Before you know it, your urban oasis will be bursting with wholesome produce and you’ll wonder why you waited so long to start growing your own food.
When people envision a thriving vegetable garden, they often picture a pastoral scene, far out in the country behind a picket fence. Rarely does the first image that comes to mind appear as pots on a balcony, a collection of various-sized containers on a patio closely neighbored by other buildings, or a postage-stamp-sized backyard stuffed with plants in every little nook.
However, even in the city, if you have a little bit of outdoor space, you can grow some of your own food. The rewards are many!
Why Should You Grow Food in the City?
One of the greatest aspects of growing your own vegetables is knowing that you are growing food that is pesticide-free and high in nutrition.
That produce at the store isn’t nearly as nutritious (or tasty) as what you grow in your own backyard. Why? Because it’s harvested well before it’s actually ripe so that it can have a long enough shelf-life to reach your grocer’s location. The longer you can keep the vegetable on the vine or growing in the soil, the more nutrient-rich that vegetable will be. Vegetables start losing nutrients as soon as they’re harvested, and quality diminishes as natural sugars are turned into starches.
For the tastiest veggies with the best nutrition, try growing a few of these nutrient-dense foods in your own garden. Many of these superfoods can be grown in containers, so even if you don’t have a lot of garden space, you can still enjoy the thrills that gardening brings.
Never forget the positive effects of gardening on your mood – it’s nearly as important as the bounty you’ll bring in. A bit of sunshine, green plants, the smell of the soil, and some fresh air on a daily basis is good for the soul, particularly if you spend most of your day roaming a concrete jungle.
Grow These 10 Veggies in Your Urban Garden
Some vegetables will work better in a small urban garden than others. All of the vegetables on this list were selected because they can be grown in containers or sown into the ground, depending on your situation.
How to grow
Plant seeds in mid to late summer to be ready for the fall harvest. Broccoli thrives in full sun and well‐drained soil. This variety of broccoli has a tendency to give yields from side shoots past its first harvest and can handle light frost with no problem. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable full of phytonutrients and antioxidants, as well as vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, and B‐complex vitamins.
Start: For spring harvest, start indoors 4‐6 weeks before the last frost. For fall harvest, start indoors 2-3 months before the first frost. Transplant into your garden when the plants are 3″ tall and the root systems are established.
Plant: Sow seeds in ¼” soil. Plants prefer full sun with 15‐18” of space between each plant.
Container instructions: If you are growing your broccoli in containers, be sure that it is at least 18-inch diameter and a minimum of 3 gallons in size. Broccoli requires a container with good drainage. Only put one plant in each container, as they require lots of room to grow. Use a light soil.