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Starting Your Own Small Urb Garden in Five Easy Steps

In case you haven’t heard, MCM is going to be starting our very own Urb Garden! You may be asking yourself “Hey, aren’t you guys already growing stuff on the rooftop?” and yes we are, but we want to expand on that space and create a whole exhibit just for urban gardening. Why? Because we feel like teaching families about gardens and how to garden in their own homes is extremely important for good health and for the environment.


Since the UrbGarden isn’t ready yet, we wanted to give you some tips on how to start your own garden at home when you don’t have a lot of space for a garden, or the time to manage one.

Step One: Find A Space

For those of you with big yards, finding a space outside shouldn’t be too hard and I bet you already have a pretty stellar garden or flower bed already started, but here is a good article on urban gardening outside to check out.

If you are like me and living in a small apartment building in the heart of a busy city, finding space to grow anything sounds impossible, but it is actually very possible and easy! When I hear the word “garden” I think of something big and more along the lines of Olbrich with wild lush green things everywhere, but an urban garden can actually be very small if need be. All you need is a window sill, a shelf, an unused table top or even a corner of floor space to turn into a garden.  Find a space near a source of natural light and in a location your animals or kids can’t get into easily (unless you want your kitties nipplin’ on all your herbs since yes, they do that. Cats are strange).

Step Two: Pick What To Grow!

The amount and type of space you have will determine what you will be able to grow. Here is a good list of plants that can be grown in containers. Check it out, get inspired. I suggest starting off with a few herbs like mint, basil or sage since they will grow very well, will make you feel like a gardening goddess (or god) and you don’t want to feel like a failure right off the bat, right?

Step Three: Gather Your Pots

After you know what you want to grow you’ll have a better idea of what kind of pots/containers to use. Remember, not all pots have to be traditional pots. Plants can grow in anything that can hold dirt and water, so feel free to recycle your old soda bottles or milk jugs or anything else you can think of and turn them into tiny little gardens!

Little planters are a very popular way to start seeds off since they can be quickly transferred to a bigger pot once they grow larger.

Little planters are a very popular way to start seeds off since they can be quickly transferred to a bigger pot once they grow larger.

Hanging baskets are great for vines and some types of fruit.

Hanging baskets are great for vines and some types of fruit.

If you have a bigger container, consider planting many plants to mick a bigger garden.

If you have a bigger container, consider planting many plants to mimic a bigger garden.

Step Four: Get Your Soil!

Peat soil is generally considered the best type of soil to start plants off in since it has the right PH balance and  added nutrients for seeds and young plants. Read this article for an in-depth explanation about peat soil, mixing your own soil with compost and picking that best type of long-term soil for your plants.

Step Four: Planting!

Once you gathered your pots/containers, soil and seeds, it is time to plant! As a child, I helped my mom plant seeds and I would somehow manage to get potting soil all over the house. It was a talent. I suggest planting outside or laying down newspaper if you are planting indoors since kids will get dirt everywhere and there is a good chance you might spill, too.

Once you are ready, fill your pot/container 3/4 of the way with soil. Use your pinky finger to push a hole into the soil that roughly measures .25-.5 inches. Pop a few seeds in the whole (more seeds means a better survival rate), cover the hole up and water the pot. Remember to mark each container with a label so you don’t forget whats growing where! Continue until you’ve planted everything. See, that was easy!

Step Five: Pick Your Gardening Day

When I was little I was in charge of watering our indoor plants every Saturday morning. To make the chore more interesting I strapped on my roller blades and skated around my house to water all the plants. It was really fun and made me actually want to help out. I’m not saying you should be watering your garden on wheels (well, you can if you want), but the point of this story is that maintaining your garden shouldn’t be a hassle. Since your garden is indoors, there probably aren’t many if any weeds to pull, which is awesome since I hate weeding. All your plants really need is some TLC and water every now and then.

What you need to do is pick a day each week as your gardening day. On this day, set aside 20 minutes to water your plants, transfer them if needed, and to harvest anything that is ready to be eaten. It really is that simple.

And BOOM. You got your Urban Garden all set up!Tell us how your garden is going!


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This entry was posted on June 11, 2013 by in Things to Do at Home, Urb Gardening.

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