Posts Tagged ‘urban gardening’

Urban Homesteading with Plants Part IV – Gardening at Work

Vertical Planter-214x300 in  and gardeningtipsGardening at work may sound like an unusual occurrence but more employers are allowing fresh food to be grown at their business.  Some businesses are allowing gardens to be created on rooftops while others are planting gardens on the ground between the sidewalk and the road.  Those who have no space to garden are finding ways of growing fresh food in their cubicles, on walls, and even their business’s kitchen.

Rooftop Gardens

Rooftop gardens are popping up in many cities.  Some of these have completely redone the roof surface to incorporate plant material in beds and traditional garden spaces.  This requires making the roof stronger to hold drainage material, soil-free growing medium and an irrigation system.  Using planters, such as whiskey barrels to grow your food, can create a simpler rooftop garden.

Keep in mind though; this type garden requires monitoring the soil moisture daily since it is so close to the sun.  Also, get permission to garden on the roof before starting and limit the number and size of planters.  A large planter filled with soil and plants can weight a considerable amount and can cause roof damage if too heavy.

Since this type of garden is exposed to stronger solar radiation, make sure to plant vegetables that are sun loving.  Those who require shade can still be planted but use greenhouse shade cloth or plant under taller plants.  Both of these techniques will create the shade needed for shade loving plants.

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Designing an Orchard for Small Spaces using Espaliers and Festoons

Espaliers-300x226 in  and gardeningtipsAs the hyper-local movement takes hold more and more people are looking into growing their own fruit.  But fruit trees, even the dwarf variety, take room to grow and in a majority of the single-family dwellings this room is not available.  So what is the urban gardener to do?


The Romans created a solution to this problem years ago and referred to it as espaliers.  This term comes from the Italian term spalliera, which translated means, something to rest the shoulder (spalla) against.  It also refers to a training technique used for trees.  This technique consists of training fruit trees to grow up a flat plane such as a wall, fence and/or trellis.  The Europeans refined the design so the trees could easily fit into their garden style.

To create an espalier starts with the plant. Vines, shrubs, and trees are easily turned into espaliers. The process involved is simple. If planting in containers, make sure to allow enough space for a trellis.  Plant the fruit tree as usual and begin the pruning process.

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Urban Precision Gardening the Square Foot Way

Square-foot-gardening-300x200 in  and gardeningtipsSquare foot gardening has been a mainstay for many years.  The basic concept of this garden design is to mark off a garden space and divide it into square foot sections.  These individual sections are then planted individually with one plant per square foot.  These plants can then have their individual needs met such as water and fertilizer or precision farming.  While precision farming is typically done with GPS systems, farming combines with programmable sprayers and the like, the urban farmer can take this one on one plant concept to their own garden.

Urban gardeners, apartment homesteaders, backyard homesteaders, community gardeners and/or hobby gardeners can all take advantage of precision farming concepts and square foot gardening in the urban landscape.  As land becomes scarcer the need to garden in containers, such as those sold through Outdora, becomes more important.  Square or rectangular containers work best for square foot gardens but circular containers can be used.  Also just like any other type of container/planter gardening, good soil and appropriate environment are crucial to the success of the garden, so plan accordingly.

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