How to grow your own urban garden

From Berlin to Bangalore, backyard-deprived urban dwellers are using every spare inch of space to grow gardens on terraces and rooftops while others are pooling talents and resources to set up and manage community gardens.

Set Up Your Space

Before you can think about planting, you have to consider how much room and light you have. This will determine what kind of container can house your garden, and help you decide what kind of plants you can grow.

Some are lucky enough to have a little outdoor space, but the rest of us will have to make do. Here are a few creative suggestions for saving space - and your wallet.

Get The Stuff You’ll Need

You really don’t need all that much. Basically, a planter of some kind – be it a pottery or wood container – some soil, and depending on what you want to plant, some seedlings, plants or seeds and possibly some fertiliser. Talk to your local plant nursery specialist and tell them your goals – they’ll help you select what you need – or check useful sites like this for extra tips.

Learn Basic Gardening Terms

First, you need to know a wee bit about different kinds of plants to buy. These terms are the most basic ones to familiarise yourself with:

  • Annuals These plants complete their lifespan in a single season, then may need to be replanted. A “Hardy Annual” is set outdoors in spring, for example, and may lie dormant during winter, then revive in the springtime.

  • Biennials These plants thrive over two seasons. If outside, they’re planted in summer and will produce stems and leaves in season one before flowering the following season.

  • Climber These are plants like ivy or roses that can attach to an upright structure, such as a trellis, wall, or fence. These are great for balconies.

  • Hardy A hardy plant is one which is not affected by frosts or cold weather.

  • Perennial A perennial is a non-wood plant that flowers every year, retreating over winter and re-growing the following spring. Geraniums are a good example. These will live for years in a garden or window box.