Urban Farming 101

What if you want to farm, but you’re stuck in a city?

The above is a dilemma that many people find themselves facing. They don’t have the wide, open spaces that they would need to live as sustainably as they would like. Instead, they have to live in huge cities, kept there thanks to work requirements. While a farm in the middle of nowhere might be the ultimate dream, for the moment, it’s not a reality.

Or could it be? More and more people, and in fact countries, are investing in the idea of sustainable living, wherever it’s possible to find it. Read through the plans on Stateofgreen.com for inspiration, and you will quickly see that just because you don’t have a farm -- yet -- that doesn’t mean you don’t have options. The best option for any city dweller is a hobby known as urban farming.

What Is Urban Farming?

The idea behind urban farming is to create a farm wherever you are-- even if you only have a small courtyard of outdoor space. It might not be the full farming experience, but it’s something.

What’s The Point Of Urban Farming If You Only Have A Small Space?

Firstly, it gets you in the habit and teaches you lessons that you can one day transfer to a larger space.

Secondly, a small space doesn’t mean that you can’t have a productive urban farm. Make the most of techniques like square foot gardening, so you can maximize every available inch of space that is available to you.

How Can I Start Urban Farming?

It couldn’t be easier. Whether it’s growing spring onions on your kitchen windowsill or a pot of corn in the back garden, start small and work your way up. Opt to try growing vegetables that can be grown in pots -- such as tomatoes, cucumbers, or corn -- if you are really short on space. You could put together a square-foot garden frame if you have more room, or even just opt to grow herbs on a sunny windowsill-- every little helps.

If you have a full garden to work with, then your options are more open. Start with the basics, such as deciding what you want to grow and preparing the soil. Look to sew vegetables your family uses frequently, so you can reduce the amount you have to buy from conventional sources.

Then, just throw yourself into it. Try and grow your own crops, but don’t expect your efforts to be perfect from the start. One of the benefits of urban farming is that you can treat it as a learning experience; the knowledge you gather in your urban environment can one day be transferred to the rural setting you see yourself moving to.

How Can I Make Urban Farming As Eco-Friendly As Possible?

This very much depends on the space you have available, but here are a few options to consider:

  • Don’t buy expensive, store-bought fertilizers. Diluted coffee grounds and eggshells are potent natural fertilizers, and they will also help to keep your crops as organic as possible!

  • Use manual rather than electric tools.

  • Look for local urban farming groups; you could find friends who are willing to swap cuts and tips about making the most from your small space.

So do you think you could be tempted to give urban farming a go?