Home Gardening Micro gardening: Cultivating greenery in every space

Micro gardening: Cultivating greenery in every space

by Tania Griffin

There’s a gardener in everyone, and a garden waiting to take root in every space this spring.

Gardeners everywhere are returning to sow and plant, but what to do if you don’t have a large soil-and-lawn garden yet feel the spirit of the season stirring in your heart?

Gardening has never really gone out of fashion, but its popularity is at an all-time high. In the fast-paced modern age, characterised by digital interactions and urban living, gardening offers a welcome respite. Gardeners will tell you that gardening is relaxing and therapeutic, and scientific studies confirm the physical and mental health benefits – proof that gardening really is good for you.

The best part, however, is that getting into gardening has never been easier, no matter your level of experience or the space you have available.

Kitchen gardens

Traditionally, a kitchen garden refers to an area in the garden set aside for growing food crops such as vegetables, fruits and herbs. However, if you don’t have an outside garden, let alone one big enough for a dedicated food-growing space, you can make a garden in your kitchen. Kitchens are well suited to indoor gardening, as they are usually designed to receive lots of natural light throughout the day, and watering from the kitchen sink is easy and convenient.

Popular growing options are leafy vegetables (which can be grown from scraps and waste), herbs and microgreens. Microgreens are young vegetable seedlings that can be harvested soon after sprouting and used as an extra fresh touch in salads and sandwiches. Indoor kitchen gardens can be planted in a single container placed in a windowsill, or in multiple containers placed around the kitchen wherever you have space.

Vegetable, herb and microgreen seeds can be purchased from garden centres and supermarkets, and various easy-grow options exist. Your garden centre can advise on the most suitable containers for your space as well as a flowering indoor plant to add to your food crop collection.

TOP TIP: Harvesting vegetables, herb sprigs or microgreens by hand can cause damaging rips and tears or pull up the roots of the plant. Use a specialised cutting tool when harvesting to ensure precise and clean cuts with minimal impact on your plant growth. The GARDENA MicroCutting range includes tools designed for soft leafy vegetables and hardy herb stems.

Balcony gardens

You can create a lush outdoor oasis right on your doorstep with a well-planned balcony garden. You can start small and add pot by pot throughout the season as your confidence grows and you learn what works in your particular balcony space.

Before starting, find out if your building has any rules and regulations regarding balcony gardens. There may be restrictions on hanging planters from railings and walls or guidelines for watering systems to ensure you don’t cause problems for the neighbours next to or below you. It’s also important to check in with the building manager about the weight your balcony can safely carry. Large ceramic containers filled with soil may be too heavy for your balcony, so you may have to choose smaller containers made from lighter materials.

After checking the rules and regulations, you should take note of the wind, sun and shade your balcony receives. Set aside a day when you are at home and pay careful attention to the following:

• Where does the sunlight fall on your balcony?

• How many hours of sunlight does your balcony receive?

• What time of day does it receive sunlight?

• How hot is it on the balcony?

Visit your garden centre armed with this information to ensure you get the best recommendations for plants suited to these conditions.

TOP TIP: Maximising space is crucial in a balcony garden. Planting vertically is one way of doing this. The GARDENA NatureUp range includes lightweight planters that can be assembled in different configurations along a wall or in a corner space. NatureUp planters can stand on the floor or be mounted against a wall.

Townhouse gardens

Some people feel that townhouse gardens are too small to enjoy, while those who believe they don’t have green fingers find the size already too daunting. If you live in a townhouse complex with a courtyard-type garden or small backyard garden that you have been avoiding, this is the year to get outside and claim that space.

Layout of a small garden space is often the biggest obstacle to getting started, especially if you want to balance your planting space with outdoor entertainment and leisure space. Thankfully, the Internet abounds with clever ideas suited to different lifestyles, aesthetic preferences and maintenance requirements.

An important factor to consider in your planning is irrigation. Dragging splashing hosepipes across a small area isn’t ideal and the wrong type of sprinkler may trap you inside. Precision irrigation is best to prevent your outdoor area from being unnecessarily soaked.

TOP TIP: Choose an irrigation system that can be permanently installed and delivers water directly where it is needed. The GARDENA Micro-Drip-System is a water-smart irrigation option that can be easily connected to your outdoor tap and extended all around your garden space. The system can be automated and can run while you sit outside and soak up the sun.

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