By Judith Hayes Copyright 2013
In the past few years the popularity of urban gardening has increased three-fold. Concerns over food safety and retail prices have driven this increase. People are recognizing the very best food is organic and home-grown. Imagine the pleasure of going home after work and picking a fresh salad for dinner. It´s happening everywhere and it can happen on your patio, rooftop or in your yard.
Tomatoes are the favorite plant to grow and no tomato can match the flavor or health-enhancing nutrients of an organic grown tomato. It´s exciting to know this fantastic and delicious food can be grown on a balcony, in a high rise apartment window or in a small yard space. Creative urban gardeners can enjoy the delicious organic tomato all summer and into the fall by following a few simple steps.
To grow a truly organic tomato, the seed must be organic. There are some excellent sources for organic seeds. Two very popular companies have online sites. Johnny´s Selected Seeds of Maine, an employee-owned company, offers a selection of organic seed and certified organic supplies on their website, johnnyseeds.com. Another excellent source of organic seed and supplies is American Meadows. Their website, americanmeadows.com, offers a variety of organic vegetable seeds, including the Heirloom Organic Brandywine tomato.
Seeds can be started in a small container placed in a sunny window. Follow the instructions that refer to the planting area in which you reside. This ensures that seedlings will be ready to place outside in a container when all danger of frost has passed. Be sure to use certified organic germination mix and growing medium. The OG reference on the package labeling is your guarantee the product is certified.
Urban gardeners are very creative people. They continually look for new and unusual places to plant a small garden or just a single plant. A sunny spot on a balcony or step is a perfect place for a potted tomato plant. Tomatoes require a large container with good drainage. A five gallon planter is the perfect size for most tomato plants.
Tomato plants can grow quite tall and branch out wide. Read the variety descriptions to determine which variety of tomato will best fit your space limitations. Tall stakes work best for potted tomato plants. Many gardeners recommend two stakes to support the plant and protect it from wind. It´s important to continue tying the plant to the stakes as it grows taller.
The Heirloom Moskvich, an early producer, is excellent for growing in pots as well as the Granadero plum tomato. If you are interested in a flavorful grape tomato for those summer salads, check out the Montesino. Organic seed for these tomato varieties are available from most organic seed suppliers.
Window boxes make great planters for the many wonderful varieties of organic lettuce that are available. To have a continuous supply of crispy lettuce all summer, stagger the planting of seed in window boxes or long narrow planters. Seed one planter and wait about 10 days to two weeks before planting the next group of seeds in another planter. Check your seed packet information to determine the germination time for the variety of lettuce planted. Use as many planters as necessary to supply your family with fresh lettuce all season.
There are several ways for the urban farmer to plant organic beans in limited space. Bush beans will grow very nicely in pots or boxes. There is no need to start seedlings for bean plants. Plant the organic seed directly in the prepared planting medium. In a three foot square planting box, place seeds about two inches apart in all directions. They will grow a thick green leaf forest, discouraging the growth of weeds. They are a prolific producer and will provide enough beans for eating fresh, as well as some for the freezer.
Other varieties of beans are excellent climbers and will produce abundant crops. A trellis or the slats in a porch railing will serve nicely as support for the vines. Garden stakes are not usually tall enough for the pole bean variety. Smaller quantities may be planted in a large pot and twine or wire, attached to a patio wall or ceiling will provide the vines a place to climb.
Cucumbers can be planted the same way beans are planted. There are several excellent bush and vining varieties. Organic Marketmore seeds produce beautiful dark green slicing cucumbers from seven to ten inches in length. If you want to transform some cucumbers into delicious crisp pickles, try the organic Double Yield cucumber. This prolific variety produces six by two inch dark green fruits which make excellent dill pickles.
A fresh herb garden can be planted in a long window box type planter for the patio or a smaller planter to keep in a sunny kitchen window. Every recipe tastes better when fresh herbs are included. Some easy to grow kitchen herbs include basil, oregano, thyme, cilantro and lemon balm. You can find certified organic seed for many varieties of herbs at abundantlifeseeds.com. Organic culinary and medicinal herb seed is available at mountainroseherbs.com
Many other vegetables can be grown in limited space. From a small piece of earth to a roof top garden, creative urban gardeners are planting organic mini-gardens in every available spot. These gardens produce an abundance of top quality food and provide families with garden fresh produce they can enjoy in their favorite recipes.
Join the urban gardening revolution by planting a single tomato plant or a patio full of vegetables. Treat yourself and your family to the healthy goodness of fresh organic produce at every meal.
Copyright 2013 Judith Hayes – Visit her website Prepared Content