June 28, 2011 • In web :: D.I.Y.
If you have little outdoor space but want to grow a garden, have no fear. Our writer shows you how to make a D.I.Y. planter for your home when space is a premium.
Many of us are concerned about food security and where our food is coming from. Much of the world's food is imported and exported, and big factory farms consistently use only a few different varieties of seeds, which leads to far less biodiversity overall. This means that we are risking losing important heritage varieties of fruits and veggies.
Some of the best ways to combat these huge issues is to ease our reliance on the imported food system by supporting local farmers wherever possible and also by growing your own food. Finding heritage seeds/seedlings and saving your own seeds is also an awesome thing to do too (After a year or two you'll be able to have a completely self supported garden. Even better is contributing to a local seed exchange so you can share with friends or neighbours and have the advantage of trying the things they have grown in your garden as well.)
Sometimes, if you live in a city though, gardening can be difficult. Space is always at a premium and many people may not even have a patch of ground that they can call their own. Fear not though! There are many options for urban gardening. Many cities have community gardens that you can join. These can work in lots of different ways. Some gardens may provide you with a small patch of land in a local public space that you can take full responsibility for. Others may have a shared space and the gardeners take turns taking responsibility for it and share the harvest at the end of the summer. Other community gardens may work by asking landowners (read:people with houses and backyards) to share their space with someone who doesn't have one to garden together and share the harvest. Even if any of those options don't work you can still garden successfully in small outdoor spaces like decks and balconies that many apartments have.
This year for the first time in my life I found myself an avid gardener with no backyard to call my own to garden in. I started connecting with community gardens and became determined to find a way to fit urban gardening into my hugely busy life. I only have a tiny little balcony off my bedroom (It's 63" x 63") so I wasn't working with a lot of space, nor a lot of time. Enter the idea of sub-irrigation planters. They are easy to make -- the first one took me about 90 minutes, but as I got it figured out I easily halved that time, and the bonus of them is that they are self-watering. The water is stored in a tank underneath the plant and it encourages the plants to grow stronger roots and grow better overall, because of their consistent access to water rather than depending on me to have time to water my plants. Basically, you build the planter, plant your plants, pour in a bucket of water and let the sun do it's job.