I can remember a time growing up in the country when I knew where a lot of my food came from. It wasn’t uncommon at dinner to be eating cauliflower I’d picked from the earth earlier that day. This isn’t really true for me anymore, and I suspect it isn’t for many of us.
I now live in an urban area where I don’t have much room to grow a large organic garden, but fortunately, I have learned some tricks that help me utilize my space for planting.
Raised Bed Garden
Raised bed gardens filled with bags of organic vegetable garden soil can be placed in a variety of places, including paved back yard areas, and taken down once you’ve harvested the last of your fruits and vegetables. As long as your little plant friends can get plenty of sun and water, any spot will work. You can stack landscape timbers six to twelve inches high and fill with the space with soil. If you’re not into DIY construction projects, Lowe’s sells raised garden kits and so does Home Depot. The frames come in everything from plastic to wood, so you have plenty of choices depending on your existing backyard theme. Square Foot Gardening, developed by Mel Bartholomew, takes raised bed gardening and uses a simple method of grids to utilize the space for maximum harvest potential. The website even lists its own recipe for organic potting mix.
Garden Grow Bags
If you want to try your hand at growing potatoes, I suggest these handy grow bags that allow you to harvest some smaller potatoes early without disrupting the entire crop. If you have some store-bought spuds that are sprouting eyes in your pantry, you can plant them, or buy seed potatoes. This video provides excellent quick tips on how to use the bags.
Best Options for Small Gardens
I advise every first-time organic farmer to plant onions. They grow quickly, so you can reap the rewards without a lot of wait, and since you’re planting bulbs, you can easily gauge how far apart they need to be. It’s easy to tell when they’re ready to be harvested, and you can pop another bulb in its place once you’ve picked the delicious treat.
Some fruit and veggie varieties have been bred to work better in smaller gardens. Select types that bush, rather than have sprawling vines. Bush Sugar Baby watermelons and Bush Crop cucumbers are optimal for container gardening. Bush Early Girl tomatoes can grow in a raised bed garden or hanging pots.
Organic Pest Control
Once you’ve got your garden growing, there are organic measures you can take to keep pests from munching on your plants. You can apply Epsom salt in its granular form or turn it into a liquid solution and spray it on and around plants. Not only is it a natural pesticide, but the magnesium in it is actually good for your plants.
Even if you’re living in an apartment with a small patio, there’s a way to grow some delicious things for dinner. When your friends come over, you can tell them just where their potatoes came from.