I must start with a disclaimer. When living in an urban environment like a triplex, apartment, high rise, etc., the Homeowners Association (HOA) and/or property manager specific to your building may have rules and regulations about what kind of plants you can have and where you can have them. So before you break out those adorable rose-printed gardening gloves, make sure you’ve done your research and have gathered written permission to do so from all necessary parties.
Big or small, growing an urban garden provides a multitude of benefits and gets you out playing in the sun and the dirt! Here are some ideas:
Community Garden: This is a great idea if you would like to be an active member and even leader in your community. There’s a good amount of work involved with a start-up, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency has a step-by-step guide to help you and local officials put together a community garden in your neighborhood. In the East Village neighborhood of Downtown San Diego, there’s a great example of a parking lot turned garden.
School Garden: Gardens are a great way to help children develop both healthy eating habits and appreciation for the environment. Contact the school administrators at your younger sibling’s or niece/nephew’s school to see if you can help organize and maintain an edible garden for their students.
Balcony or Patio Garden: Use similarly shaped potting containers in staggered sizes so that you can stack them on top of each other and conserve space all the while growing various herbs and vegetables. Check the Old Farmer’s Almanac to find out what to grow and when. Stands with hanging arms for pots work well too.
Staircase Garden: If you have sunny walk-up stairs to your apartment, adorn each step with a potted edible something and share the bounty and water bill with neighbors.
Backyard Garden: If you do have a stretch of lawn that’s begging for some new sprouts, put Better Homes and Gardens’ free garden planner to use.
Happy gardening! Love to see how your garden grows.