BY PATRICIA BIANCA S. TACULAO
Growing food in urban areas has become popular due to the threat of food insecurity. Because of this, coupled with rising market prices, many people found it practical and fulfilling to grow their food in the comfort of their homes.
Two urban gardening approaches widely used by urban gardeners are container and vertical gardening. Through both methods, urban gardeners get to grow food and minimize waste in the environment through recycling.
Aspiring gardeners can start their urban gardening venture using either of these two methods. The initial requirements that they need to consider are the containers and the soil medium to grow their plants in.
Making the containers
When creating a container or vertical garden, urban gardeners use plastic bottles or containers which are abundant and versatile. The containers are cleaned and sliced in half to create makeshift pots.
It’s important to note that when using these plastic containers as planters, they shouldn’t have been used to hold any harmful chemicals which could react to the plastic or seep into the soil when it’s added.
Holes are added to the bottom of the parts to create a drainage system to keep the plants or seeds from drowning in too much water.
Gardeners can be creative and add paint or other decorations to the makeshift pots to add a visual appeal to their garden.
Plastic containers aren’t the only mediums that urban gardeners can use. Ceramic pots, tin cans, or old shoes can be used as well, depending on the availability of materials and the gardener’s imagination.
Working on the soil
Once the containers have been secured, it’s time to move on to the soil. Since container and vertical gardens are usually created due to the lack of space and the right soil to grow crops, urban gardeners either buy ready-made garden soil or make their own using different components.
The ideal ratio of soil is composed of loam soil, vermicast, and carbonized rice hull, with a ratio of 1:1:1. Mix the soil well before transferring it into the planters.
Next, plant the seeds into the soil and place the containers in a bright, sunny area, or according to the plant’s preferences.
Container vs. vertical gardening
The concept behind container and vertical gardening are somewhat similar: both use small containers as planters where gardeners can grow food in the city. But there’s a slight difference between the two.
Unlike container gardening where plants can be placed in several areas around a home, vertical gardening uses hanging planters which are usually attached to a wall or a similar surface. The planters are also placed in areas that receive full sunlight to promote plant growth.
Whether through container or vertical gardening, urban gardeners can grow food in their homes without having to worry about space. Not only will they be able to save a significant amount of money which usually goes to buying produce from the market, but they’ll also feel satisfied in knowing that they grew fresh produce naturally.
These tips were discussed in AgriTalk’s 2 Easy Learning Video Series which focuses on instructional guides to urban agriculture technologies, organic fertilizers and pesticides, as well as the production of fast crops. The series is held in partnership with the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Training Center (DA-ATI) and Manila Bulletin’s Agriculture Online.