted, where, and what time of year planting and harvesting worked out.
Planning Your Garden
You have several options when it comes to planning out potential layouts. We’ll explore some of them below.
Benefits of Containers and Raised Beds
Most urban farmers opt to do their planting in containers, pots, or homemade raised beds, as this allows them to have total control over the soil quality, helps to protect the plant from any pests that come from the soil, and even allows for the plant to be moved for the best exposure to the sun. In addition, containers can be placed on the ground, or even hung in the air or set outside a window to maximize your use of space.
These containers can be upgraded and made from incredibly stylish and designer pots that compliment the look and feel of your landscaping. When you choose containers, you get to add an extra element of unique beauty to the plants to choose to grow.
If you plan a larger garden, raised beds are likely going to be your best bed. Either way, containers offer better soil quality, improved water drainage, a longer growing season for most plants, and much easier maintenance for the urban farmer.
Making your own compost from combining yard waste and food scraps benefits your wallet, your garden, and the environment. You will save bundles of money when you don’t purchase compost from the store to enrich your soil, and in addition you will reduce your own amount of waste that goes directly to the landfill by putting it back into the earth—in your urban garden—instead.
Begin with the Easiest Crops
For the first year you have an urban garden, stick with the tried-and-true vegetation that has proven to be the easiest to grow in your local region, and use this time to learn the unique quirks and aspects about gardening in your own urban house. Then, in later years, you can take on more high maintenance and difficult plants with confidence and experience under your belt.
Typically, these plants will include lettuce, peas, herbs, radishes, and tomatoes, but be sure to do the research and find what’s best in your area. Finally, advanced gardeners may prefer to start with a seed to have total control over the plant, but there is nothing wrong with buying a young plant and replanting it in your urban garden for fast and rewarding results.
Reap Your Rewards with Your Urban Garden
No matter where you live or what you choose to grow, an urban garden can be an incredible and rewarding experience that is a success once you follow our tips and tricks.