Escaping the onslaught of GMO veggies and pesticide-laden farmers’ crops seems an impossible task for many city-dwellers. Space is a huge issue, as many city-dwellers mistakenly assume their small backyards aren’t large enough to accommodate growing fresh fruits and vegetables. For many apartment dwellers, a backyard is non-existent, and therefore there is no place to grow.
For these urban folks, the message is simple – you don’t need a huge space to grow fresh fruit and veggies.
The following is a guide for efficiently and creatively growing in small spaces, including backyards, windowsills, and on porches and verandas. By growing your own food (or superfood), you’ll eat fresh and be healthier. Plus, you’ll know exactly where your healthy foods are coming from, and you’ll save yourself some money, too!
Raised Bed Gardening
If your backyard is small, there’s still hope. Raised beds are a terrific way to grow fruits and veggies, even if your soil isn’t nutrient-rich (many city backyards are tundra, compared to their country counterparts).
Raised beds are higher than ground level, and the soil can be store-bought. To use this method, you’ll want to purchase two 1 x 8-inch cedar boards. It’s important to choose cedar because this wood does not rot. You’ll then make a series of cuts to create the 4 x 4-foot beds. Nail 1 x 1-inch pine stakes at the corners to brace the beds. If your backyard is too small to accommodate a 4 x 4-foot raised bed, make the beds smaller by cutting the wood smaller.
Lasagna gardening is a form of raised bed gardening, and it requires no-till. You quickly compost by alternating green (grass clippings, foodstuff) and brown compost (leaves, coffee grounds, etc.). Then you let the compost settle in the bed, before planting your fruits and veggies in layers. Put peppers underneath veggies, such as collard greens and lettuce.
You can create the bed with wood, or you can use cement blocks. Cement blocks are great because you can grow fruits and veggies inside the holes, such as herbs and strawberries.
Potatoes in a Barrel
Just as the title suggests, potatoes can be grown in a barrel (or trash can or something similar). Simply poke some holes in the bottom of the barrel, and then add soil, followed by a layer of sawdust, and then more soil. Plant the potatoes, as instructed by the seedling’s packaging.
Plant Fruit Trees
Did you know you can plant small fruit trees in tiny backyards, as well as in courtyards and on balconies? The Willis Orchard Company notes that: “As a society, we have all become so accustomed to finding our fruit – any fruit, all fruit, regardless of the season – at our local supermarkets. When we taste what is possible from our own land, a whole world of flavor instantly becomes available to us.” The Willis Orchard fruit trees include apple trees, apricot trees, Asian pear trees, and many more.
You can garden indoors! Even if you have no place to plant outside, you can enjoy your own homegrown foods. Using pots, and the natural sunlight that filters through your windows, you can grow anything that doesn’t require deep roots. If you don’t have natural sunlight, purchase some grow lights. Greatist asserts that the following foods grow well indoors:
· Garlic Greens
· Mandarin Oranges
· Salad Greens
Anyone Can Grow
Instead of falling victim to unhealthy store-bought fruits and veggies, you can get more organic at home. Start small, and remember there’s a learning curve. Do what you can in the space you have, and within a season you’ll be reaping some tasty rewards. What’s the most important rule of thumb? Never give up!