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We’ve practiced growing vegetables in small spaces in several community gardens over the years but in Gleann na Bearu, a community garden in Bagenalstown, Co Carlow with an overall space of 14m x 8m, we’re hoping it will give visitors and participants ideas they can replicate at home. Last year almost all the growing in the garden took place in old tyres happily donated by the local tyre shop. When the tyres were stacked three or four high to give the displays interest and save on soil, we filled them to around two-thirds deep with empty plastic bottles before adding the weed membrane, compost and plants. Over the winter months we added raised beds to the garden design, some large, some small, which helps to give visual ideas for people who want less of a upcycled look in their own gardens. On another wall in the community garden tyres have been hung up, colourfully painted and planted, having had drainage holes drilled into them first. Very soon we’ll be adding a small, safe pond to the garden that we hope will attract beneficial wildlife and insects. The Gleann na Bearu community gardening project has been a real joy to work with and more details about how it begin and the different funding streams its attracted can be found on the Community Gardens Ireland website where the garden featured as an In Focus article recently.
We’ll be continuing to stretch our imaginations in this garden, giving people ideas for growing food in small spaces or using recycled materials. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. If you want to find more about how we came to live in Ireland and what we do, take a look in the About page or Contact me about how I can help you grow your own food.
Dee has a wealth of experience and knowledge about horticulture and she is passionate about helping and encouraging others to grow their own food. Dee is dedicated & passionate about her business and has great ideas how to benefit organisations through the use of horticulture.
Dee is an excellent source of information, always answering questions in a simple and understandable manner, with a talent to convey a variety of subject in a clear, engaging and informative way.
Gosh it’s so difficult to write a testimonial for someone as passionate about helping people as Dee. I’m still practicing my small-scale growing skills, this time in the safety of a 10-by-10-foot plot in the suburbs of Maine. Reporter at Angie's List, a national consumer reviews and local services site offering advice on everything from home repair to health care. Urban and apartment dwellers' lack of space limits the amount of room to grow -- both in family members or gardens. Many edibles have trailing growth habits that allow them to cascade nicely over the edge of containers.
Add wall brackets to hold hanging baskets or create a vertical garden that allows you to utilize wall space for growing.
Strategically place window boxes on different sides of the house to grow sun-tolerant and shade-tolerant plants. Plant breeders have created multiple smaller plant breeds optimal for growing in small spaces. A simple snap-together trellis system helps save valuable garden space by training vegetables to grow up.
Margaret Park's Center Square Plan provides a central work place in the middle of an eight-foot square area.
Margaret Park is an author and innovator who gardens on a 8 x 24 foot garden patch in Salt Lake City, Utah. The successful results of her experimental methods are now available to gardeners everywhere in her new book. Park said a key to success with such intensive gardening is deep, fertile soil and she explains all the how-to's in Chapter 2.
The bokashi composting method was developed by a Japanese plant scientist, according to Park.
To see our content at its best we recommend upgrading if you wish to continue using IE or using another browser such as Firefox, Safari or Google Chrome. Demand for allotments is at an all-time high, but some crops are best grown just outside the back door, where you can enjoy watching their daily progress and harvest them fresh. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website.
Learn how to transform your balcony and windowsills into productive vegetable gardens, and your countertops and storage lockers into a commercial-quality sprout and mushroom farm. Books on container gardening have been wildly popular with urban and suburban readers, but until now, there has been no comprehensive "how-to" guide for growing fresh food in the absence of open land. Readers will learn how to transform their balconies and windowsills into productive vegetable gardens, their countertops and storage lockers into commercial-quality sprout and mushroom farms, and their outside nooks and crannies into whatever they can imagine, including sustainable nurseries for honeybees and chickens. With this book as a guide, people living in apartments, condominiums, townhouses, and single-family homes will be able to grow up to 20 percent of their own fresh food using a combination of traditional gardening methods and space-saving techniques such as reflected lighting and container "terracing." Those with access to yards can produce even more.
Products can be returned for a refund within 30 days of receipt if unused and in original packaging.
Returns of solar panels, inverters or other large ticket items will incur a re-stocking fee of up to 20%. Fourth, people do not realize that they can build a garden bed directly on top of concrete, stone, or rocky soil.
