With 63% of the American population living in cities, it’s no secret that many city-dwellers have limited space at home—especially outdoor space. But joining a community garden is one of the easiest ways to foreground sustainability and do your part in restoring nature to the concrete jungle that is NYC.
Taking care of a garden is a great way to make life easier and more enjoyable in New York, as it will give you the opportunity to be more in touch with nature, sustainability and simple pleasures. Even if you don’t have access to a garden at home, there are a number of creative growing systems and tips that will help you after joining a community garden.
Use Containers and Small Pots
If you have a small outdoor space that is unable to sustain a bed or area with soil, you can easily grow a wide range of plants in containers and pots. In containers, plan flake grasses, succulents, shrubs and even small trees and all happily flourish. Typically, the smallest containers are used for plants that have shallow roots systems, like perennials, lettuce or radishes. Be sure to periodically rotate the containers so that the plants have maximum exposure to sunlight. You can also increase airflow by elevating the containers at least two inches from the ground.
Be Aware of Companion-Planting and Urban Wildlife
Since you will be growing your plants in a much smaller space than a typical garden, you should consult a companion-planting chart as you design your garden. Companion-planting means choosing plants that are compatibly grown in close quarters. For instance, pole beans work together well with marigolds, but not with plants in the onion or garlic family. Tomatoes grow well next to basil and parsley, but won’t get along with fennel.
Herbs Are Your Friends
If you don’t even have enough room for any outdoor containers or pots, there’s always the opportunity to grow herbs. No matter how small your garden is, herbs can be grown in hardly any space at all. Many herbs are very charming and even evergreen, and they will also be deliciously fresh additions to your cooking. Growing rosemary, basil, oregano, sage, thyme and others will bring a great amount of diversity to your home garden. Herbs are also incredibly low maintenance, making them perfect for an urban garden with limited space.
By using small containers, being aware of companion-planting and wildlife, and choosing plants like herbs, you can quickly transform a New York City community garden into a restorative gardening oasis.