Tag Archives: Gardening

Urban Gardening Techniques Featured Image

Urban Gardening Techniques-Just Because You Don’t Have Space, Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Have A Garden

Urban Gardening Techniques Featured Image

I always hear people talking about they’d “love to have a garden, but just don’t have the space.” Well, did you know that you can have a garden no matter where you live? You’ve just got to get a little creative! When I used to hear people use the term “urban gardening,” I would visualize elaborate rooftop gardens. Yes, rooftop gardens are a form of urban gardening, however there are so many more space-saving techniques that will provide you with plenty of fresh, organic fruits and veggies and take up VERY little space.

Urban Gardening Techniques

Tower Gardening

Tower gardening is probably one of the newer urban gardening techniques out there right now. Tower gardening gives you the opportunity to grow many veggies in one small vertical area. Purchasing tower gardens can be a little tricky, because some of them are extremely pricey and you can find more inexpensive alternatives or even make a DIY version yourself easily.

Container Gardening

Just because you don’t have the space for a large garden, doesn’t mean you can’t grow your plants in pots! Container gardening is perfect for someone who lives in an apartment that has little or no outdoor space. Need some container garden inspiration? This article will give you some great ideas.

There is one downside if you don’t have a balcony or some sort of outdoor space to keep your pots, and that’s that some plants either don’t grow well indoors, or are unable to pollinate and make fruit without having insects to help them. That doesn’t leave you without plenty of options though! I’m working on a post about the best vegetable and herb choices when growing an indoor garden so check back soon!


Hydroponics and Aquaponics

This method of urban gardening is for the people that enjoy the more technical side of gardening. Now, when you think of hydroponics, you are probably picturing rows of hundreds of plants growing out of white tubes or something like that… but the truth is, hydroponics can be as large or as small of an operation as you would like it to be!

We grew lettuce and spinach in our dining room during the winter with this method, and it was fabulous!

Square Foot Gardening

Square foot gardening does take up some space, so it would be ideal for someone who has a small yard or room for raised beds. Square foot gardening is just as it sounds- it is a garden divided into a grid of one foot squares, which allows you to grow more a variety of plants, and save space at the same time. The video below tells you all about square foot gardening so you can get a better idea of the costs and benefits involved in this type of gardening.

 

Add Edibles to Your Landscaping and Window Boxes

This is an idea that I just love. There are so many edible plants that can be easily incorporated into your landscaping if you don’t have space for a garden. Some of the plants that immediately come to mind are kale, chives, sunflowers, lavender, rosemary, and many other herbs, carrots, and just about anything else. You’ve just got to get a little creative!

Window boxes are another place that are perfect to plant edibles. Sweet potatoes are a vine that are commonly used in window boxes just because of how beautiful they look. You could easily install a window box at your kitchen window for a lovely herb garden right within reach as well!

Raised Beds

Raised beds can be as large or as small as you would like them to be. When my husband and I had just moved in together into our first apartment, we made a small 3×4 raised bed out of 1x4s and grew herbs, jalapenos and green peppers. It added a homey feeling to an apartment that wasn’t exactly homey! Now, please don’t think you have to go out and by the expensive pre-made raised beds from the hardware store. Raised beds are easy to make, and we’ve even made some amazing raised beds out of cement blocks at our current home. If you’ve got the space, raised beds make for a great-looking, organized, little urban garden.

Urban Gardening Techniques

The benefits of growing your own food are limitless, and you will never look at produce from the grocery store the same way again. There’s nothing like sitting down for dinner with your family and eating something that you’ve grown yourself, and it’s even better when you have children to teach those lessons to as well. So if your small space is getting you down and talking you out of having even the smallest little garden, don’t let it! There are more than enough options when it comes to urban gardening. Obviously it’s a passion of our family’s, so if you’ve got questions about it, I’ll be happy to answer them the best that I can.

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Build an Inexpensive Raised Bed Garden

Before we were given the opportunity to have our large garden across the street, for several years we used these raised bed gardens that we created around the perimeter of our back yard. We didn’t have a lot of money to spend on raised beds, so we got creative and found an inexpensive alternative. We used cement blocks!

build an affordable raised bed garden YEM

It was extremely affordable, because although cement blocks are around a dollar or so each at the hardware store, we discovered it was fairly easy to get them for around fifty cents each from local concrete companies, or even free from sites like Craigslist.

We just placed them side by side where we wanted them, and then hauled in soil from a local nursery. In previous years we have planted onions, lettuce, and garlic in the tiny centers of the blocks. The blocks also do a great job of holding in moisture, so you don’t always have to water your plants as much. We still use them in our back yard every year, and this year I filled an entire garden bed with wildflower seeds! You can follow me on Instagram to see the results in a couple of months!

Cement Block Garden Beds

It really is a great alternative to a traditional raised bed garden for someone who doesn’t want to spend the money on a pre-made garden bed, or for someone who does not have the access to tools or the skills to build wooden ones from scratch.

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Build Your Own DIY Seed Starting Rack Tutorial

diy seed starting rack tutorial

It’s that time of year again, and we’ve found a fantastic tutorial so that you can build your own DIY seed starting rack!

Normally we purchase plants for our garden that have already been started from our local nursery, but this year, we decided to start our own! It’s been a great experience, and also educational for the kids to peek and see how much each seedling has grown every morning.

DIY seed starting rack tutorial 2

We did some research and decided to build our own seed starting rack from this tutorial at Old World Garden Farms. The tutorial is extremely easy to follow, and you end up with a great seed starting rack that is sturdy enough to use as shelving for cans or other items when it is not growing season. The rack is inexpensive to build, and even a beginner can figure it out. A couple of things we did learn through this process were: Don’t plant your seeds way too early (yeah, we did that), and check around for the most inexpensive shop lights you can find! We noticed that prices for lights vary quite a bit between stores, and when you need a lot of them the cost starts to add up.

We are loving the process of starting our plants from seeds, and plan to do it every year from now on. We love knowing where our plants are coming from, and growing them in a way we are comfortable with.

And yes, we are “keeping it classy” with those Red Solo Cups our tomatoes are growing in…. I have a post coming soon about ways to get pots for your seedlings at a more affordable price than the expensive home improvement stores. We used the cups as a last resort, but then found a great alternative that I can’t wait to share with you.

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Why Our Family Has A Garden In Town

Why our fam has a garden in town 1

I have wanted to write this post for quite some time, and I am finally getting around to it. I feel so strongly about this, that it’s almost hard to put into words. Having a garden has brought our tiny family so much closer. Not just to each other, but to the Earth as well. There is no doubt in my mind, that having a garden has been the most beneficial, and educational decision we could have made, and for that reason we continue to do it every year.

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Gardening is something that takes a lot of hard work, determination, and sometimes research, but believe me it is worth it. Whether the only outdoor space you have is a city balcony, or you live on 50 acres, you can do it. Whether your children are babies or almost grown, just a small garden will fill them with unbelievable curiosity.

We live on a little lot in a small town, and in previous years we used cement block raised beds for our garden. Last summer, some of the kindest individuals we have ever met allowed us to plant a huge garden on their empty lot across the street from our home. Because of that, last summer was the most amazing experience we have had as a family. We worked so hard on that garden, and our family is so much closer because of it. Our children were able to plant the tiny seeds, and learn how they grow. They learned about eco-systems, the water cycle, patience, hard work, and so much more. The list is honestly never ending, and every year as they become older, there will be new lessons to be learned, and more knowledge to be gained.

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Our four-year-old always insists on planting our seeds, and kisses every one to give it love and help it grow. Our two-year-old fills her belly with onions, pulled right from the earth. We didn’t have many this fall because most of them made it to her mouth before the basket!

