An Urban Garden is just like a traditional garden, except for the fact that it has been installed within an urban setting. Urban Gardens can be used to plant and cultivate spices, vegetables, and fruit. A number of different kinds of materials can be used to install such gardens: treated wood, flowerpots of different shapes and sizes, or—in the final analysis—any kind of container capable of holding substrate.
Given that the most important elements for growing a garden are water and sun, the first thing that we need to do is find a place that has sufficient—but not excessive!—sunlight. A southern view is recommended.
It is important to stress that exposure to sunlight not be constant. A minimum of six hours for herbs and eight hours for nightshades would be a general guideline.
The advantage of using flowerpots and planter boxes is that they can be easily moved in order to control exposure to sunlight. For this reason, it is recommended that immovable structures of any kind be avoided. And if you do opt for fixed structures, you really should do so only after having first conducted a sunlight study in order to determine the most advantageous placement.
Whatever the particular setting—on a terrace or garden in your own family home, or in a restaurant, hotel, or residential building, it is always posible to find some space with the required characteristics that will look a good deal better with an Urban Garden.
My own personal preference—in the absence of any indication to the contrary that is dictated by particular location or structure—is to use planter boxes made with treated wood and good bottom drainage in order to avoid excessive water retention (which could cause the plant to rot) but which at the same time allows the plant to absorb the water’s nutrients.
Here are a few additional recommendations:
So now we are at last ready to plant.
The first thing we have to do is choose the seeds or plants that you want to cultivate, and then carry out a short study regarding their needs. The results of this study will determine whether we should grow different kinds of plants separately or together.
For example, tomatoes and basil complement one another quite well. This means that, if you grow them together, they will each derive benefit in a kind of symbiosis. The nutrients that are not absorbed by the basil will be absorbed by the tomatoes—and vice versa. This means that less maintenance will be needed than if the two species were grown separately.
On the other hand, combining Swiss chard with any kind of tomato would be a disaster, since both draw upon the same nutrients.
Plants draw their sustenance from the environment, water, and substrate—and from the fertilizers used in that substrate.
In order to assure that the substrate of your Urban Garden is properly airated, a balanced mixture of dirt and organic material is recommended. Good organic materials for this purpose include coconut fibers and the bark of untreated wood.
The most commonly used fertilizers in Urban Gardens include guano (bat droppings) and worm castings. Goat dung fertilizers are also recommended.
It is important to remember that plants mainly feed off the following nutrients:
After the content has been selected (i.e., the particular type of plants), we need to go back to the previous step and choose the apropriate container to use.
We previously discussed planter boxes and similar containers, as well as flowerpots. Containers such as these can be moved, if needed.
How long does it take to set up an Urban Garden? The answer to this question largely depends on your available resources, as well as your needs and the time you have to devote to the project. What I can say with absolute confidence is that it takes less time to set up an Urban Garden than it does to plow a field!
As regards costs, these will vary largely in accordance with your needs, resources, and demands, as well as your knowledge, creativity, and ingenuity–with our advice– in economizing use of water, materials, substrate, soil, etc. What I can assure is that the costs involved are not astronomical.
Maintaining an Urban Garden is not especially complicated or time-consuming. We and our customers can both participate in the tasks required for ongoing maintenance.
Perhaps the most important maintenance issue is pest control. Here are some tips: