I celebrate National Gardening Week (April 30-May 6) by offering seven days of edible urban gardening ideas – when all you have is a balcony, doorstep, hanging basket or windowsill
With the threat of food shortages looming, our gardens and green spaces have never been so important when it comes to food production. In the future, growing our own fruit and veg could become a routine part of everyday life – for everyone – as much as a trip to the supermarket.
But not everyone is lucky enough to have a sprawling vegetable plot, and if you’re a city dweller with little more than a raised bed or a couple of pots, kitchen garden produce can seem a little out of reach. The solution? It’s time to take your gardening to a whole new level.
Forget conventional beds and borders – hanging baskets and window boxes can be a perfect spot for tumbling tomatoes or strawberries and cane wigwams offer space for cucumbers, squash and climbing beans. Even if you only have a balcony, a trellis set against the railings, an outside wall or even fixed as temporary shutters over the windows can provide vertical growing space.
Pallets make fabulous mini living walls if you staple-gun landscaping membrane to the back and back-fill the gaps with potting compost. Lay it on the ground to plant between the slats and leave for a few weeks so the roots can weave a tight carpet, then lean it up against a wall.
Alternatively, construct your own trellis from timber, with hanging pots attached, or fix half drainpipes to fences and walls for growing salad crops. Even flat-roofed out buildings can become high-flying horticultural havens. Use timber to create a raised bed structure on the roof, with membrane and pond liner at the base, and fill with a mix of soil and grit. Plant small herbs, peppers, cherry tomatoes and strawberries. (Just be careful how much weight you put on the structure – and consider how much wet soil might weigh, shoring it up from underneath if necessary).
There’s pots of potential in the city – even if you have a small space. Check out my projects below: