25 Urban Gardening Ideas
- Make an urban garden on your balcony with upside down 2L soda bottles.
- Make a self-watering container!
- IPES Agricultura Urbana is a Spanish language urban farming page focused on Latin America and the Caribbean.
- Crate a Rooftop Garden, but make sure you get permission first. And remember – water is heavy, so make sure the roof can handle the weight.
- Got a vacant lot and permission but no money? Do a Kickstarter campaign, like these urban gardeners did.
- 5-gallon buckets make great containers to grow things like tomatoes in – just make sure they have drainage holes in the bottom.
- Make a container garden. Bigger containers mean more food grown, and try putting wheels on them. Wet soil is heavy!
- Add a DIY Rain Barrel.
- Grow a dwarf fruit tree in a container.
- Grow veggies and herbs in window boxes.
- Create a windowsill garden.
- Join a Community Garden.
- Or start a community garden yourself.
- Compost in a small space: create a worm bin.
- An urban trellis is a great way to go vertical with vegetables like green beans.
- Add food plants to your local park, things like mint, wild rice in a shallow pond, edible violets, wild strawberries, or the huge and easily identifiable hen-of-the-woods.
- Become a guerrilla grafter!
- Listen to Food Chain Radio, a show about urban gardening.
- Start a corporate garden at work.
- Consider rooftop bees.
- Put in a fire escape garden.
- Try installing a wall garden.
- Urban aquaponics can be large or small scale.
- If your municipality allows it, urban chicken farming provides rewards.
- View urban gardens around the world.
I saw a man,
An old Cilician, who occupied
An acre or two of land that no one wanted,
A patch not worth the ploughing, unrewarding
For flocks, unfit for vineyards; he however
By planting here and there among the scrub
Cabbages and white lilies and verbena
And flimsy poppies, fancied himself a king
In wealth, and coming home late in the evening
Loaded his board with unbought delicacies.
– Virgil, The Georgics (29 B.C.)
Bonus: Here's an urban garden photo gallery.
Thanks for these great ideas, Wendy!
I'm staring with maybe the easiest one – #18 – listening to Food Chain Radio, but hopefully my wife and I will work our way up from there. My wife cultivated some delicious lettuce in a pot on the balcony last year, so we will try to expand a bit this year.
A contributor from Texas (not much water and too much sun) suggested a way to grow lettuce directly in bags of potting soil. The bags are laid across saw horses so you don't have to bend over to work with them. The bag itself serves as the container for the soil.
This worked well for me for many years – it's a simple, weed-free way to grow lettuce, spinach and even radishes. Take a 2 cubic feet bag of potting soil (I used Miracle Grow), rumple it around quite a bit to loose the soil, poke quite a few holes in the back side for drainage, then lay the bag on a smooth surface that will allow drainage and not get too hot, and cut out the top, leaving about a 4 or 5 inch border all around. Lightly rake through the soil to even it out and loosen it even more, then carefully, and evenly sprinkle the seeds around. I put my bags on metal sawhorses and grates to make them waist level. This kept the bags off the hot concrete and I didn't have to bend over when cutting my salad. When harvesting, just use a pair of scissors and cut what you need – don't pull the plants out. Same goes for spinach – they will grow back almost magically overnight, and you can't tell where you cut. Spray mist the seeds and plantlings at first when watering, until they are established, then you can water more vigorously as the plants mature. I just kept mine moist, but not sopping wet.
I love the idea of urban gardeners using the packaging as their pots.