The Urban Gardener: How to Use Tech to Raise Healthy Food in the City
The gardening programs make everything look so easy. They have huge open spaces to grow row upon row of healthy looking vegetables. But in the real world, it is never so straightforward. For one thing, a lot of us live in an urban environment where the soil, the air, and the light leave a lot to be desired. Don’t despair; technology can come to your aid.
Having the Space
The first thing you are likely to be short of is space. Begin your garden by taking a good look at every available space to grow your vegetables and fruit. That may mean a courtyard, a balcony, a flat roof, or windowsills. A garden planner app can help you to get started, even with the smallest of space.
Remember that all plants, but especially productive ones, need light and warmth. Plan your spaces around those requirements.
Take No Chances
With a big garden, you can get a good return by putting in loads of stuff and hoping that enough of it reaches maturity. With limited space, you want everything to come up at its best so that no growing surface is working at less than its optimum productivity.
A great way to start off is to use a propagator on the windowsill. Sow your seeds here and you are not only able to keep a close eye on everything that is happening, but you are also rewarded with the incomparable pleasure of witnessing the first shoots tentatively emerging. This way you will not forget to look after them and you will be able to pick out the strongest looking seedlings to plant out. If you really want to make the most of a propagator, try a heated one.
Light and Warmth
With outdoor plants in a yard or in window boxes, you will rely on the weather to provide most of the requirements. Some plants thrive in shady conditions but not, on the whole, vegetables and fruit plants. Measure which parts of your property get the most natural sunlight, and concentrate your energy there.
It is important to put seedlings outside at the time when the temperature conditions are right. A digital outdoor thermometer, which can give you a record of maximum and minimum temperatures, will be a great help to choosing the right moment.
Indoor plants need more attention. Warmth should not be a problem unless you are going for the more exotic plants but if your window cannot offer about eight hours of direct light a day, you will need to provide some extra. Fluorescent lighting is more economical and better for most plants than incandescent lights.
Just a Start
Far too many people get enthusiastic about gardening and bite of more than they can chew, to begin with, only to give up due to disappointing results. Start small with your small space and build up a little at a time, using all the technology you can bring to your aid.