Summer Planting Tips for the Urban Gardener

Sometimes people who live in urban areas have an interest in growing vegetables, fruit and even flowers, but they have very limited outdoor space. While this isn’t ideal, it does not mean they have to give up on their idea. Even if you live in an apartment or condominium, it is still possible for you to grow enough produce to make the effort worthwhile.

You may have never grown a garden before, so your first one should be on a small scale. You may want to start off by planting a simple salad garden that features carrots, lettuce, radish, cucumbers and tomatoes. It is very convenient to have these vegetables on hand to create healthy meals, and you can reduce also your grocery bill considerably.

Create a Balcony Garden

Condo owners often have an outdoor balcony, and this space is usually large enough to create a reasonably productive garden. You will first need to consider how much natural light is available, and then choose your plants accordingly. If the area is exposed to sunlight at least half of the day, you can grow many types of bush plants such as tomatoes, climbing beans, green peppers, strawberries and flowers.

If one end of the balcony is shadier, that area can be used to grow shade-loving plants such as lettuce, salad greens and sugar snap peas. Since peas love to climb, provide a structure for them so they can grow vertically and use less space. Tomatoes, strawberries and flowers can be grown in bags that hang on a wall, taking up no floor space at all on your balcony. Make sure all the plants get enough water so they do not dry out and eventually die.

Gardening Options for Patio Space

You may be lucky enough to live in a condo with a walkout patio that has enough sun exposure to grow plants. If your patio is large enough, you could construct one or more raised beds to create a garden plot large enough to produce tasty vegetables and fruits. The raised beds can be constructed of 2 x 10 planks and should be no more than 4 feet square. The boxes should also have a bottom to prevent the soil from leaking out onto the patio when you water your plants, but make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom of the boxes. Place the empty boxes at the desired location on your cement patio and fill them with bagged garden soil before planting your seeds or seedlings.

Plant your raised beds with cool weather vegetables such as lettuce, peas and radishes as early in the spring as possible. These vegetables mature quickly and can be cleared out within a few weeks so the space can be used for plants that mature later in hot weather. If your growing season is long enough, you could replant the cool weather crops in fall to produce again before winter.

Growing Indoors

Perhaps you are someone who really would love a small garden but have neither a patio nor a balcony available where you live. If you have a large window that gets a good amount of sun exposure during the day, you may be surprised at how much you can actually grow in that space. Protect the flooring with a plastic carpet runner before placing planters and pots in front of the window, and fill them with potting soil before planting. Water the plants and enjoy watching as they produce healthy veggies you can add to your meals.

Don’t let your urban setting hold you back from being healthy, saving money and satisfying your green thumb. Let these ideas spark your interest to create the garden you have always wanted!

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