Whether you live in a rural setting or an urban metropolis, making a productive fruit and vegetable garden can be easier than you think. From small vertical herb gardens and edible areas through to full-scale production, people are increasingly learning to grow their own food regardless of their location. Whether you're concerned about sustainable food production or simply want access to the freshest produce available, perhaps it's time to escape the bright lights of your local supermarket and get your hands back into the dirt.
In the past, gardening and farming practices were generally associated with the countryside, with the majority of food production coming from a few well defined geographical areas. Times are changing, however, with both commercial farms and hobby gardens more likely to spring up in urban areas. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), roughly 15 percent of the world's food supply is now grown in urban areas, so why not join the revolution and become a producer as well as a consumer.
Growing your own fruit and veg can be easier than you think; all you need is a viable location and some good old fashioned hard work. According to Andy Sutherland from Eden Gardens at North Ryde, “A successful veggie garden needs a certain level of light... That’s the main criteria." While not all properties are ideal, even people in small houses and apartments can grow food if they get creative. Vertical gardens, gutter gardens, wall gardens, and wine crates all offer great planting solutions, the trick is to work with the limitations of your property while also utilising collective resources like community plots.
For people without the time and land to sustain fully developed vegetable gardens, edible areas are a great solution. Normally designed around existing garden features, an edible section of a garden allows people to grow things like herbs, leafy greens, and chilly plants with ease. By incorporating edible plants with existing ornamentals, anyone can become a food producer and enjoy the taste and nutritional benefits of fresh produce. Vertical gardens are another growing trend, with edible garden walls not only fresh and tasty but also a stylish and spectacular addition to any home.
Old re-purposed gutters can be suspended in rows to create great vertical gardens, literally allowing you to create planting space from thin air. Shipping pallets also offer a great planting surface, especially for herbs, leafy greens, and other plants that don't require much soil. If deeper soil is required and you don't have the room for a dedicated vegetable plot, deep plant pots, wine crates, and even old tyres can be used to great effect. Hydroponic gardens are another great solution for urban environments, although more homework is required if you choose to go down this route.
Because growing food is such an important life skill, lots of families choose to involve their kids by approaching gardening as a recreational and educational activity. While you do need to do some work if you want your garden to be successful, you may be surprised just how little effort is needed to grow your own food at home. At the end of the day, it's all about making a garden that suits your lifestyle, whether than means a large plot designed for self-sufficiency or a small group of pots in the corner.