How to Grow Your Own Urban Vegetable Garden by Jayne Rising for The Organic Prepper
Choosing to grow your own urban vegetable garden is a massive step towards self-reliance. With current events being what they are, supply disruptions, rising prices, and all that, every bite you can provide for yourself and your family is a step in the proper direction. In this article, I will discuss the basic considerations involved in starting your urban garden.
As Daisy says, “It’s time to become a producer instead of a consumer.”
Ordinances of urban gardening
Ah, the bureaucracy! Many municipalities, including mine, have ordinances covering vegetable gardens. One is wise who learns these in advance, for the Internet abounds with horror stories of citizens crossing local government. Therefore, forewarned is forearmed. For example, my city has ordinances covering setbacks, which is the distance my garden must be from sidewalks, property lines, and my house.
There are also regulations covering compost piles. While I’m allowed to collect rainwater, my barrels must not be visible from the street. If you’re an apartment or condo dweller, the management or association may also have rules in place. What are the laws covering gardens in your situation?
Urban vegetable garden siting and lighting
Now that you’ve researched the local laws and are good to go legally, where do you plan to put your garden?
If you’re a homeowner, you can site the garden in your yard. Preferably your backyard to keep prying eyes to a minimum. I live right across the street from a high school. Kids often don’t think very far ahead. Someone might see your garden and decide to grab something that looks yummy without considering the effort put into that veggie or the plans you had for it. So the backyard is preferable. And may also help keep the city inspectors from bothering you. Bonus!
The strongest and best light for growing vegetables is typically south and east. Ideally, your garden should be situated to take advantage of this. Light will dictate much of what you can grow. For example, tomatoes need at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. If your garden doesn’t get that, consider either a different spot or a different menu. There are many shade-living plants, most notably spinach and other greens.
Let’s not forget the water for your urban garden
Where is your water source?
I can think of few things worse than hauling buckets every day, so it would be better to have your garden within reach of an outside spigot. Connecting to a soaker hose and walking away is far better than standing there, by the way. A typical vegetable garden requires about 1″ of water per week, more during the hottest part of summer.
If you’re an apartment or condo dweller, much of the same applies. You’ll have to scale down a bit if you can’t get space in the yard. A container garden might be your best option. Worry not! Nearly anything can be grown in containers. I’ve produced everything from greens to squash and potatoes in them.
You’ll want to think about how much weight your lanai can take if that’s where you plan to grow. Management might even have a rule about that stuff, leaving you no choice but to grow indoors or rent a space with your local Community Gardens. That latter usually rents plots very cheaply for the season! Mine rents plots anywhere from $10-$25. Check yours out! It may be a very worthwhile investment.