The world we live in is becoming increasingly urbanized. For the first time in history, there are more people living in cities than in the surrounding rural areas. This means there is limited space for each person in these urban areas.
However, people are taking back their space and realizing the benefits (personal and environmental) of urban gardening. So, whether you have a small high-rise apartment or a townhouse with a small backyard, you have to adapt your gardening style to fit as many plants in the small spaces you’re allotted. Using various tools and techniques, you can overcome these limitations to grow healthy, successful gardens.
The use of hanging pots is probably the easiest way to make room for more plants in your garden. You can grow your traditional garden in the ground or in containers on the ground and then have more plants growing in hanging pots above. They can be hung from fences, posts, ceilings and basically anywhere else you can stick a hook.
The benefit of using hanging pots, besides gaining space, is that you can keep your plants away from some ground pests like rabbits and mice. Hanging houseplants also helps keep your home less cluttered and keeps your plants out of the reach of pets and small children. Hanging pots are best suited for small to medium plants like dwarf tomatoes, peppers, herbs, beans, spider plants, English ivy, etc.
Stakes, trellises, and bending
Another way to make more space in your garden is to utilize gardening techniques like bending. Bending involves manipulating the growth of a plant to your will. You have to start when the plant is young and easy to bend. This is mostly done for indoor gardens that have limited height space. By bending and tying down plants that would grow tall, such as tomatoes, you can fit more in your space.
Stakes and trellises can also be used fit more plants in your garden. Many plants such as squash, beans, pumpkins and melons grow like vines on the ground. These plants can be forced to grow vertically up a stake or trellis instead of horizontally on the ground, leaving more room for other plants. It also allows more light to reach the plants on the ground.
Tower and tiered gardens
Tower and tiered gardens are another great way to incorporate vertical garden space. Tower gardens are tall cylindrical or cubed gardens that have slots at various angles and heights for smaller plants to fit in, thus making efficient use of all garden space. Tower gardens can be used to grow hydroponically or to houseplants in pots.
Tiered gardens consist of shelves stacked at different heights and depths like steps to a stairs. This makes use of vertical garden space and keeps your plants from shading each other.
Gravity-fed hydroponic systems
Many developing countries are taking advantage of gravity-fed hydroponic systems (GFHS). These systems take advantage of exterior home walls that receive the most light. GFHS can be made from troughs, bags, PVC, etc., each fitted to hold small plants like salad greens, miniature strawberries and herbs.
Each row of troughs or bags will have a gradual decline so that when the hydroponic solution is pumped to the highest level it will be circulated by gravity through each level until it reaches the reservoir to be recirculated again. These systems are extremely efficient and make use of space otherwise unused for gardening.
As populations in cities continue to grow, more people are taking advantage of space-saving gardening methods. You too can double and triple the output of your garden space with a little innovation and hard work.