City life doesn’t involve too many private landscaping ideas. As a rule, there are no lawns to care for and it’s easy to throw a deck chair on the balcony, hang a potted philodendron, and call it a garden!
In an age where many people like to grow their own food and turn away from factory farmed produce with its pesticides and genetic engineering, it’s nice to be able to grow your own salad fixings.
Some basic vegetables will grow nicely in a pot. Many varieties of tomatoes do not need a plot of land to grow – all they need is some soil in a pot, a sunny patch of concrete to rest on, and a stake or a trellis to support the stalk. Ditto for peppers, beans, spinach, and even some vine vegetables like cucumbers.
The bigger the pot, the better. A bigger pot will hold more moisture, which means you have to water it less. A pot that’s a good foot deep and about 10 inches across, at the top, is usually ideal. And if the sun is relentless on your rooftop, the best landscaping ideas are carts with wheels – you can roll your plants to and from sunny and shady patches.
Dark pots might get too warm for many plants’ root systems, especially on a rooftop garden where the sun beats all day. Clay pots, which are porous, may not hold enough moisture to keep from drying out. Wooden pots are usually treated with chemicals that will leach into the soil. A basic, white plastic pot is probably the best choice for growing vegetables, and it’s probably the cheapest kind, too. Don’t think fancy or particularly decoratively – think practically. Your landscaping ideas can come directly from the bargain aisle of the garden store.
Even root vegetables will fare well in pots. Radishes, carrots, and beets will grow on a rooftop and never know that they’re not deep in the hills of a rolling countryside.
How will you know when it’s time to pick your vegetables and make your salads? You can pretty much use your judgment – when the vegetables look like you’d want to eat them, then you can. If you’re torn between picking a vegetable early or waiting, err on the side of early. Most plants will grow more vegetables faster if they are harvested early and often.
If you don’t get to the roof as often as you’d like, especially when it comes to nurturing the early stages of plant life, then you can begin your landscaping ideas in your own kitchen. A lot of vegetables do well when they are transplanted from small, countertop containers to large ones on the roof. Broccoli, cabbage, and eggplant can all be transplanted well. Green beans, onions, and peas, however, should not.
The city dweller can eat as naturally and as proudly as the country farmer.
What about you? Do you have a garden or plan to start one?