Urban Plots and mini plants?

I have adapted an article from a good website on growing vegetables and plants as we are looking to create a new garden at the side of our house  [Gardening Know How – http://www.gardeningknowhow.com] with the hope it will give us some good suggestions. I have to look up UK suppliers of course and so I shall be adding the English names and varieties to this article and who supplies them.

We have started with 2 items we have purchased – mock rock-wall stratums plaques which we bought earlier this year with sedum growing on them. 20150930_170911

We are planning to then create a further set of hanging pots with racks we have cut from pallets which we will also nail into the walls. We shall need some long and tough nails and a brick drill but very doable. 20150930_171133

What should we then plant? Well this is where this article comes into play. Obviously we could plant trailing flowers as shown with the lobelia, but we also have the choice – if the plants will get enough sun, to plant mini-veggies and micro-garden.

What Is Micro Gardening?

By Amy Grant

In a burgeoning world of people with ever-decreasing space, micro container gardening has found a rapidly growing niche. Good things come in small packages as the saying goes, and urban micro gardening is no exception. So what is micro gardening and what are some useful micro gardening tips to get you started?

What is Micro Gardening?

Urban micro container gardening is the practice of cultivating vegetables, herbs, roots and tubers in small spaces. These gardening spaces might be balconies [1], patios [2], or rooftops [3] which make use of containers – anything from plastic-lined wooden crates, old car tires, plastic buckets [4], trash cans, and wooden pallets to purchased “nourishmats” and polypropylene bags. In our case the area is the side walls of our flat! So hanging micro gardens.

Small scale hydroponic systems [5] are another option as well as aeroponics [6], growing plants in hanging containers with little to no soil, or aquaponics [7], which is growing plants directly in water.

What are the benefits of urban micro container gardens? They combine a technique of horticultural production with environmentally friendly technology suited for city dwellers. These include rainwater harvesting [8] and household waste management.  As we already harvest just about all our rainwater I doubt if we shall use any more than we already do but it would be nice to grow some herbs for our use again and I love the idea that maybe a mini veg might just fit one pot – doubt it though, mini leaves are feasible though.

Micro Container Gardening Tips

Micro gardening can work for just about anyone with a small space and be as simple and inexpensive as you wish. Research by the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization shows that a well-tended 11-square foot micro garden can produce as much as 200 tomatoes [9] a year, 36 heads of lettuce [10] every 60 days, 10 cabbages [11] every 90 days and a whopping 100 onions [12] every 120 days! 11 foot sq is not very micro!

More costly irrigation drip systems can be installed amongst a micro garden, or rainwater can be channeled through a system of gutters and pipes into a cistern or directly off the eaves of the roof.

The internet is rife with both DIY micro garden plans as well as a host of products available for purchase that can help get your own micro garden going. Remember, your tiny Eden doesn’t have to cost a lot. Think outside the box and look for salvageable items that can be repurposed. Many industrial districts have free pallets, yours for the asking. We didn’t have to ask – they were left with us due to some deliveries we had had – and actually they are often better scavenged from builders than bought as I have been offered them at £10 in the past! Think also about the very large soil bags or sand etc that are often used for building – scavenge one of those for a metre square garden.These make wonderful “walls” of herbs that double as miniature edible gardens as well as colourful, sweet smelling partitions or privacy screens on a tiny balcony.

Many different types of vegetable can be grown in an urban micro garden, although some vegetables are admittedly a bit large for very small spaces, but you can certainly grow many dwarf size veggies [14]. Some of these include:

  • Dwarf bok choi – Nicky’s Seeds have Pak Choi
  • Romeo baby carrots – Nicky’s Seeds have several varieties
  • Fino Verde basil – Try Greek Basil or Holy Basil as these have small leaves
  • Jing Bell peppers – Suttons seeds have Snackbite peppers. and Thomson and Morgan have Mini Bell
  • Fairy Tale aubergine – Marshalls Seeds have Ophelia; Nicky’s Seeds have several varieties
  • Red Robin tomatoes – again try Nicky’s Seeds for more varieties
  • Rocky cucumbers –  again try Nicky’s Seeds for varieties

Also, look into the extensive selection of microgreens [15] such as baby spinach, chard and lettuces that are perfect in an outdoor or indoor micro garden.

Think about growing up to maximize space too. For instance, many squash plants can be trained to grow up [16] rather than out. Use trellises, lines, tepees made from bamboo or even rebar or PVC pipe, old gates…whatever you can think of that will act as a support and can be anchored sturdily. We utilise the bamboo canes we cut from our Black Bamboo plants when we thin them each year.

Article adapted from Gardening Know How: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com

URL to a rticle: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/urban/what-is-micro-gardening.htm

URLs in this post:

[1] balconies: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/urban/balcony-vegetable-garden.htm

[2] patios: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/urban/an-urban-patio-garden.htm

[3] rooftops: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/urban/rooftop-gardening-for-city-dwellers.htm

[4] plastic buckets: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/containers/growing-vegetables-in-buckets.htm

[5] hydroponic systems: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/containers/hydroponic-gardening-indoors.htm

[6]aeroponics: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/containers/growing-with-aeroponics-what-is-aeroponics.htm

[7]aquaponics: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/containers/backyard-aquaponic-gardens.htm

[8] rainwater harvesting: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/info/collecting-rainwater.htm

[9]tomatoes: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/tomato/growing-tomatoes-pots-containers.htmhttp:/www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/tomato/growing-tomatoes-pots-containers.htm

[10]lettuce: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/lettuce/growing-lettuce-containers.htm

[11]cabbages: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/cabbage/growing-cabbage.htm

[12]onions: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/onion/growing-onions-in-container-gardens.htm

[14] dwarf size veggies:  http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/vgen/growing-baby-vegetables.htm

[15]microgreens: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/lettuce/growing-microgreens.htm

[16] squash plants can be trained to grow up: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/squash/growing-squash-on-trellises.htm

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