Gardening in small spaces 101
Monday, September 10, 2012 by: PF Louis
With the rash of veggie and herb garden raids on front yard gardens, it appears a fenced-in back yard garden is better if there is sunlight. Using creative solutions for gardening in small spaces is also a good idea.
All the gardening suggestions mentioned here will require more research if you wish to apply them. Apartment or condo dwellers may have an edge with some of those creative solutions. They don’t have neighborhood snitches to call in the local authorities for not having a “proper” front lawn.
Houses with small yards
Here’s an interesting solution for houses with small yards. Get some water spout troughs used for catching water off roofs and channeling into drain spouts. Fasten them securely to the sunny sides of your house, stacking them vertically.
A few small holes drilled into the bottoms of any planting containers for drainage is a good idea. This method is shown in photos half-way down the “gardening services” article linked in the sources below as (1).
If you’re renting a house and digging or securing troughs on outer walls is forbidden, you can use containers with soil for planting. You can use stacked tires filled with soil. The excess water goes into the lawn.
The Irish of old survived on potatoes until a fungal blight occurred. The Irish Catholics could only rent small lots from Protestants for crops. Potatoes don’t need much space and they’re nutrient-dense. (http://www.naturalnews.com/030359_potatoes_health.html)
Potatoes can be cultured in small back yards or large planters. Large planters offer the benefits of no weeding and you can just dump spud crops out instead of digging them out. Details with pictures are in source (2) below.
Urban gardening in apartments
The same water spout troughs used for the side of a house can be suspended in a vertical series from the overhead of your apartment balcony. Three or four or more can be hung, but the suspension materials need to be strong enough to support all the wet soil and the plants.
Source (1) below has photos half way down the article.
A variety of barrels or ready-made large planters with holes in them can provide balcony or small yard planters. Self watering planters use a tube with holes near the bottom to take in water from a hose or a garden watering container to the bottom of the planter’s soil. The roots suck up the water.
A hole drilled into the upper side warns against too much water by allowing the excess water to spill out. More details with photo here: (http://www.urbanorganicgardener.com)
Another apartment idea is using large soda or water bottles suspended upside down with the bottoms cut off to hang off of railings or taut clotheslines. Photo and instructions here: (http://www.urbanorganicgardener.com)
You can do some kitchen gardening by sprouting beans and seeds. Broccoli sprouts are temperamental, but are the most super of super food sprouts. Sprouts give you more nutrient bang per calorie than other edibles. (http://www.naturalnews.com/029761_sprouting_food_source.html)
General survival advice
Most of these small space items will give you some fresh, healthy greens, other veggies, and herbs. Home grown potatoes provide some bulk. But you may have to create and use storage space for dry bin foods while they’re available.
A closet that is sealed well to keep out rodents and insects would work for storing large amounts of grains, such as brown or basmati rice and quinoa, and dry legumes such as black beans and garbanzo beans (chick peas). Try to avoid plastic containers.
Rice and beans combined provide all the amino acids needed for forming complete proteins. (http://www.naturalnews.com/032396_beans_rice.html)
Sources for this article include:
(1) Gardening services http://gardeningservicesauckland.co.nz/