While urban life has changed quite dramatically over the past century, it has also stayed much the same in many ways, kind of recycling ideas until we find the ones that work best right now. For instance, rooftop gardens are a concept dating back to ancient Babylonian times and indoor plants were very fashionable in ancient Persia and enjoyed a massive revival during the enlightenment age that has stuck with us ever since. The varieties of plants and their cultivars are seemingly endless and a nice selection of plants suitable to your climate is not difficult to find.
While planting in your garden is more ideal for some, it is definitely not the only way to garden. Planting in containers is a fantastic way to utilize pavements, driveways, rooftops, verandas and balconies, or any other unused space around the house. Well made pots are essential, don’t buy cheap! You want your pots to be treated with a UV coating, or to be made from a UV-resistant material. Clay or concrete pots are excellent and will last ages, just make sure they don’t show any signs of salt seeping out of the walls of the pot. Salt in a pot will kill nearly every plant you try to nurse in it. Plastic pots are great, they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, those that aren’t already UV-resistant can easily be treated and a plastic one is not nearly as expensive as a clay pot.
The right grow medium is the next essential component needed to grow your own veggies in containers. While the average garden soil can house a plant, it will never really thrive in it. Clay-based soils are quite rich in nutrients but are very dense and don’t drain well, roots struggle to push through it and the plants can’t access sufficient nutrients to grow happily. Mixing in a coarse River Sand is the quickest solution, but Perlite is also an excellent way to keep suspended soils more separated. If you have very sandy soil where you live, you’re going to need a material that will absorb and store water better. Vermiculite is a natural material that absorbs water really well and will not interfere with nutrient levels. Coco Coir or Peat Moss is also excellent but will require additional nitrogen to be added during growing cycles, as they absorb some from the soil, making it unavailable to the plant for a time. This is easily corrected by using a liquid fertilizer diluted into water. A large selection of chemical-based and organic fertilizers are available in liquid and granular forms. Alternatively, special mixed potting soil is readily available too. Don’t forget the compost, it’s good for all soil types, and the older it is, the better.
Maintaining Your Efforts
You will need to keep the root requirements in mind as well. Some plants can be grown together, like carrots or beans, while others need to have their own space, like broccoli and tomatoes. Depth is important when planting root vegetables, and width is more suitable for the bushy-root types of plants.
Always remember to plant seeds at the right time of the year, summer seeds might survive if you plant them in autumn -but are more likely to rot away- and it’s easy to get it right. If you bought your seeds from a local supplier, the back of the pack should have the planting instructions printed on. Like, time to plant, the spacing between seeds, depth to cover, etc.
There is always Google, of course, if all else fails