Living in an urban center can provide specific challenges to maintaining a garden, but – truthfully – it is a fairly simple process and the rewards far outweigh the hurdles. In most cases, urban gardeners’ greatest enemy is space. Window boxes and pots are traditional options, but this year we have installed a system of Woolly Pockets in order to create a vertical garden. This has allowed us to reserve what little space we have in our flower beds for simple plantings and the wall-mounted location makes our job of harvesting easier while the squirrels’ job of digging a little more difficult.
A few suggestions for keeping a simple and healthy herb garden:
Go organic. The notion that organic means prohibitively expensive is less often the case as more people migrate back to natural (unaltered) produce. Find a local purveyor of established plants or seeds and develop a relationship with them. See if you can find heirloom varietals for added interest and to help encourage the preservation of ancient seeds. Try to find organic potting soil or a 50/50 mix of organic soil and compost. Your body and the environment will thank you.
Equip yourself with decent tools. One of our mantras at Archer is buy it once. buy it for life. Over and over again we have found that it pays to purchase a better quality product the first time around instead of falling into the discouraging (and wasteful) cycle of repeatedly replacing cheap goods. A few simple tools are all you need to tend to a small kitchen garden; we carry a carefully curated selection of well-made tools and accessories for the urban garden that you can browse by clicking here.
Keep it simple. Growing your own food is exciting and rewarding and it is easy to get carried away and buy a bunch of plants that you may or may not need. Make a list ahead of time and base it off recipes you make often. If you roast lamb or chicken regularly, make sure you have rosemary, thyme and oregano on hand. Fish lover? Dill, chives and cilantro are good choices. If you are a pasta person, keep plenty of fresh basil on hand. There’s nothing like fresh pesto from scratch and now is the time to enjoy it (you can find an excellent recipe here).
TIP: Try your hand at growing your own garlic; not only is it useful for all kinds of recipes, it is a natural pest deterrent and – by companion planting it with your other herbs and vegetables – it will help shoo away any unwelcome visitors to your garden.
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