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Greening Your Urban Space: Tips and Tricks for Sustainable Urban Gardening for the City Dweller

Living in a city doesn't mean sacrificing the joys of gardening. Sustainable urban gardening brings a wealth of benefits to you and your environment. 

Sustainable urban gardening is cultivating a garden within an urban setting using environmentally friendly techniques and materials. This type of gardening creates a self-sustaining system that reduces waste, conserves resources, and promotes biodiversity.

4 Sustainable Urban Gardening Benefits

Urban gardening has become an increasingly popular trend in recent years, and for a good reason. Sustainable urban gardening offers many benefits that can improve our lives. 
Here are four urban gardening benefits that will enhance your well-being while having fun. Urban gardening

1.    Improves the quality of life in the city. Plants help filter pollutants, improving air quality and reducing the harmful effects of urban heat islands.

2.    Promotes food security by providing access to fresh, healthy produce, which can be especially important in food deserts where access to fresh food is limited.

3.    Provides the opportunity to connect with nature and create a peaceful oasis within a bustling city. 

4.    Is a fun, rewarding hobby that promotes physical activity, reduces stress, and fosters a sense of community.

Whether you have a balcony, a rooftop, or a small backyard, you can enjoy sustainable urban gardening in your small green space. 

How to Plan for Your Sustainable Urban Garden

While it would be easy to go outside and dig a couple of rows to throw seeds in, the best urban gardens require planning.

Here are four considerations before you break ground for your urban garden:

Choose the Right Location
Just like a garden in any other place, you need to consider the sun’s location in your backyard, water sources, and soil quality, according to an article by Rutgers University.

If your backyard is shady, consider growing vegetables in front of your house that has full sun. You also need to know the health and vitality of your garden soil. Most university extensions offer soil tests.

If the ground soil has high levels of certain metals, raised bed gardens are a viable option. They ensure the soil has the appropriate nutrient balance for plant growth without toxicity.

Determine Your Garden’s Size
Your garden’s size will depend on how much room you have to create a garden plot. If you have a postage-stamp size lawn, you may only have a few feet to work with for a garden plot.

Conversely, you can build raised garden beds on your city property at different places. For example, if you get full sun at the end of a small driveway, consider making raised beds at the top of the driveway leaving room for your car.

You can build raised beds near your porch if there are at least 8–10 hours of sun per day at that spot.

If you have a rooftop garden, ensure it can handle the weight of raised beds on your roof.

You may only have a small patio to work with when gardening. Regarding limited spaces, remember to grow your garden vertically and use attractive containers on different levels.

Use your creativity to make a sustainable urban garden work for you.

Select the Right Plants for the Right Spot
Remember this rule of thumb: If you buy plants that need full sun, ensure a spot in your garden or porch where that plant will get full sun. 

Some plants can handle a mix of sun and shade. Place these plants in those spaces where the sun shifts throughout the day.

Plants have different watering needs as well. Group plants together that love moist soil and group other plants together that are more drought-tolerant.

Choosing the Right Water Sprinkler
Bubblers and drip irrigation are the best water sprinklers for urban gardens. You can use bubblers for shrubs, trees, plant containers, and flower beds.

Drip irrigation is perfect for container gardening, raised beds, and in-ground city gardens.  The bubblers and the dripline kits send water in bigger droplets right to the root area, eliminating waste while giving the plants the moisture they need most—at the root level.

4 Sustainable Gardening Practices

Sustainable gardening practices help you save water, reduce waste, repurpose organic materials, and improve garden soil. For example, chopped leaves on your lawn make excellent mulch for vegetable gardens.

Here are four sustainable gardening practices that will save you money and promote a beautiful city garden:

Composting
You can make your compost by mixing dry (brown) and wet (green) organic materials in a compost bin. Brown compost consists of dry leaves, shredded newspaper, hair, straw, and other materials.

Green organic material includes fruit and vegetable peels, crushed egg shells, and coffee grounds. 

Don’t put any meat products or food other than fruit and vegetable peels with no additives.

Compost adds nutrition to the soil, encourages micro-organism growth, and produces beautiful plants. Plus, compost helps keep moisture in the ground, so you don’t have to water as often.
You can buy bagged compost online or at your favorite big box store. 

Mulching
Mulch is more than a pretty face. Indeed, mulch helps regulate soil temperature, holds moisture longer in the soil, and suppresses weeds.

