Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Gardening without a Garden

Sometimes living in the city means you have to be a little creative and a little pushy about growing a garden. Just because you don't have a big yard or a yard at all doesn't mean you can't grow your favorite strawberries-somewhere else. Here's a few ways around this urban plight:

Muscle your way into your friend's yard. This works well esp if your friend doesn't have a green thumb and is a workaholic-he/she will be more than happy to have some vegetable beds miraculously appearing overnight. Make sure, however, that you are going to follow through with your gardening if you don't want to alienate your friend. If you dig a big hole in their yard and then disappear for months on end you may have lost a garden and a friend. Same goes with family...

Community gardening. Being more of a lone wolf and a micro-manager, I've not actually done the whole community garden thing. There are a ton of them around Portland and they often have a long waiting list to get a plot; however, it can be a great way to grow vegetables if you don't have good sun in your yard or if you don't have a yard at all. That is if you don't mind being subjected to vegetable and fruit thievery and unsolicited conversations with the local crazy lady who cultivates a mono crop of wintering kale in the summertime.

Courtyard gardening. If you live in a condo or an apartment building see if you can throw your weight around, fire the mow and blow team and take up the maintenance yourself. If you choose to do this realize that you share this space and keep the planting in harmony with the style and age of the building. Hire a designer if you don't feel comfortable with choosing the right plants and see if the board or the landlord will pay for it. Start a gardening committee and make someone else dig the holes for you.

Tiny space gardening. Do container gardening and hanging plants if all you have is a balcony or a porch with steps. Use your window sills. Bonsai-style gardening works too if you like spending time pruning. Grow vines against a wall or train an espalier.

And save up your money for that lush country house you keep dreaming about...

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