Every morning we would walk across the street to check on the garden. Our children would check on the baby melons, squealing with excitement if they grew a large amount from the previous days’ rain. Their shoes would get torn off immediately so that they could squish their little toes in the mud as they walked up and down the rows of corn, measuring how much taller it was than them that week. Our two-year-old always plopped down in her sun dress and snacked on kale and onions as the tall corn shaded her, while our four-year-old investigated what kind of creatures were eating the tomatoes at night. We had old spoons we left there for play, and both of our children would dig for things. Our four-year-old would always comment that he was being and Archaeologist, with Miss 2 following, “Me too! Me too!” We could stay at that garden for hours every day, and the family time we spent there was incredible.

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Not only were we able to watch our children play and learn, we all worked together towards a common goal- to help our plants grow. Even our 2-year-old helped pull weeds, water plants, and gather our harvest with her own special little bucket in hand. With their Daddy working during the day, it was so nice for all of us to have something to look forward to in the afternoons when he would arrive home. We would gather the supplies we needed, and hold hands as we crossed the street to that special place, and work until it was time for dinner on some nights. If we went on a weekend trip, it seemed like the first thing we all wanted to do (even before unloading the car), was check on the garden- to see what surprises it had for us.

Tuned In Parents - Young Earthy Mama Garden Loving Kids

The pride we all feel that we are able to grow that nutritious food on our own, and put it on the table for our children is an indescribable feeling, especially living in town without much land. We were able to can over forty quarts of green beans this summer, more zucchini bread than we knew what to do with, a freezer full of tomato sauce, plus fresh veggies most of spring, summer, and fall.

You wonder what the cost must have been to do this? I believe we calculated it to cost 56 dollars. That is including the cost of seeds, starter plants, and the cumulative water bills.

We do not spend money on herbicides. We plant extra, so if anything happens, we still end up with plenty. It just takes time, and I promise no matter how busy you are, you can always find a little time to work in the garden. It definitely has a therapeutic quality.

Our yearly garden has taught our small children so many lessons, but the one I feel is most valuble, is this: The Earth can provide for us the things we need. That is a lesson many people do not seem to remember anymore.

People feel as though they need to rely on big businesses, grocery stores, and so many other man-made things that they forget the Earth is capable of giving us what we need. We just need to show it a little love. People think dirt on their food is discusting… well, I’m fairly certain the chemical ingredients in the french fries they are munching on are much worse.

If you still need more convincing….

An Urban Garden is:

  • Organic
  • Inexpensive/nearly free
  • You know where your food is coming from
  • No need to make extra store trips- just walk out and grab a tomato from the garden!
  • A garden provides you with the opportunity to educate your children about various different topics
  • Much more fresh than much of the produce you purchase from the store
  • Give it a try! Learn something new!
  • And just remember….

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Hand Painted Terra Cotta Pots

Pre-K Science for Earth Day!

I have recently started doing “activity time” with my kiddos (1&3), and they are loving it so far. I’ve been trying to implement some sort of learning activity for 30 minutes every day, since my oldest has not started Preschool yet. I absolutely LOVED the activity we did yesterday!

I bought a couple of those cheap $1 terra cotta pots from the store, and I let the kids paint them however they wanted, then after cleaning up, we made a quick run to the home improvement store and I let them pick out a special plant of their choice. My oldest was SO excited. We then planted them, watered them, and sat them in the sunlight!

During the entire process we talked about all of the things plants need to survive, how they grow, and what they do to help us. It was educational, fun, and SUPER messy, but they loved it.

Here’s a picture of the finished product!

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It was fun to see what kind of plant they chose. My son chose a rosemary plant, because we took a moment to smell the herbs, and of course my one-year-old baby girl chose a plant with pretty pink flowers… which she proceeded to rip off of their stems after we planted them 😐 We have now replaced it with a succulent (which I’m going to try and propagate soon!)

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We always talk about how plants grow when planting seeds in the garden, and even my baby girl has learned so much from gardening. They love to help pull weeds and plant baby seeds. My son always kisses the seeds, carefully covers them with dirt, gives them a little pat, and we watch them grow over the next few months. It is just the sweetest thing.