Every year, a larger portion of our population is taking up residence in cities and suburban areas. Many urban dwellers would love to have a small garden and to grow their own food. But unfortunately, they may not own their own land. Want can a renter or tenant do to be able to garden in urban areas, even if they have no land to grow on?
There are three strategies that can enable you to experience the joy of outdoor gardening: Community Gardens, Container Gardening & Self-watering Containers or Planter.
Gardening is a growing trend in urban and suburban areas. And community gardens are often a crucial tool for enabling people to have access to a small plot of their own. You may have one in your area. Each community garden will have it’s own set of rules. You may be able to secure your own raised bed that will only cost a nominal fee each year.
If you live in an apartment, you may have literally NO outdoor spaces at you disposal. In such a case, a community garden would be a perfect fit for you! You may have shared access to tools or materials like mulch an compost. Many such gardens also have very perennials like berry bushes and fruit trees.
If you have a small outdoor living space, you might enjoy growing on-site. Container gardening is the perfect way to do so. You don’t have to worry about disturbing the soil on your rental property. In fact, you might not even have any soil. But large containers will allow you to grow full sized vegetable plants. And smaller containers, like window boxes and great for things like lettuce or herbs.
As renters, we might find that we move from time to time. A container garden will allow you to pack up you garden and move it along with you. Some people have even grown fruiting perennials like dwarf fruit trees in this way.
These are really just an extension of the container gardening. But sub-irrigated containers are worthy of having their own separate category. You might see these referred to as SIPs (sub-irrigated planters). But basically, they simply containers that contain a water reservoir.
This extra pocket of water is slowly wicked upward as the moisture in the soil get used by your plants. This gives you an extra cache of water. Your plants enough a nice buffer against droughts and hot Summer days. They grow larger and healthier, experiencing reduced water stress. Watering is less of a chore for you, and you may even be able to skip a few days between watering.
There are many retail kits, such as the EarthBox. In this video we look at a City Pickers SIP kit. Buy these are easy to make yourself, using DIY instructions. Window boxes, 5 gallon buckets and 18 or 30 gallon totes are all possible candidates for an SIP conversion.
See my site for lots of self-watering container ideas:
WHERE CAN YOU CONTAINER GARDEN?
There is a nearly endless list of possible locations for growing some fruits or veggies in containers. Think of hardscapes, spot that are paved with concrete, asphalt, stones or brick. Options include: Along a sidewalk or walkway, on a deck or patio, along a driveway, on a balcony or even… a rooftop!
GARDENING ON A ROOFTOP TERRACE:
In many urban areas buildings are designed with flat roofs. Sometimes such spaces are efficiently used as an outdoor living area. Similar to a deck or a patio, such rooftops allow residents to sit an relax. If you have access to a rooftop terrace, why not take full advantage of this valuable resource? Install a small container garden!
TIPS FOR GROWING ON A ROOFTOP:
Only grow on roofs that you are authorized to access. There are factors like insurance and liability that must be taken into consideration. A rooftop terrace would be mostly flat. It would also have a railing or parapet along the edge. If you have a situation like this, then do waste this great opportunity!
Different rooftops are designed to bear different amounts of load. Using containers, rather than massive planters can reduce the volume of soil required and the total load placed on that roof. Keep your containers relatively light, using a light-weight potting mix to fill them. Some SIP tutorials will showcase designs that use gravel in the reservoir. This is unnecessary and it makes the containers excessively heavy. Avoid such designs.
Winds on a roof can get strong. For free-standing, unsupported planters, select a container that is not top heavy. Look for a wider base that is not quite as tall. Grow plants that have a lower center of gravity. For taller plants, be sure to properly secure and fasten down their supports.
#UrbanGardening #RooftopGardens #ContainerGardening
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