Gardening in constricted spaces like apartment balconies and small yards can prove to be a futile exercise if you want maximum from your crops. Not many people know that small space gardening can actually yield a great deal of produce if you plant the right crop, handle them well and take proper care. You can speak to any farming expert to learn how to specialize in small scale gardening. In this article we will also provide tips to excel in small gardens.
Select the right containers
To become a successful gardener you must have the proper equipment at your disposal. Selecting the right containers is an important step. If you are living in an urban area then you can opt for a five-gallon bucket that may not look pretty but will definitely serve the purpose. These buckets are considered to be very good for intensive farming. You can find good quality food grade buckets from many restaurants and some of them will happily give them away. We emphasize on food-grade because they do not produce dangerous chemicals nor does it have any toxins.
Prepare the buckets
You need to drill two inches hole in the side for drainage. This will ensure that soil does not get waterlogged and a small reservoir is created to keep the soil moist. If you are living in an urban area then you get recycled soil from a nursery or just purchase new soil from a supplier. If you plan to use soil from your yard then you must get a soil test done to find out if it contains lead. There are organizations that will do the soil test in exchange for a small fee.
Building the soil
If you want to produce a large yield then you need to build up the soil and for this, you need worm bins. The process is known as vermicompost, whereby you stack bins under the counter so that it does not produce strong odors. If you do not want to build your own bins then you can but the ready-made kits which are available commercially. The worm casings can be mixed directly with the soil so that it gets additional nutrients. Just look out for compostable items that may germinate like melons and tomatoes.
Choose the starter plants
You must choose starter plants that will offer high yields. You can start with potatoes. In a single five-gallon bucket you can yield a large number of potatoes using potting soil and straw mix. Since potatoes provide the maximum calories per square foot, it's a good idea to have potatoes as your starter plant. They will germinate in less than a month and just reseed them constantly to keep them keeping. You will feel really satisfied after your efforts yield results.
The other options
If you are not keen on potatoes then you can weigh other alternatives like bush beans and snap peas. Bush beans boast a very high yield and are quite easy to grow. You can also opt for lettuce mix as they are easy to grow. The key components of bio-intensive agriculture are continuous harvest and resowing. It is not at all difficult to replicate the same on a small scale at home.
Word of caution
Urban gardeners must take care of certain things to ensure that they have a successful garden. If you have a large lawn, you must watch out for herbicide drift. This can occur is the people in your locality are using herbicide to manage the weeds. But how will you detect this? Watch out for the leaves. If the leaves of the plant appear twisted and bubbly then it is a clear indication that someone in the area using herbicides. However, you can counter these problems. One option is to grow the plants on a shielded sun porch or if you know the person then you can advise him/her on other options of weed management. But since many may not agree you can stick with the option of a sun porch.
It is common knowledge that urban areas are bereft of beneficial organisms. There are no ladybugs to eat the aphids or bees which will act as pollinators. You can but ladybugs to control the aphids. You can even release a large clutch of them in the neighborhood. To tackle the problem of pollination or rather the lack of it, you can establish a mason bee block near the garden. These pollinators are typically friendly; they don't produce honey and do not need a significant amount of shelter. The good thing is that they do not sting either.
The preceding was a guest post by Claudia. She loves writing on luxury and technology. She recently read an article on ecofriend that attracted her attention. These days she is busy in her research work for born rich.
Awesome article! Not only does it save money, but its also great for the environment. Its tough for people in nyc to find time to garden, but I was recently blown away by the two filmmakers of “King Corn” who are growing a garden in the back of their pickup truck.
a lot of people utilize small spaces for growing food here in Portland. I see patches by the road, in medians, and even in abandoned lots. I like your idea of potatoes. Several of my friends have grown potatoes using old tires. Its a great way to recycle the used tire. Potatoes are a great crop because they are easy to grow, and they are high in vitamin C and B6. I recently wrote a post about many of the Health Benefits of Potatoes if anyone wants to check it out. Here is a site about growing potatoes in tires :http://www.ehow.com/how_4621546_use-old-tires-raise-potatoes.html