It’s no secret that city living has a way of disconnecting us from a more natural lifestyle. Thanks to the fast pace of the concrete jungle, we often go long periods without enjoying nature — and barely even notice. Combined with millennial affinities toward convenience-based foods, we’re creating serious problems for both our physical and mental health.
There’s no easy fix, but urban gardening is a great bridge between concrete and soil. As if the benefits of more fruits and veggies in our diet don’t speak for themselves, urban gardening can also be a great stress reliever and wallet-friendly to boot.
You’re probably wondering how to get started, with thoughts about finding enough space, gardening tools and what to grow. Luckily, all those Pinterest pins and Instagram videos of adorable urban gardens and delicious homegrown produce can be your reality in just four steps. Although you’re still going to have to wait the normal amount of time to use that fresh basil you’ve been dreaming about, knowing that a Dallas urban garden can be yours will make those ripe tomatoes that much sweeter.
1. Find a space – If you don’t have one, create your own.
This first step may seem overly simple, but it is the most crucial. Just like battling your neighbors for that perfect parking space, choosing the right location for your garden will make or break your success.
The most important thing you should look for is sunshine, and plenty of it. For those without dedicated yard space of any kind, this is where you get creative.
Thanks to options like hanging baskets, window boxes, raised beds, vertical planters and container pots, you can put your garden virtually anywhere it will receive sunlight.
No garden could begin or end without rich soil. But rather than drop your hard earned dough on an artificial bag of soil, try making use of your everyday waste by recycling it as compost. Used coffee grounds from your local brewer or neighborhood barista, old produce, newsprint, flowers and plants can all be reused to create a fertile foundation for your plant babies.
3. Do some legwork.
This third step may seem like the longest, but it makes for a rewarding outcome. Write up a plan for what you want to grow during which seasons — to get you started, this guide has stood the test of time.
Potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, peas, green and hot peppers, onions, beans, zucchini and kohlrabi are all recommended for growing in a small space.
Greenery such as herbs, green onions, scallions, and cabbage easily grow on windowsills throughout the year. And let’s not forget garlic, spinach and bean sprouts in the list of yummy veggies that will grow indoors.
Visit a local gardening center like North Haven Gardens or Urban Farm Co. for seeds and other materials you may need, in addition to friendly tips. While big box stores may offer cheaper options, a local gardening center can provide you with expert advice on how to successfully grow in your area.
4. Take the plunge, and reap the benefits.
Now that you have your space, sun, soil and seeds, it’s time to start. These four elements are the key to unlocking your urban garden, and with a little time, patience and lots of water, it won’t take long before you start to see the literal fruits of your labor. Being able to eat what you grow will save you money in the long run, but will also balance out any initial startup expenses. All that’s left to do is share your bounty with your loved ones, and prosper.
If you’ve picked up any tips during your urban gardening journey, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.