It may sound gross, but both pet poop and human waste (humanure) can be composted for use in gardens as well. Also, if the indoor temperatures do not drop too low, and if you have a sunny spot under a window, you could try growing dwarf citrus trees in containers. A few months ago, I gave a presentation in San Francisco and a gentleman was there who told me a story about how his young granddaughter had wanted to get some chickens but found out they were illegal to have in her town. Come to our hot summer lecture series, on a few of our favorite things: transportation, plastic, and keeping cool.
The varieties might include tumbling container tomatoes or cut and come again salad leaves, strawberries or in slightly larger containers, leafy kale instead of whole cabbage.
The teenagers from the youth club painted them with donated paint (and anything else that didn’t move). These are very easy to work at and have helped ease childhood memories of stone picking out in the fields where their parents grew vegetables.
Mr G took apart a single pallet and rebuilt it into a vertical wall planter that for the moment we’ve added bedding plants to, grown by the community gardeners. In this example Ian cut the pallet completely in half, leaving the top (the back) in one piece. I need to research whether we can grow watercress for another edible addition to the garden; I’ll share with you how we get on with that project soon. Dee has an in-depth knowledge of all things gardening and is a tremendous asset to any gardening group.  Without Dee’s support we would be unable to keep this community garden going’.
Her passion, commitment to sustainable practices & generous sharing of her extensive knowledge have benefited local communities and individuals alike. Thanks to Greenside Up I’m aware of all the prep work and pest control so hopefully all will go well.
Encouraging and teaching people and communities how to be self-reliant and showing them how to grow their own foods is what Dee Sewell from Greenside Up is all about. If you have a large plot, you can get away with having less-fertile soil by planting more and spacing out your crops.


For residents looking to flourish in a small area and join the grow-your-food movement, weed through these gardening tips for tight spaces. A quick search on Pinterest shows an abundance of unique ideas from mason jar and upside-down herb gardens to growing in pallets and cinder blocks. A double-duty trellis is used to successively crop peas and winter squashes for big yield in less space. She details the various cooling strategies in hot weather and warming strategies for cold weather that can also extend the harvest.
Fresh Food from Small Spaces fills the gap as a practical, comprehensive, and downright fun guide to growing food in small spaces.
Free space for the city gardener might be no more than a cramped patio, balcony, rooftop, windowsill, hanging rafter, dark cabinet, garage, or storage area, but no space is too small or too dark to raise food. Returns are paid for by customer unless product is defective or damaged, in which case Real Goods assumes responsibility. While true, Old MacDonald had a farm (ee-i-ee-i-o), his offspring have some urban fish to fry. Without the luxury of land or space, is it really possible for someone to grow and produce their own food?
First, you need to know that you CAN grow a lot of different food crops in limited spaces, even in apartments, condos, townhouses, and other small homes.
Almost anything can grow well in containers, but even a patio, driveway, or walkway can be converted to a productive garden bed by building the soil up (as opposed to digging down, which you would not be able to do without a jackhammer).
If one family could grow one type of food in their small space — in order to save money — what would be the most viable option? Even if you do not have much horizontal space, you may have vertical air space or wall space available to grow some crops. You should put your seedling pots on a tray that catches water runoff and it is important not to over-water seedlings (which is tempting to do). Animal poop CAN contain pathogens and parasites, so it is important to keep this away from food crops. Of all the food-growing topics I covered in my book, I have been most surprised by the overwhelming interest in raising chickens for homegrown eggs. So this young lady, who I think was in middle school, went to her town’s council meeting and showed them that all of the neighboring cities and towns allowed chickens.
The volunteers are instead discovering that growing food in raised beds is productive, they look tidy, are low maintenance and can be relaxing as the group work away outside.
He then used the pieces he’d removed to fill in the sides and make shelf planters in the front. Whether your garden consists of a window box in the city or an acre in the country, you can still benefit from applying the techniques of small-space gardening.
Consider using a kitchen window if possible, so you can grab a bunch of cilantro, basil or rosemary while cooking. With a little imagination and determination, you can acquire a green thumb and fresh, homegrown food no matter where you live. I learned about growing in small spaces the hard way: raising enough lettuce and tomatoes on London rooftops and balconies to keep me in salads all summer and I have continued to grow my salads and herbs close to hand, in pots and large containers just a few paces from the kitchen. It provides readers with the knowledge and skills necessary to produce their own fresh vegetables, mushrooms, sprouts, and fermented foods as well as to raise bees and chickens - all without reliance on energy-intensive systems like indoor lighting and hydroponics. Ruppenthal worked on an organic vegetable farm in his youth, but his expertise in urban and indoor gardening has been hard-won through years of trial-and-error experience.
