There are loads of ways to grow an affordable urban garden. We’ll highlight seven easy urban garden techniques and inexpensive methods to make a great summer garden in limited spaces in and around your home. Here we grow!
1. Plan your garden
This step will actually save you time and money later because you’ll better understand your space, resources, and project expectations. Important things to find out during the planning phase are the following: your budget and the amount of time you want to dedicate each week to the garden, how many growing months there are in your region, and how much space you have. This is also a good time to take inventory. For example, do you have any unexpired seeds hanging around, or unused buckets for planting?
The answers to these questions will guide your planting. It’s also important to sketch out where you’ll place your containers and what you’ll plant in them. Don’t worry if you’re not an artist. This is just to visualize where your precious plants will grow best.
2. Save seeds!
This is one of the best ways to save money on your urban garden. I’ve found that seeds from pumpkins, squash, peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes (heirloom or commercially grown) can sprout at least one generation of quality produce. To save seeds, make sure the fruit or vegetable is fully ripe, remove and clean the seeds well, then place them on a towel or newspaper for several days until the seeds are fully dry. Store them in a dated and labeled paper bag in a cool dry place.
3. Store seeds safely.
Plant saved or bought seeds in biodegradable egg cartons or even in half eggshells to directly transplant the seedlings later. This is a great way to avoid purchasing more plastic containers. Once your seedlings appear, you can place the eggshell or carton into the permanent pot.
4. Save your old suitcases, dresser drawers, and old buckets.
Large containers convert wonderfully into some of the best urban garden real estates because their depth, breadth, and durability are ideal for growing larger fruits and vegetables. Use homemade or bought trellises to train the vines of melons, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, and tomatoes to grow vertically within these larger containers to save space.
5. Hanging planters aren’t just for decorative plants.
These medium-sized containers are great for certain herbs, spinach, leaf lettuces, radishes, or any veggies that have more shallow root systems.
You can easily create your own nutrient-rich compost by putting your vegan table scraps into a large bucket and…letting them rot! There are also affordable compost buckets and worm composting containers available that fit nicely under the kitchen sink if space is an issue.
It’s a kitchen must-have. If you don’t want to tackle an urban garden this year, start small and go for a garlic garden. Just peel the cloves of one garlic and skewer about five cloves. Place all the skewers in water for about 12 hours, or until all the garlic cloves have sprouted roots. Lay the skewers over a small, water-filled container so that only the roots are touching the water. It will only take a few days before stems appear from the clove tops and you can transplant each into a small pot. Voila!