Do you love fresh fruits and vegetables? If you live in an urban area, it may be difficult to find farm-fresh produce. If you are fortunate to have a Farmer’s Market nearby, you can usually find organically and locally grown fruits and vegetables. If there is no farmer’s market nearby, you might consider trying your hand at urban farming. This type of farming is one of the quickest growing areas of agriculture and includes cultivating and distributing food in or near a town, city or village.
Urban farming is not limited to only plant crops. It can also include aquaculture, animal husbandry, urban beekeeping, agroforestry, and horticulture. Each has different characteristics, but all can be adapted to urban farming. Urban farming can be done in almost any city space and it does not take much to get started.
How To Get Started
Many urban dwellers have their own homes and a backyard that can be turned into an urban farm. Even if you live in an apartment, you can start a small garden on your balcony or rooftop. Some city neighborhoods even have small plots of land that you can work and turn into your own garden. The design of your garden will depend on the available space.
Types Of Urban Farms And Gardens
You do not need a large space to create an urban garden. Many eco-savvy homeowners have turned their traditional backyard into a completely designed garden, complete with fruit trees and even vegetables. These gardens can be completely self-sustaining, no matter how small.
When you plan your urban garden, consider vegetables which can be harvested at different times of the year. For example, planting autumn squash in the same area as you plant early strawberries can provide variety all throughout the year. Another good idea is to plant vegetables and fruits that are good for canning. This provides home-grown fruits and vegetables all year long. You might also include pickling vegetables such as beets, cucumbers, onions and carrots, all of which taste wonderful when pickled. While growing your own edible plants can provide a taste treat, it is also important to keep your urban garden environmentally friendly.
Keeping Your Farm Eco-Friendly
When planting an urban farm or garden, you should take steps to ensure your garden is also environmentally friendly. Develop an ecologically sound foundation before beginning to plant. Whether you are planning a tiny patio garden, a community-based vegetable and fruit garden, or a small micro-farm, it is critical to keep certain principles in mind.
First, plan ahead and determine which type of crops will best suit your needs. What are you hoping to gain from your urban farm or garden? Do you have the space to plant a full garden or will you be growing your vegetables and fruits in containers? Are you considering raising livestock and if so, how will you house and care for them? Once you decide on the type of garden you will have, keep the following thoughts in mind.
Tips For A Thriving Garden
Plant alfalfa and peanuts every so often. These plants help a symbiosis form with the nitrogen in the soil which fixes the bacteria rhizobia in the soil.
It is also a good idea to develop alternative irrigation methods for your garden. You do not want to turn on the tap every time you need to water your plants. Consider creating a cistern system to collect rainwater which can be used to water your garden.
Recycle waste and previous crops as a means of fertilizing your soil. Build a compost heap and throw in all your vegetables and fruit peels. You can add eggshells and other food scraps that you normally throw out. Composting is a great way to raise organic fruits and vegetables and help you stay self-sustaining. Using compost will also save you a great deal in fertilizers.
When deciding on your crops, keep polyculture in mind. Growing a variety of vegetables and plants helps reduce pest problems and diseases. This way, if one of your crops is ruined by disease or pests, the rest of your crops can still be harvested. You will also help create a natural habitat for pest-eating birds and insects.
Speaking of insects, use insects and worms to do some of the work in your garden. There are certain plant species which attract the beneficial insects, including coriander, amaranthus, dill, cosmos, parsley and lemon balm. Adding worms to your garden is also a good idea. Worm castings help provide beneficial fungi and bacteria to the soil making plants thrive.
Benefits Of Urban Farming
Besides the obvious benefit of providing fresh fruits and vegetables, urban farms provide a number of other advantages. Instead of having to travel to a farm to buy fresh produce, you can walk outside and pick your own. It is also very relaxing to garden and you can sell any extra produce to your friends and neighbors. Urban farming can provide fresh produce no matter where you live or how much space you have.