The Growth of Urban Micro-Gardens

How many New Yorkers do you know with a garden? Discounting the super-rich, a plot of your own is hard to come by in the city; and this is a great shame, as gardening is a mindful and relaxing way to spend your downtime. Central Park and the Botanical Gardens are brilliant, but there’s less interest than when you can call the plants your own. A pioneering solution for those with green fingers is to take whatever little bit of space you have and turn it into a garden – whether that’s tubs on the roof, decking your windows out with boxes, or turning your balcony into a mini vegetable plot.

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Let the flowers grow
Filling your balcony, fire escape, and windowsills with beautiful flowers and leafy shrubs is a great way to reclaim a little space of your own from the city. Consider how much sun your prospective micro-garden location gets throughout the day – skyscrapers and other apartment buildings can cast long shadows – so choose and position your plants to match these conditions. Add some comfy chairs, and think about installing a calming water feature to create a focal point and release calming sounds and movement. Planting in tubs is the best solution, it allows you to switch things up later on and few balconies come covered in compost anyway! Putting some of the heavier ones on skates is a good idea, particularly if they might need to come inside during harsh NYC winters.

The good life
Transforming your balcony into a garden can have many other great benefits too – if, like many others in New York, you decide to head down the edible route you can have tasty fresh produce right on hand, save some money, and drastically reduce your carbon footprint while you’re at it. Tomatoes and runner beans are great as they grow up rather than out, and many berry bushes do really well in pots. Courgette plants can be very prolific, and it’s really simple to plant long troughs with salad leaves and herbs to garnish your meals. One top tip is to use high-quality organic compost, and fertilize regularly to make sure your plants have enough nutrients.
So if you’re feeling like the urban jungle can be a little too urban and not enough jungle, assess your apartment for micro-garden potential, and get creative with transforming it into a little bit of (possibly edible) paradise.

Photo Credit

Annie Spratt

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