The new methods being developed for urban farming are great for gardeners looking to be more efficient with their use of space, but usually this refers to maximizing space in small yards for raising veggies, chickens or even small livestock. These space-saving principles of urban farming don’t often translate to the needs of the aspiring gardener who has no access to a yard. But fortunately even the most urban of living spaces can produce delicious fresh food – even with no outdoor space at all!
Hang it All
If you’re short on floor space, look up to find more room to grow! Walls and ceilings can be utilized for hanging planters. Living walls are decorative as well as productive for indoor or outdoor growing. Install hooks on your ceiling to hang potted plants.
Now instead of walking through your garden, you can walk under it!
Windowsills and Sunny Spots
Using container gardening techniques, you can turn any concrete jungle home into a green paradise. Small Space Container Gardens and The Edible Balcony are both great resources for growing more in pots, and making it look nice too! Container gardening can be done on a balcony or stoop, or even on a sunny windowsill. Gardening in containers brightens any home, and can produce an abundance of fruits, veggies and herbs.
For even more efficient use of your limited space, vertical gardening is a must. From stakes and trellises to stacked pots, there are dozens of creative ways to increase your space by growing “up not out.” Vertical Vegetables and Fruit is full of clever and easy ideas to help you get more out of your containers (and these tricks work for flower gardens too!). For an instant vertical garden, Foody towers are an easy and effective option. These can be used indoors or outdoors, and can be planted with soil or used hydroponically.
A word of caution when gardening by a window: the glass can magnify the heat and light a plant receives, which can lead to it drying out quickly or may even burn the leaves. Keep a close eye on new plants, and reposition as needed to find them the best home indoors.
Where the Sun Doesn’t Shine
If your home does not have the luxury of a balcony or sunny windows, don’t give up hope! Most veggies and flowers like a minimum of six hours of sunlight per day, but if you cannot provide that much natural light, there are many shade-loving plants that you can select from instead. Violets are beautiful in a container and in a salad. Kale, swiss chard and lemon balm tolerate shade as well. Succulents are ideal houseplants that need very little light.
But when you can’t do without your sun-loving homegrown tomatoes, it’s time to turn to grow lights. Artificial light can be used to grow nearly anything indoors. Different size lights are available depending on the height and girth of your plants and their containers. Grow lights are better for your indoor plants’ health than standard light bulbs because they emit the full spectrum of sunlight that your plants need to grow and thrive.
Growing in the Dark
For the ultimate solution in urban gardening, you don’t even need artificial light, wall space, or even pots to grow in!
Sprouts require no soil at all, and can produce healthy and delicious greens to eat within a few days. Because they use the stored energy of the seed and are harvested before they need sunlight to grow, they can be produced successfully even in the darkest of living spaces.
Mushrooms also require no light to grow. They come in ready-to-use kits that only need a misting of water every few days to produce excellent gourmet mushrooms.
No matter where you live, there are plenty of ways to grow delicious food and beautiful flowers!