Special Guest Post by Mike Lieberman
A lot of the information out there when it comes to gardening is geared towards homeowners or those that have lots of land. Unfortunately at this time in my life, I am neither of those
That doesn’t mean that I can’t garden and grow my own food. It just means that I have to be more creative about it.
It was the spring of 2009, when I began urban gardening. During that time, I was living in one of the least likely places to get my start – New York City. I was on the fourth floor of an apartment building in the East Village neighborhood. I don’t think that I have to tell you, but I will anyway. I didn’t have much land or space to grow.
All I had was a 2×3 fire escape, which I turned into my fire escape garden where I grew cherry tomatoes, lettuces, peppers and herbs.
In April of 2010, I moved cross country to Los Angeles where I know have a 13 x 4 balcony. In comparison to the fire escape, the space I have is huge. I call my balcony garden my balcony farm.
What have I done to maximize the little space?
One thing that I’ve been doing to keep costs down and maximize the space to to repurpose old 5-gallon good grade containers to make my own self-watering containers. I’ve also used soda bottles to make hanging planters.
Once you have all the tools, making a self-watering container is cheap and easy. It’ll cost around $3.00 or less.
A self-watering container is made up of two containers. The reservoir and the planting containers.
Inside of the reservoir container a wicking basket is placed. I usually use a half pound deli container that has holes drilled around it. You could also use an old cotton shirt as well.
Here is a video of how to make your own self watering container:
Soda Bottle Hanging Planters
On my fire escape I had very limited space and had to get really creative, so I used the soda bottles and hung them from the hand rails. I was able to line the railings with about 10 soda bottles to grow mint, oregano, basil and lettuces.
To make, the bottom portion of the bottle was cut-off and holes were punched to hang the planters from the railings. A small hole was drilled into the cap to allow for drainage.
Here’s a more in depth instructions on how to make your own soda bottle hanging planter.
These aren’t the prettiest of options, but you can certainly decorate them to suit your needs and pretty them up. If you aren’t into the DIY thing, there are several products that do the same thing and accomplish the same results.
Living in an apartment and having little space shouldn’t be an excuse to prevent you from growing some of your own food. Growing one herb or vegetable will make a difference for you and for the environment.
Through his blog UrbanOrganicGardener.com and social media, Mike Lieberman shares his expertise on urban gardening, green living and real food. He inspires others to start growing their own food and believes that growing just one herb or vegetable will make a difference. It will help to cut back the intensive resources that go into the production and transport of food to our plates. It will also help us to re-establish our connection with food that we’ve lost over the past few years. We are humans. We grow food. Connect with Mike on his blog, Twitter or Facebook.