Urban farming is a way for people who enjoy city life to grow their own produce without access to a dedicated garden space. Ottawa showcases this ability through the use of the Central Experimental Farm, a dedicated agricultural site and research centre. Although community gardens are also popular in various urban areas, not everyone has the time or skill to dedicate themselves to these spaces. While some may have fond memories of picking fresh produce, others are newer to growing their own food. This article will give you the information you need to become an urban vegetable gardener in no time.
What is Urban Vegetable Gardening?
This type of gardening is done strictly in pots or containers using shelves or trellises. It scales down the extensive practice of farming vegetables to an easy, accessible level. Urban vegetable gardening can be done almost anywhere but is most prevalent in urban areas where apartment dwellers are capable of growing their own vegetables from the comfort of home. In addition to being a great way to round out your diet, this gardening practice is also an educational opportunity. Understanding the growing conditions needed for food production can give you a better perspective on the effort it takes to stock the shelves of grocery stores.
How Do I Start an Urban Vegetable Garden?
If you have a balcony, your first step should be identifying the amount of sun it gets. Perhaps you notice that you only get direct sunlight in the morning or in the afternoon. Once you’ve determined this factor, choose plants that would do well based on those conditions. If you are unsure of what to choose, something like tomatoes can flourish in various sunlight exposures. Next, you’ll want to purchase pots with drainage holes and a good soil mix from your local garden store. Additional items needed will depend on the vegetable you are buying, for example, tomatoes need dedicated cages or sticks to help them stay upright.
If your apartment lacks a balcony, there is no reason you can’t still have an urban vegetable garden. You’ll just need to adjust the types of plants you buy. For example, herbs are a popular choice that can easily be grown indoors. Basil, cilantro, mint, thyme, and lemongrass are all potential options. They can continue to grow year-round, and cuttings can easily be frozen and used whenever you need to put them in your favourite meal.
What Vegetables are Good for Beginner Gardeners?
Plenty of vegetables grow just fine in containers and pots in addition to traditional gardens. Ensure you pick a vegetable that you know you’ll enjoy, or can be easily gifted to neighbours. Some vegetables that are ideal for container growing are:
- Hot and sweet peppers
- Root vegetables like carrots, potatoes
- Salad greens
Although it can be challenging to contend with a plant that won’t grow or one that doesn’t survive past the first few weeks, don’t get discouraged. Even the slightest issue can stump the best farmers. You can always try again with something else or figure out what caused the problem and focus your efforts on mitigating it next time.
What are the Benefits of Urban Gardening?
Like owning a houseplant, watching a vegetable garden grow can be relaxing and healthy for your well-being. But this kind of activity also has other benefits. Many people find it rewarding to be able to eat the produce they have grown themselves while also saving on their grocery bills. In addition, this gardening endeavour will teach you valuable life skills. Maybe you’ll even try growing your crops from seeds next year rather than nursery plants!
Urban gardening takes practice and dedication. While it might not be ideal for everyone, it can be a rewarding experience that brings you closer to nature and a natural way of life even while you enjoy apartment living. At Accora Village, we encourage all our tenants to embrace the lifestyle that suits them. If you love the idea of urban gardening, our balconies are the perfect place to start growing. Contact us to learn more about our available apartments.