Category: Gardening Tutorials

How To Grow Food For Free In The City

You live in an urban setting, you’re on a tight budget, and space is limited: How do you overcome all these limiting factors to grow your own food? Well, Rob Greenfield has a handful of low-cost ideas for how to grow food for free in the city that he shares in this informative YouTube video. Below is a recap of the topics he covers:

• Repurposing Items (Using any container available): Be creative in making the most of available resources — while ensuring you have the least environmental impact. The goal is to build raised gardens that allow you to effectively grow food anywhere.

• Vertical gardening: Part of being creativity he promotes involves vertical gardening to make the most of the available real estate.

• Composting: Contrary to popular opinion, making a compost bin or composting is not complicated. Anything from paper waste, yard waste, and kitchen waste suffice as ingredients in your compost bin. But as Rob Greenfield explains, ensure you maintain a 30:1 carbon (e.g., cardboards and dried leaves) to nitrogen (decomposing green matter) ratio. Also, keep some cardboard for mulch to stunt the growth of weeds and preserve moisture in the soil.

• Water Source: Using your tap water for irrigation is a sure way to rack up huge utility bills. There may even be restrictions on this in some locations. Instead, install gutters on the roof and collect rainwater into barrels. You can also recycle water from household uses such as your washing machine, showering, or dishwashing.

• Seeds: To quote Rob, “a little bit of seed goes a long way.” Some ways to acquire seeds for cheap include allowing some plants to mature or sourcing from the local community. And if you’re not successful in either of these methods, Rob offers free seeds to help your self-sufficiency efforts.

All in all, there’s something liberating about growing food for free, building resilience, and promoting sustainability.

How To Grow Food For Free In The City
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What Happens When You Use Ash in the Garden?

That pile of wood ash that characterizes your cold winter months: don’t be quick to shovel it out from your wood stove or fireplace! According to this video tutorial Mark from Self Sufficient Me, it can help promote soil amendments in your home garden. Using ash in the garden is part of nature’s recycling system — as evidenced by the thriving vegetation that succeeds bush fires.

The appeal of ash in promoting plant growth stems from its nutrient concentration. Although wood ash doesn’t contain nitrogen like decomposed parts of green plants, it is rich in elements that are essential for plant growth — including boron, calcium, potassium, and phosphorous. It is part of the natural cycle of soil fertility.

Another benefit of using ash in the garden is its impact on the pH level of the soil. As an alkaline substance, it raises the pH of the soil—similar to lime. (PS: Wood ash changes the pH of soil rapidly since it is water-soluble). But keep in mind that using wood ash as a way to raise soil pH is only applicable for acidic soils (below 5.5).

Raising the pH too high (above 7.0) may hinder the ability of plants to absorb nutrients—hence stunting their growth or even kill them. You should also avoid using wood ash on acid-loving plants such as Azaleas, Holly, Rhododendrons, and Blueberries. As a bonus, a fine layer of wood ash can be used to smother aphids on infested plants or repel snails / slugs.

Tips: It’s important to use ash from wood sources that are free of preservative (and treated lumber should not be burned, for the same reason – highly toxic fumes!) Remember to monitor the amount of ash you use relative to the prevailing soil pH level.

What Happens When You Use Ash In The Garden
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How To Build The Perfect Share Garden

Building your own garden doesn’t have to a daunting undertaking! With the right garden design, tricks, and tips, you can craft a stunning organic sanctuary in your outdoor space within a short period. Just ask Adam Dovile and Jason Hodges from Great Home Ideas.

As shown in this YouTube video, the duo of DIY enthusiasts demonstrate how to build a share garden – helping a couple turn an uninspiring, desolate backyard into a serene outdoor space — complete with a grass lawn, raised beds, herbs, and even an outdoor living area. Whether you want a personal kitchen garden to feed a small family or a shared garden to serve a community/neighborhood, you can do it! Start by thinking about what you want from your garden and the available space.

You can research and find some patio decorations, unique gardening ideas, and creative planters to make the most of your petite patch of real estate. The underlying aim to create something you’ll be proud of; something that is functional enough to sustain you, and something that spruces up the aesthetic appeal of your property. You could consider setting up a pleasant spot — complete with rustic garden furniture — to soak some sun during warmer months.

And as Marina and Alan demonstrated in the video, a DIY share garden is the perfect way to drive up the value of your property. The couple built a granny flat and rented out their main house to bring down mortgage costs. The shared garden definitely creates a sociable common area — and we can learn a thing or two from them.

How To Build The Perfect Share Garden
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