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Urban farming: How to grow food in small spaces

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Cultivar tu propia comida, cosecha, remolacha, urbano, jardín, cultivo de alimentos- harvesting, beets, urban, garden, growing food
Growing your own food (Photo: Shutterstock)
  • Embrace growing your own food.
  • It’s health and economical.
  • Urban farming is easier than you think.

Urban farming has emerged as a popular way to grow fresh produce in small spaces, offering city dwellers a chance to connect with nature and cultivate their own food.

Whether you have a tiny balcony, a windowsill or a small backyard, there are numerous ways to create a thriving urban garden.

We will guide you through the basics of urban farming, providing practical tips and techniques for growing food in limited spaces.

Before you continue reading, we invite you to listen to the new La Entrevista con Alonso Bañuelas podcast by clicking HERE.


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Choosing the right plants for your space

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Photo: Shutterstock

Selecting the right plants is crucial when it comes to growing your own food.

It’s important to consider the amount of sunlight your space receives, as this will determine which plants will thrive in your environment.

Herbs like basil, cilantro, and mint are great for beginners and can grow well on windowsills with moderate sunlight.

For balconies or small yards, consider compact vegetable varieties like cherry tomatoes, lettuce and peppers, which don’t require much room to flourish.

Growing your own food: Container gardening essentials

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Container gardening is a cornerstone of urban farming, allowing you to grow plants in a variety of vessels, from pots and planters to hanging baskets.

The key to successful container gardening is choosing containers with adequate drainage to prevent waterlogging, which can harm plant roots.

Selecting the right soil mix is also essential  — a high-quality potting mix will provide the necessary nutrients and aeration for your plants.

Remember to water your container plants regularly, as they dry out faster than those in the ground, but avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot.

Maximizing space with vertical gardening

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Vertical gardening is an innovative solution for urban farmers with limited space, allowing you to grow plants upward instead of outward.

This method involves using structures like trellises, shelves, or wall-mounted planters to maximize your growing area vertically.

Climbing plants such as beans, peas and certain types of squash are well-suited for vertical gardening, as are most herbs.

Not only does vertical gardening save space, but it also adds an aesthetic element to your urban garden, creating a lush, green environment in a small area.

Utilizing hydroponics and aquaponics

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Hydroponics and aquaponics are soil-less gardening methods that can be extremely effective for growing your own food.

Hydroponics involves growing plants in a nutrient-rich water solution, allowing for greater control over the growing environment and often resulting in faster plant growth.

Aquaponics combines hydroponics with fish farming, where the waste produced by fish provides nutrients for the plants, creating a sustainable ecosystem.

These methods can be more complex to set up initially but offer a unique and efficient way to grow food in areas where traditional gardening is not possible.

Composting in small spaces

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Composting is a valuable practice for urban farmers, turning kitchen scraps and plant waste into nutrient-rich soil for your garden.

Even in small spaces, you can compost using methods like worm composting or bokashi, both of which are suitable for indoor use and produce compost relatively quickly.

Composting not only reduces household waste but also enriches your soil, leading to healthier and more productive plants.

By incorporating composting into your urban farming routine, you can create a more sustainable and self-sufficient gardening system.

Balcony gardening tips

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For those with balconies, creating a productive garden space requires a bit of planning and creativity.

Choose lightweight containers and ensure your balcony can support their weight, especially when filled with soil and water.

Utilize railing planters and hanging baskets to make the most of your available space, and consider a small folding table or shelves for additional planting areas.

Balcony gardens can provide a surprising amount of produce, offering a fresh supply of herbs, vegetables and even small fruits right outside your door.

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