How to Turn a Small Garden into a Mini Urban Farm?

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With the world wide web extending our knowledge about the ways of the world, people are becoming more curious about the foods they are eating and where they come from. In some circumstances they may not want to be eating foods that are grown so far away. We all prefer to eat fresh fruit and vegetables that are grown locally, although sometimes this may not be possible. Many people who are faced with this dilemma have turned to creating their own mini urban farm in their urban garden to satisfy their need for fresh, locally grown produce. It may seem initially that a garden is too small to have an urban farm, although with a bit of creativity and some clever knowledge you can always find enough space to grow. If you have an acre of land you can create a wonderful farm, with chickens, fruit trees and vegetables, however, even if you have only a sunny windowsill there are definitely things you can grow in your own urban garden paradise. homify has the best tips for you.

Build a Garden Bed

The first step is to build a garden bed for your fruits and vegetables. One of the best types of vegetable beds for urban areas is the raised garden bed. Raised garden beds allow you to build up the soil to a higher level than normal ground level. This serves two purposes; it allows you to create a healthy soil mix and it makes it easier to work in the garden bed. Create the garden bed by sourcing four pieces of hard wood approximately 600mm wide. These will be the sides of the garden bed. Secure these together using brackets and screws. Next, line the bottom of the bed with fabric netting or newspaper, to stop weeds from growing into your garden bed.

Demarcate the Space

Now that you have decided to create your own urban garden farm, it is time to come up with a plan. Sit down with a paper and pen and draw a diagram of the space you have available. Within this space create sections and identify how you will use each section. This may include garden beds for vegetables; write which vegetables will grow where. You may also mark a section for growing fruit trees, jot down which tree will be where. You may need to construct fences to mark a boundary between each section. Be sure to allow for enough space for the crops and the fruit trees to grow. Many plants and trees can grow larger than you expect. For ideas about creating vertical gardens see Werkhaus Design.

Nourish the Soil

The quality of your soil will often be reflected in the quality of your produce. If you spend a bit of time and effort on creating a good soil mix you will be rewarded with healthy, good quality produce. There are a few key elements to include in your soil mix to ensure healthy plants, start with organic matter such as manure for nitrogen, next add any compost that you have collected from scraps in the kitchen and around your garden, this will work with the organic matter to speed up the formation of soil humus. Include also mulch such as leaves and straw. This should remain on the top layer of the soil to protect it from extreme changes in temperature. This will provide a wonderful and healthy base for your growing plants.

Choose the Right Plants for the Farm

One of the secrets of creating a wonderful urban farm is choosing the right plants. The right plants for your farm can depend on the climate in which you live in and the season  you intend to grow them. There are certain vegetables and fruits that are intolerant of extremes in heat or cold. Be aware of this when you are choosing plants. One of the best ways of choosing plants is to get advice from neighbours with their own urban farms. If they have had particular success with a crop, there is a good chance that this plant will grow successfully in the local climate and soil. Consider trying these plants first. Also, ask your local garden store for advice, they also have information about local conditions. For more ideas see The Secret to GrowingPerfect Aromatic Herbs.

Sow Vegetable Seeds

Hillside Farm Exterior One DUA Architecture LLP Modern houses
DUA Architecture LLP

Hillside Farm Exterior One

DUA Architecture LLP

Now that you have chosen the vegetables you wish to grow it is time to get them. Vegetables can either be purchased from seed or from small plants called seedlings. If you are just starting out as an urban gardener, seedlings may be a better alternative. These are strong enough to be planted directly into the garden beds. If you have decided to take up the challenge of growing your vegetables from seed there are some considerations to make. Planting the seeds directly into the garden beds can be a wonderful way to watch the entire growing process, although this is sometimes a very slow process. One way to make it a bit faster is with mini green houses. Start your seeds in a warmer, sun drenched and protected environment like a windowsill or trays that mimic a greenhouse. When they have reached the size of your hand, they will be strong enough to transfer to the garden bed.

Go Organic

Growing your own organic crops is one of the most popular reasons that people start their own garden farms. By growing organic crops you can be sure that you are aware of what went into the growing process. Growing organically can sometimes be more of a challenge than first thought however. Organic food is grown using no pesticides, fungicides, weed killers or sprays. This can make your garden a target for weeds, pests and bugs. In order to fight against these you will need to think of alternative ways of eradicating them. This may include introducing natural predators for the animal pests such as ladybugs or butterflies. You also need to protect your crops against fungicides. This can be done with natural, organic substances such as vinegar and simple detergent.

Growing our own food in our urban garden paradise can be rewarding and satisfying. We have the opportunity to learn about the growing process and get to enjoy the crops at the end. No matter how small your garden is, there are ways to grow food in your urban garden. From simply growing seedlings on the windowsill, to growing a crop of succulent ripe tomatoes, there are always ways to grow. Start by choosing a spot to grow, create your garden bed, make a healthy soil mix, decide on the best crops to grow, then go ahead and plant them. Watching the garden grow is a wonderfully rewarding experience. For more garden inspiration see Make the Most of your Small Garden.

Which tip did you like the most? Let us know in the comments below.

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