Whether you garden in a big city or a small one, urban environments are great places to grow food and flowers, provided you keep a few things in mind. Yes, wearing our cool urban farmer t shirt will help you grow in style, but you'll need to do more than look good to garden in the city. Here's some great advice urban gardeners and farmers should follow to make sure they're making the most of their environment and growing as safely as possible.
Tips for urban gardeners and farmers
- Test your soil first. Because urban soil can sometimes contain contaminants, particularly if it's a site that was once used for industrial activities, it's worth getting your soil tested for the presence of lead and other heavy metals before you start gardening. Many Agricultural Extension Service programs across the U.S. offer soil tests for heavy metal content. This is an incredibly important test to have done if you garden where heavy metal contamination is possible. Ingesting contaminated soil particles could lead to many health and developmental issues, especially for children.
- Maximize your space. Urban gardeners are often short on space, so maximizing your growing area is a must. Grow vertically when you can by training vining crops, such as cucumbers, squash, and melons, to grow up a trellis instead of rambling over the ground. Also, choosing more compact vegetable varieties is a great way to save space in the garden. Here's a list of some excellent small-space vegetables.
- Maximize your time. Save time in your garden by mulching it well at the start of the season. With a good layer of mulch in place, you'll be spending far less time weeding and watering than you would without it. Other good time management tips for the garden include:
- Set up an automatic drip sprinkler system to automate irrigation.
- Use a garden journal to keep notes about what to do when.
- Grow in containers to reduce garden upkeep tasks.
- Plant perennial plants when possible to cut down on the number of new plants you'll need to plant each spring.
- Share the love. One final tip for urban gardeners: be ready and willing to share your love of gardening and home-grown produce with others. If you grow extra beans, pass them on to a friend - it might inspire them to start gardening, too. Or, if you can't share the tangible rewards of your garden, share your knowledge. Maybe you can teach a class for new gardeners in your community or start a local urban gardening club to offer tips and advice to other folks who garden in the city. Yes, our urban farmer t shirt, along with all of Ironweed Apparel's gardening shirts, is meant to help propagate the love, too!
Plus, check out these other cool gardening tees from Ironweed Apparel: