Create an Urban Garden

May is here, and it’s the week between the Kentucky Derby and Mother’s Day. For many this means it’s time to start planting! I was at Lowe’s this weekend, and the outdoor section was packed with shoppers purchasing annuals and perennials to spruce up their homes. Many are already anticipating the harvest from their garden this year. A gardener will promise you there’s nothing like the taste of fresh vegetables!

If you have the time and space, a larger garden can be a blessing to your family. Often times, owners don’t have the space to till a large garden, or the time and dedication needed to maintain one. If this sounds like you, there are other options available. Consider planting an urban garden!

To create an urban garden, you’ll first need to decide where it will be. Do you have a small space you can designate in your backyard? If you don’t have the yard space, you can utilize your patio, balcony or rooftop. Once you’ve chosen your spot, track the natural sunlight at your chosen area. You’ll need to know how many hours of direct sunlight will hit your spot. This will influence what you will be able to grow successfully there. Ideally, your spot should receive six to eight hours of sunlight a day.

Once you’ve selected the spot for your urban garden, evaluate what type of container will work best. Raised garden beds can be a great addition to your outdoor space, but only if you have the room. A few two by fours will create the perfect home for your new garden. Another great option is to use large planting pots, or even a five gallon bucket. The main thing is that your container has the ability to drain water off of your plants. For tight spaces, the best option may be to grow your vegetables in a hanging container. A simple hanging basket will let plants that vine grow nicely! To create a work of art, think outside of the box and plant in something like an older rain boot. All you need is six to twelve inches of soil with proper drainage, and you'll be growing fresh veggies and herbs in no time.

Next decide what vegetables or herbs you would use the most. According to the Almanac planting calendar, May is a good time to plant basil, beans, blueberries, carrots, corn, cucumbers, onions, peas, peppers, tomatoes and zucchini. Visit The Old Farmer’s Almanac to see the full planting and harvesting calendar for Louisville, KY. Once you’ve decided what you’d like to plant, it’s time to hit the store to purchase your seedlings. Don’t forget to pick up planting soil for each of your containers. Organic granulated fertilizer will break down quickly and help to nourish your starter plants.  After you've planted your start plants, don't forget to water daily.

An urban garden will add to your outdoor space as well as your kitchen table. They’re a great addition and can be a great teaching moment for your little ones.  If you’d like to start one, but it still seems like a little too much, look for a community garden to join this year. Then you’ll be ready to create your own urban garden before next spring even hits!

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