However, some mulches are for landscaping, while others are for gardening. While you can use bark or heavier mulches in your landscape, you need garden mulch that won’t smother young plants for your vegetable garden.

Garden mulch includes:
    Bagged garden mulch
    Chopped leaves
    Cocoa husks (don’t use if you have a dog or cat, it’s toxic to them)
    Compost
    Straw.

Remember, don’t mix mulch into the soil. It’s supposed to lay on top of the ground and around plants. You can buy most garden mulches online or at your favorite garden center.

Integrated Pest Management

Did you know that some wasps keep away nasty bugs from your garden? For instance, wasps eat aphids, flies, and other pests that would destroy your fruit and vegetable harvest.

Integrate Pest Management (IPM) uses insects, such as wasps, to keep harmful insects out of the garden. You use fewer insecticides and herbicides around your garden plants when you don’t inhibit these natural predators from controlling pests that will eat your plants.

Natural Fertilizers

Again, the goal for a sustainable urban garden should include fertilizers that will help keep moisture in the soil while adding nutrition that benefits plants. 

Natural fertilizers contain bone meal, blood meal, fish meal, manure, alfalfa meal, kelp, or compost. You can find organic garden fertilizers featuring one or two ingredients at your local garden center, online, or at a retail store.

How K-Rain’s Dripline Kit Helps You Conserve Water in Your Sustainable Urban Garden 

If you plan on starting a sustainable urban garden this season, you’ll need K-Rain’s bubblers and drip irrigation to give your plants the water they need right at the soil line.

If you’re a DIYer, you can find manuals for K-Rain bubblers and drip irrigation kits on our website. If you prefer a professional to design and install your new K-Rain dripline system, our website helps you find a landscape contractor near you.

You can buy your K-Rain dripline and bubbler parts at our online store or your local Home Depot and Lowe’s. If you have questions about your K-Rain irrigation system parts, call our customer service at 800-735-7246 or fill out our contact form.

Sources:
TheBackyardGardener (ucanr.edu), Wonderful Wasps.
EPA.gov, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Principles.
Sebsnjaesnews.rutgers.edu, Choosing the Right Location for Your Vegetable Garden.
SavvyGardening.com, Natural Fertilizers for Flower and Veggie Gardens.
Written by K-Rain
Categories:
3/31/2023
Urban Garden

Greening Your Urban Space: Tips and Tricks for Sustainable Urban Gardening for the City Dweller

Living in a city doesn't mean sacrificing the joys of gardening. Sustainable urban gardening brings a wealth of benefits to you and your environment. 

Sustainable urban gardening is cultivating a garden within an urban setting using environmentally friendly techniques and materials. This type of gardening creates a self-sustaining system that reduces waste, conserves resources, and promotes biodiversity.

4 Sustainable Urban Gardening Benefits

Urban gardening has become an increasingly popular trend in recent years, and for a good reason. Sustainable urban gardening offers many benefits that can improve our lives. 
Here are four urban gardening benefits that will enhance your well-being while having fun. Urban gardening

1.    Improves the quality of life in the city. Plants help filter pollutants, improving air quality and reducing the harmful effects of urban heat islands.

2.    Promotes food security by providing access to fresh, healthy produce, which can be especially important in food deserts where access to fresh food is limited.

3.    Provides the opportunity to connect with nature and create a peaceful oasis within a bustling city. 

4.    Is a fun, rewarding hobby that promotes physical activity, reduces stress, and fosters a sense of community.

Whether you have a balcony, a rooftop, or a small backyard, you can enjoy sustainable urban gardening in your small green space. 

How to Plan for Your Sustainable Urban Garden

While it would be easy to go outside and dig a couple of rows to throw seeds in, the best urban gardens require planning.

Here are four considerations before you break ground for your urban garden:

Choose the Right Location
Just like a garden in any other place, you need to consider the sun’s location in your backyard, water sources, and soil quality, according to an article by Rutgers University.

If your backyard is shady, consider growing vegetables in front of your house that has full sun. You also need to know the health and vitality of your garden soil. Most university extensions offer soil tests.

If the ground soil has high levels of certain metals, raised bed gardens are a viable option. They ensure the soil has the appropriate nutrient balance for plant growth without toxicity.

Determine Your Garden’s Size
Your garden’s size will depend on how much room you have to create a garden plot. If you have a postage-stamp size lawn, you may only have a few feet to work with for a garden plot.

Conversely, you can build raised garden beds on your city property at different places. For example, if you get full sun at the end of a small driveway, consider making raised beds at the top of the driveway leaving room for your car.

