5 Things to Consider When Picking a Spot for Your Urban Garden

August 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Front Page, Gardening, Slideshow, Sustainability, Tips

A windowsill makes a great place to begin your urban garden. Photo: Courtesy SnorkMaiden_Creative Commons

A window ledge makes a great place to begin your urban garden. Photo: Courtesy SnorkMaiden_Creative Commons

People who live in an apartment or townhouse don’t usually have the luxury of available green space to start a garden. And those who rent houses and have the green space may not be able to use it to grow fruit and vegetables, since the land doesn’t belong to them. Yet, those in tight living spaces can still get involved with urban gardening by using the space they do have to grow herbs, fruits, and vegetables.

Growing a garden not only saves money in the long-term, but it also creates a sustainable lifestyle by reducing the waste and carbon emissions that come from transporting these goods all across the world — and from making trips to the store and back to buy them. Plus it’s a commonly known fact among gardeners that if you grow something, it tastes better!

Your urban garden doesn’t have to be large or diverse in order to bring pleasure and greenery into your home. Even if all you have is a windowsill or some unused room in your kitchen or basement, it can easily be enough to start an urban garden of your own.

To begin, you first need to figure out where you will put your urban garden, and how much space you actually have. You don’t necessarily have to do any measuring if you only plan to grow herbs and/or vegetables, but you do need to consider these factors when picking a spot in your apartment or townhouse for your urban garden:

  • Lighting – It’s best to choose a spot with lots of natural lighting, like a window or a kitchen. However, if you decide to have your urban garden in your basement or in a closet, you would then have to provide artificial lighting with lamps. In this case, you would have to consider outlets and power strips. Whatever the case, make sure your garden gets six to eight hours of sunlight (real or artificial) a day.
  • Heating – With artificial lighting, this isn’t a problem, since the lamps should be enough to keep the soil warm. But, a window that’s too drafty could make the soil too cold for your seeds or your baby plants to grow.
  • Humidity – Some plants require lots of humidity, and if you live in a humid area, this might not be a problem. If you live in a dry climate, however, then a location like the bathroom or the basement may be better. Remember though, if you choose to grow plants that don’t need a lot of humidity, keeping them out of the bathroom is probably a good idea.
  • Away from Pets and Children – Some plants may be poisonous to Fluffy and Fido, and even to humans if ingested. Others may have some sort of special appeal that Fluffy and Fido can’t resist. All plants will probably interest your toddler (what doesn’t?) and he may accidentally damage it or knock it over. If you have pets, putting your urban garden on the floor is probably not a good idea. If you want to grow plants with fruits and leaves that droop low enough for your pets to get a nibble, make sure to hang them from the ceiling so they are well out of reach.
  • Easy to Clean – Pick a spot that’s easy to clean in case dirt or water is spilled, and when leaves shed. Or find an area that could easily be protected with a mat or newspaper. Positioning your garden over carpet may not be a good idea unless you have a particularly old or ugly rug that you don’t mind ruining.

Kitchens often serve as the best place to start a small urban garden, but this still differs from home to home. You have to consider your own situation, what you want out of your urban garden, and what sort of plants you would like to grow. Don’t let living in a townhouse or small apartment hinder you from creating your own urban garden. It doesn’t take much to start one, and you can easily add more plants as you gain more experience.

Learn to grow your own food, and you will be well on your way to living a sustainable lifestyle.

Kaylee Osborne

Guest Writer

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Kaylee Osborne is a writer and green living enthusiast. She spends her days writing informative content for Sylvane and spends her evenings bike riding and enjoying delicious local foods in Atlanta, Georgia.


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