If you live in an apartment, condo, or townhouse, you might not think that you have enough space to grow anything, but my goal is to change your mind on that. I built two beds on top of my patio, and today, I cannot tell the difference between what is growing on them and what is growing in my soil-based beds. Like their spud relatives, tomatoes are amazingly productive in the home garden and they taste far better than anything you can buy in the store. Tall plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, beans, and some squash can be trained upwards or even downwards, growing large and productive even if they have a small horizontal footprint. Over-watering will increase the likelihood of disease, so keep the soil just barely moist between waterings. Generally, fresh manure of any sort should not be applied directly to plants, since it can burn them (though there some safe exceptions, like rabbit manure).
Because small-scale compost piles and composting bins rarely get hot enough to achieve this, I would discourage small-scale gardeners from composting pet waste. In the coldest climates, they may need some protection from a small greenhouse, row cover, cloche, or other type of covering. Lemons, and some limes and mandarins, do not need as much heat to ripen as oranges and grapefruit do.
This has been a huge trend over the last year or two, and local governments are responding by changing their outdated laws. Even if you are buying most of your food, some produce is cheaper in season and can be stored for periods ranging from weeks to months. Weed proof membrane was then stapled into each planting area before adding multipurpose compost and the plants. Strawberries, tomatoes, radishes and hot peppers thrive in containers, but don't be afraid to try other fruit and veggies as well.
In the small city homes where he has lived, often with no more than a balcony, windowsill, and countertop for gardening, Ruppenthal and his family have been able to eat at least some homegrown food 365 days per year.
Dream no more, because you can have it, and without quitting your job, trading your bus pass for a pickup, or moving to the rural north. Because urbanites, too, can grow their own food indoors, in cramped spaces, and without access to land! You can grow nutritious sprouts on a counter top, salad greens on a windowsill, dwarf fruit trees on a patio, tomatoes on a balcony, and much more. Hopefully, you will try some of these and also come up with new ideas on your own, as many of my readers have done. Then compost your food scraps along with any coffee grounds, newspapers, cardboard, and old plant material. You would need fields of grain to feed the family, but you can grow a meaningful amount of potatoes in a pretty small space. If you are buying store-bought tomatoes, you can save a lot of money by growing them at home instead. The only available space for your garden may be shaded by a building next door or a tree overhead. In some urban spaces, there may well be more light higher up (or lower down) that vertical plants can grow into. A sunny window makes a good spot or else you can use some indoor light to get the little plants going. As the plants grow, you need to harden them off by gradually exposing them to the outside sunlight, wind, and temperature changes. However, aged and composted manure is an excellent source of plant fertilizer, and the composting process can kill both bad organisms and break down the manure into a compost that is safe and nutritious for plants.
Spinach, arugula, mache, and kale are some examples, along with a bounty of Oriental greens such as Chinese cabbage and mizuna.


Most of these ordinances, for public health or zoning reasons, limited the number of chickens or livestock that someone could raise on a city lot.
So the trend definitely is in that direction, but urban residents should be especially careful to follow any applicable laws. An apartment dweller can think of any unused space that may be good for storage, such as a closet, carport, cabinet, or underneath a staircase. In an era of declining resources and environmental disruption, Ruppenthal shows that even urban dwellers can contribute to a rebirth of local, fresh foods. Most vegetables, and even fruit trees and berry bushes, can thrive when grown in containers. Second, start with something that is relatively trouble-free (such as salad greens, peas, or even tomatoes) and work up from there. I’ve had two kale plants that each grew nearly six feet tall on those patio beds, plus peas, chard, beets, lettuce, and a few potatoes.
With just 2-3 plants, you may well have enough tomatoes for the whole family and even some left over for drying, canning, giving away, or selling. So you may not get the 6-8 hours of full-blast direct sunlight that most gardening books recommend. If your light comes in at an angle, you can grow shorter plants in front of these taller ones. Fluorescent or Compact Fluorescent light bulbs work well, but you will need to keep the plant seedlings within a foot or two of the bulbs to get enough light energy, and you will need to run the light for at least eight hours per day. Pick a nice, mild day and put them outside for half an hour in bright shade, then an hour the next day, and then some more time in the sun, and you get the picture.
There are ways to remediate the soil using certain deep-rooted plants like sunflowers and comfrey, but then the plant matter needs to be disposed of as toxic waste. For that matter, if you had a sunny room that did not get particularly cold in the wintertime, you could experiment with a parthenocarpic variety (no pollination needed) of just about anything, from greens beans to cucumbers to tomatoes. Check with your city, county, or other local authority, and make sure that what you want to do is legal. There are different temperature and humidity requirements for optimal storage of various fruits and vegetables, and air circulation can be important, so someone interested in serious root cellaring should research this more thoroughly. Plant World Seeds in Devon is offering Sunday Telegraph readers free seed of two unusual varieties. Indoors, try mushrooms, sprouts, and fermented cultures such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
I believe that this really increases the available growing space in cities; so much of our good space is paved over, but it is not longer off-limits to creative gardeners!
Check and see whether your city or county provides discounts or free bins for people to compost.
Tomatoes will grow well in certain containers, provided that these are large enough to accommodate their root system (at least 12-15 gallons of soil capacity).
But the good news is that those other gardening books are wrong here; they were written by people who garden on acres rather than feet or inches. Dwarf fruit trees and some berry plants can be espaliered against walls or fences, growing from a small patch of soil next to a walkway or wall.
Or plant some root crops earlier (such as beets or carrots) for winter or early spring harvest. The good news is that many cities have been waking up to the fact that it is not a health hazard, nor is it loud or obnoxious, to allow someone to keep a couple of hens for egg-laying.
I do not have a root cellar, but we normally store some apples and winter squash in the garage for later use. If you try some simple crops and do everything you can (such as provide good soil and water) to ensure their success, then you WILL experience some success.
Each year you will need to continually add organic matter to your garden soil, and compost is a wonderful source of both organic matter and soil nutrients. Where light is limited or in cool summer areas, try the smaller-fruited tomatoes such as cherry, plum, and even Roma tomatoes. Small-space urban gardeners know that many food plants can grow well in partial sunlight, dappled sunlight, reflected sunlight, or with just a few hours per day of direct sunlight.
The branches are trained two-dimensionally so that they spread in height and width against the wall, but do not spread outwards. In addition, we have enough refrigerator space to store a few beets, kohlrabi, and carrots. For plant fertilizer, though, do not rely on your own compost: you will need to add some organic fertilizer as well, which is available from your local nursery. You absolutely do not need ground soil to grow potatoes, and even though I have some ground space available, I now grow all my potatoes in containers. Leafy greens, legumes, and most root crops can handle limited light and will produce just fine even if the harvest is a little smaller than in full sunlight. Pears, apples, stone fruit, persimmons, and hardy kiwis or grapes (with wire or trellis support), and are all candidates for espalier or 2-D training. Most kinds have a base of manure or seed meal for nitrogen, plus natural sources of phosphorus and potassium, which are all key plant nutrients.
So far, all of my container-grown spuds have been completely pest-free and disease-free, so I am able to use the smaller potatoes as seed potatoes for the next crop. If diseases are a problem, choose disease-resistant varieties, and do not feel bad if this includes hybrid varieties rather than heirlooms. My rainbow chard did much better after I installed a large mirror on my city garden wall; I did it for looks, but all the nearby plants benefited.
Sometimes you forget to water or you planted the wrong variety for your climate, or for whatever reason, a particular plant simply was not happy. Kelp extract makes a great supplemental source for both trace minerals and natural growth boosters. Some people grow spuds in garbage cans, stacked tires, wire fencing rolls, and in other unique structures. Growing hybrids is not a crime against nature; it just means that you cannot save your own seeds for the next generation. Even if you do not treat the plants well (forgetting to water or fertilize as often as you should), you are likely to harvest at least a few pounds per square foot. A black thumb gardener would quit after the first failure or two, not understanding that there is a learning curve associated with gardening, just as there is with anything else. Do not use a high nitrogen fertilizer, as this will make the plant grow too vigorously at the expense of the roots and tubers (the edible part).
Most fertilizers for acid plants (azaleas, rhododendrons, etc.) and bulb fertilizers (if the nitrogen is not too high) will work very well for potatoes.



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