You can build raised beds near your porch if there are at least 8–10 hours of sun per day at that spot.

If you have a rooftop garden, ensure it can handle the weight of raised beds on your roof.

You may only have a small patio to work with when gardening. Regarding limited spaces, remember to grow your garden vertically and use attractive containers on different levels.

Use your creativity to make a sustainable urban garden work for you.

Select the Right Plants for the Right Spot
Remember this rule of thumb: If you buy plants that need full sun, ensure a spot in your garden or porch where that plant will get full sun. 

Some plants can handle a mix of sun and shade. Place these plants in those spaces where the sun shifts throughout the day.

Plants have different watering needs as well. Group plants together that love moist soil and group other plants together that are more drought-tolerant.

Choosing the Right Water Sprinkler
Bubblers and drip irrigation are the best water sprinklers for urban gardens. You can use bubblers for shrubs, trees, plant containers, and flower beds.

Drip irrigation is perfect for container gardening, raised beds, and in-ground city gardens.  The bubblers and the dripline kits send water in bigger droplets right to the root area, eliminating waste while giving the plants the moisture they need most—at the root level.

4 Sustainable Gardening Practices

Sustainable gardening practices help you save water, reduce waste, repurpose organic materials, and improve garden soil. For example, chopped leaves on your lawn make excellent mulch for vegetable gardens.

Here are four sustainable gardening practices that will save you money and promote a beautiful city garden:

Composting
You can make your compost by mixing dry (brown) and wet (green) organic materials in a compost bin. Brown compost consists of dry leaves, shredded newspaper, hair, straw, and other materials.

Green organic material includes fruit and vegetable peels, crushed egg shells, and coffee grounds. 

Don’t put any meat products or food other than fruit and vegetable peels with no additives.

Compost adds nutrition to the soil, encourages micro-organism growth, and produces beautiful plants. Plus, compost helps keep moisture in the ground, so you don’t have to water as often.
You can buy bagged compost online or at your favorite big box store. 

Mulching
Mulch is more than a pretty face. Indeed, mulch helps regulate soil temperature, holds moisture longer in the soil, and suppresses weeds.

However, some mulches are for landscaping, while others are for gardening. While you can use bark or heavier mulches in your landscape, you need garden mulch that won’t smother young plants for your vegetable garden.

Garden mulch includes:
    Bagged garden mulch
    Chopped leaves
    Cocoa husks (don’t use if you have a dog or cat, it’s toxic to them)
    Compost
    Straw.

Remember, don’t mix mulch into the soil. It’s supposed to lay on top of the ground and around plants. You can buy most garden mulches online or at your favorite garden center.

Integrated Pest Management

Did you know that some wasps keep away nasty bugs from your garden? For instance, wasps eat aphids, flies, and other pests that would destroy your fruit and vegetable harvest.

Integrate Pest Management (IPM) uses insects, such as wasps, to keep harmful insects out of the garden. You use fewer insecticides and herbicides around your garden plants when you don’t inhibit these natural predators from controlling pests that will eat your plants.

Natural Fertilizers

Again, the goal for a sustainable urban garden should include fertilizers that will help keep moisture in the soil while adding nutrition that benefits plants. 

Natural fertilizers contain bone meal, blood meal, fish meal, manure, alfalfa meal, kelp, or compost. You can find organic garden fertilizers featuring one or two ingredients at your local garden center, online, or at a retail store.

How K-Rain’s Dripline Kit Helps You Conserve Water in Your Sustainable Urban Garden 

If you plan on starting a sustainable urban garden this season, you’ll need K-Rain’s bubblers and drip irrigation to give your plants the water they need right at the soil line.

If you’re a DIYer, you can find manuals for K-Rain bubblers and drip irrigation kits on our website. If you prefer a professional to design and install your new K-Rain dripline system, our website helps you find a landscape contractor near you.

You can buy your K-Rain dripline and bubbler parts at our online store or your local Home Depot and Lowe’s. If you have questions about your K-Rain irrigation system parts, call our customer service at 800-735-7246 or fill out our contact form.

Sources:
TheBackyardGardener (ucanr.edu), Wonderful Wasps.
EPA.gov, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Principles.
Sebsnjaesnews.rutgers.edu, Choosing the Right Location for Your Vegetable Garden.
SavvyGardening.com, Natural Fertilizers for Flower and Veggie Gardens.
Written by K-Rain
Categories:
3/31/2023
Urban Garden