Living in the city or an apartment with limited outdoor space does not mean you can’t have a beautiful garden. Pretty flowers, succulent green plants and tasty vegetables can be grown in your city garden when space is used efficiently and creatively.
Raised-bed gardens. Ideal for patios and small yards, raised-bed gardens can be used to grow colorful and fragrant flowers or healthy vegetables. A raised-bed garden frame can be constructed from cedar timbers, recycled plastic posts or concrete blocks. These materials are readily available at home and garden centers. A raised bed usually sits about 8 inches off the ground, and its frame contains the soil. Its size will depend on your available space. For gardeners with physical limitations or restrictions, a raised-bed garden may be a good choice, as it may reduce the amount of stooping you will do when tending the garden.
Container gardens. Anyone can tend a container garden. They are versatile and perfect for the city garden. Vegetables, herbs and flowers can be grown in containers. Containers are great for balconies, patios and other limited spaces. You can move your containers to catch full sun or adjust for plants that need more shade. Leafy vegetables such as lettuce do great in containers, as do tomatoes, broccoli and eggplant. The Horticulture Department at Texas A & M University recommends using containers such as “bushel baskets, drums, gallon cans, tubs or wooden boxes.” If you are planting vegetables including tomatoes and eggplant, you will need at least a 5-gallon container.
Tabletop gardens. Tabletop gardens are a smaller version of the traditional container garden. The trick to selecting the perfect tabletop container is to choose one big enough to fit your plant but not too big for the table. If you are using the tabletop garden as a centerpiece as well, be sure your plant doesn’t obscure friends seated on the other side of the table. Good choices for tabletop gardens are herbs, micro-greens, cacti, bamboo and orchids. One advantage to a tabletop garden is virtually no weeding is ever needed.
Hydroponic gardens. Hydroponic gardening is growing plants without soil. You can grow your own soilless garden on a patio or balcony. Lettuce is one of the easiest vegetables to grow hydroponically. You can grow it in a 5-gallon container filled with nutrient-enhanced water. Depending on your plant, position your container in the sun or partial shade. Be sure to keep it out of the rain, as rainwater can dilute the nutrients you have added to the container water.