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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Urban Gardening: Grow Anywhere!

Contributing Author: Misty Baker
Just because you live in an apartment, does not mean you have to live without the joys of fresh, homegrown garden vegetables. There are just a few simple steps that can help you achieve your homegrown produce dream.
 The first thing that you need to do is to consider your growing conditions. Ask yourself what is the availability of sunlight? It is a good idea to spend a few days watching the sunlight pattern on your patio, deck, or balcony. The amount of sunlight directly affects which plants you can grow successfully.
 The second step is to assess your space.  If you have a small space, then you will have to grow small plants with smaller root systems. It would not be a good idea to plant corn or other large plants. Most importantly, make the best use of your space!  Use additional space on walls to grow vegetables and fruits.  And hanging planters could also make good use of a small patio.  Strawberries, cherry tomoatoes or dwarf pepper plants would thrive well in a hanging basket.  The following is a listing of plants that grow well in containers:
  • Tomatoes (you will have to provide support for their stalks)
  • Peppers (you will have to provide support for their stalks)
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Mustard greens
  • Carrots
  • Turnips
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Radishes
  • Potatoes
  • Most herbs
 The final step is to purchase good dirt. I prefer a mix of five different types of compost, e.g., worm compost, cow manure, mushroom compost, vegetable and fruit compost, etc., vermiculite, and peat moss. If it is good enough for Mel Bartholomew, the inventor of square-foot gardening, then it is good enough for me.
 If you would like some more information on small container gardening, then there is an abundance of information on the Internet. I highly recommend the Squarefoot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew.