Living in the heart of a bustling city can come with dozens of fantastic perks. That said, despite all the convenience and culture, city living also comes with one glaring caveat; namely, a distinct lack of nature.
Fortunately, there's a quick fix for green-thumbed city dwellers longing for a little more vegetation.
Rooftop and urban gardens have been enjoying a bit of a renaissance lately, and for a good reason. Apart from giving urbanites direct access to a private supply of produce, research proves that a little extra green can help boost your mood.
Ready to start putting together an environmentally friendly urban Eden but aren't sure where to begin? We've got you covered!
Here are seven must-have tips to help you create the eco-friendly urban garden of your dreams.
1. Consider Your Space
First thing's first. Before you can start planting and pruning, you need to consider the area you have available to you.
Urban dwellings are as varied as cities themselves. If you live in a townhome with a small backyard, you have more gardening options available to you than someone who only has access to a few window boxes.
Some apartment buildings have rooftop garden spaces available to their residence. And, some apartment renters have open-air balconies at their disposal.
So, before you start stocking up on seeds, take a look at the space you plan on using for your garden.
Figure out exactly how much space you have, and use that information to decide what kind of planters will work best for your situation. Note how much sun the area gets, and figure out the best method for watering your garden.
2. Keep It Local
When you start gardening, it can be tempting to start throwing together a veritable rainbow of flowers and produce. That said, it's essential to keep in mind that plants are living things, and may not grow just anywhere.
It may be easy to feel a little disconnected from nature when you're in the heart of a city. But, it's essential that you do a little digging to get back in touch with the world around you.
When creating an ecologically friendly garden, it's always best to try to keep your crops as local as you can. Research what plant species are native to the region, and try to stick to those local plants. Why not starting with an Herb Garden? You can grow local herbs in containers easily. It is such a satisfying pleasure to cut fresh herbs from your own garden and mix them in your salad or other foodie's treats!
Your friendly neighborhood pollinators will thank you!
3. Compost If You Can!
Composting is a nasty business. That said, the end product is one of the finest and most environmentally friendly fertilizers you'll ever find.
Creating a compost pile in a city is difficult, but it's not impossible.
If you have the space for it, say on a balcony or rooftop, you may want to consider looking into investing in a composting barrel.
A composting barrel will keep your compost contained and sealed away. So, you and your garden will be able to enjoy the benefits of fresh compost in a confined space without all the mess that can come with it.
4. Get Higher
As we said before, sometimes city-dwelling means having to give up on having a lot of extra outdoor room.
That said, you don't need an extraordinary amount of extra floor space to start an eco-friendly urban garden. All you need is a change in perspective.
Hanging or vertical gardens can be as lush and bountiful as their traditional horizontal counterparts.
You can mount planters up your wall or hang pots from the ceiling. By building your garden upward rather than out, you can save yourself a lot of space and create room to bring in even more plants as your garden grows.
5. Pot Properly
When it comes to gardening in a metropolitan area, odds are you won't be putting anything directly into the ground.
Pots and planters are an urban gardener's best friend. That said, there's more to planting with containers than dumping a little dirt into a garden pot.
Before you add any plants, you need to make sure you set your pots up correctly. You'll need to consider how your plants are going to drain excess water, and if the pot you're using is big enough to accommodate what you're planting in it.
You can explore growing herbs in pots as a start. Herbs are easy to grow and to use. We can always add some tasty herbs to a salad, right?
And do remember that planting in pots means that plants are more susceptible to cold weather and freezes.
6. Go All Natural
While gardening by default seems like an eco-friendly activity, it can be pretty harmful when done incorrectly.
Excessive use of chemical agents like fertilizers and pesticides can do more harm than good in the long run.
Before you start gardening, take the time to make sure you're doing everything as close to as the way mother nature intended as possible. That means being careful about where your seeds come from and using all-natural organic potting soil.
If you have issues with pests, there are plenty of ways to deal with them while still being gentle with all-important pollinators.
7. Think of the Bees!
It's no secret that bees are in trouble.
Bees and other pollinators are an essential part of our ecosystems, whether we live in the heart of a city that never sleeps, or a sleepy country town.
Apart from the rampant use of toxic pesticides, one of the biggest challenges our bees are facing is a distinct lack of the kinds of plants they favor.
Before you start planting your garden, take a little time to research the types of bee-friendly herbs and flowers that are native to your region.
And, while you're at it, you may want to consider setting up a bee sanctuary in your garden as well.
Your Eco-Friendly Urban Garden
Just because you live in a city, that doesn't mean you have to cut yourself off from nature completely.
People need plants, now more than ever. And, one of the best ways to get your nature fix is by bringing a little bit of Green Acres to the big city through the creating of an urban garden.
Now that you know how to build your dream eco-friendly urban garden, it's time to get planting!
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