In the past when we heard the word “Gardening” the pictue that came to our mind is a vast area filled with rows of veggies & ornamented plants. But now this picture is different.
As industrialisation is increasing day by day cities are expanding too. As a consequence amount of lands useful for farming is decreasing.
According to UN about 55 percent of total population of the world are living in cities, which will rise up to 68 percent within the next decade.
Besides population of the world is growing rapidly which is also a reason of decrease of farm lands.
In this situation “Urban Gardening” or “Urban Farming” can be an alternative option for growing your own foods.
So what is “Urban Gardening” or “Urban Farming”?
“Urban Gardening” or “Urban Farming” refers to growing plant in urban environment within limited space.
Why Urban Gardening:
Food Security refers to the ability to afford nutritious & safe food. As many families live below poverty level often they can not afford nutritious food.
Urban gardening contributes to greater food security.
Families living below poverty level can have nutritious food by growing veggies in pots or containers. Besides growing one’s own food will also ensure safe food supply.
Fresh Vegetables On Your Plate
Imagine growing your favourite vegetables in your own balcony & collecting them before cooking or making salad. Nothing beats the taste of fresh vegetable.
Besides fresh vegetables are good for health.
Earn Some Money
Urban Gardening can be a good source of earning money.
One can grow vegetables in his balcony or roof & then can sell them to nearby market.
This can be beneficial for families living under poverty level as they can sell extra vegetables in market & earn some money. According to USAID about 15% of total food around the world is grown in urban gardening.
Decorate your house
We all love to see some greenery in our apartment. Urban Gardening gives you opportunity to decorate your small apartment & make it much more comfortable. It also gives you a sense of freshness.
Learning Something New
Urban Gardening is a good opportunity to learn about gardening & plants for city people. This can be a useful hobby for children and even for adults.
As our technology is developing each day we are becoming more & more dependent on technology; we are investing most of our time in technology which is harmful for our body system too.
Urban Gardening can be a good source of recreation for city dwellers.
Making Efficient Use Of Land
As our farm lands are decreasing so Urban Farming gives a great opportunity to use our lands more efficiently to feed the increasing population.
Urban Gardens take up small space but produce tons of fresh, healthy vegetables & fruits.
Tips for Urban gardening
– In urban gardening one can grow plants on rooftops, balconies, alleyways, sidewalks or whatever little space the gardener has available.
-select as large a container as possible. The deeper the pot the larger the reservoir of moist soil and you’ll need to water less often. Small containers dry out more quickly and require watering daily. Fabric pots are good for growing vegetables.
Plants with deep root systems will be stunted if they are not planted in deep containers.
– Most vegetables require minimum six hours of sunlight everyday. Tomatoes, beans & other sun loving plants will appreciate as much sunlight as they get.
So if your balcony doesn’t get proper amount of sunlight you can consider putting the plants on caddies or adding casters, so they can be moved.
– Arrange your pots in a way so that larger plants protect the smaller plants from wind. You can use portable fence too.
– Mix your soil with granular organic fertilizer. Fertilizer is important in Urban Gardening as container can provide very little amount of nutrients that plants need. Besides every time you water you wash out some nutrients from soil. So you need to apply fertilizer to maintain nutrient supply.
– Water your plants everyday. You can use self watering planter which will lessen your task.
– Here are some minimum depth of soil for several plants to grow in a container :
4-5″: Lettuce, Radishes, Basil, Coriander
6-7″: Garlic, Onions, Peas, Mint
8-9″: Carrots, Chard, Cucumber, Eggplant,
Peppers, Spinach, Parsley, Rosemary
10-12″: Beets, Broccoli,Potatoes, Lemongrass
– When planting different plants in the same container it’s better to choose plants who need similar depth of soil, water & fertilizer.
Here are some examples:
You can grow Beans & Carrots in the same container.
Tomatoes, Basil & Onions are perfect companion plants to grow in the same container.
Spinach & Onions can also be grown together.
– Some vegetables should not be grown in the same container. Such as, Tomatoes with Potatoes or Beans with Garlic.
Some Vegetables Suitable To Grow In Pots
Tomato is one of the most productive vegetables to grow in a pot. They require minimum 5-6 hours of sunlight. You can grow cheery tomatoes & other dwarf varieties.
Beans are generally climbers. So you can grow them in a trellis. The minimum soil depth required for bean is 12 inch & the more the better. They require sunny places to grow. So you can grow them in your rooftop.
Lettuce are another good option for urban gardening as they grow very fast. You can grow them during winter. To grow lettuce choose wide container instead of deep one. It requires only 6 inch of soil depth.Leave 4 inches between each plant when planting them.
Pepper is also an excellent plant to grow in container. They require warm & sunny place to grow. They are very productive & with proper care they will fruit heavily time to time.
Eggplants are sun loving. So they need to be kept in a sunny place & they need warm temperature in both day & night time.
They are easy to grow in pots. They require large amount of fertilizer.
Peas are easy to grow in pots as they do not require extra attention. They need moist soil. So you need to water them everyday. Besides they are needed to be kept in full sun.
Onions require minimum 6 inch depth of soil. But the deeper the better. Choose a wide & deep container to grow onion. Onion require six to seven hours of sunlight & good drainage system.
You can grow potatoes in your balcony or rooftop in a large & deep container. It requires minimum 10 inch depth of soil to grow. Potato plants are sun loving. So it’s better to keep them in a place where six to eight hours of sunlight is available . They grow best in 16 degree C temperature.
Besides vegetable one can grow flowering plants even small aquatic plants in a small container filled with water which will add some unique beauty to the garden.
Urban Gardening or Urban Farming has the potential to become a dynamic economic sector.
Air of most of the cities are polluted & is causing various life threatening diseases. Urban Gardening can be an excellent option to reduce pollution in cities.
So in the conclusion it can be said that urban gardening or urban farming has the potential to be a trump card for us to ensure food security for world population as well as saving our planet Earth.