The hardest part about becoming an urban gardener is making the leap from wanting and thinking about a plot in the city to actually starting one. I would know - I made a few feeble attempts over the years (note: starting from seeds takes forever, basil doesn't particularly love water, and yes, squirrels will steal everything you grow if you let them).
If you're tired of scrolling through Instagram and seeing all the gorgeous blooms from lifestyle bloggers or looking out your window and seeing the side of the next building over, read on for 3 easy steps to make your urban garden a reality this spring.
1. Know what you want to grow
Before you even google tips for starting an urban garden and how to choose the right supplies, make a list of the plants or types of plants you want to have in your garden. Which ones do you already know (snapdragons, pansies, basil, etc.)? Do you want to have flowers, herbs, or vegetables?
Making this your very first step will help the overwhelming task of creating a garden be significantly more doable.
2. Know your space
Perhaps most important is having an understanding of your space. Regardless of what you want to grow, it may be dictated by your environment. Different plants need different types of soil, hours of sunlight, and amounts of water. The amount of water and type of soil can be readily fixed in an urban garden, so really, you just need to know how many hours each day your garden area receives direct or indirect sunlight. This will have the greatest impact on the plants you can successfully grow in your garden. So, take the list you made of the plants you know, and would like to grow, and see if they work best with partial or full sun.
Of course, not all of us living in the city are lucky enough to have outdoor space - not even a fire escape! In these instances, I'm sorry, I've been there. But don't worry, a sunny windowsill can still work great, as does investing in a grow light and a hydroponic indoor plant system.
3. Start small
If you're just getting started with gardening, don't try to tackle it all at once - start with two or three plants, get them under your belt and growing strong before expanding your garden. I know, I know, it's so tempting to make a huge trip to Home Depot or make an order online, but less really is more when you're first digging in.
Keeping in mind the different needs of each plant, you want to make sure you have enough resources to ensure all the plants grow strong and bloom. For example, if you only have one corner of shade, you don't to make that big trip and come home with enough plants to fill half your outdoor space that all want partial sun. You won't be able to give all of them what they need.
Sometimes none of the above matters, and the hardest part is simply starting. That's okay. It's natural for hobbies to fall on the priority list when life gets hectic. But when you're ready to start planting, don't let the millions of options of pots, plants, different soils, fertilizers, gardening gloves, trellises, etc. bog you down (read: avoid the online browsing trap!). Pick the first pot you see that you like, bring home the plants you're familiar with/that will grow well with the amount sunlight you have, and begin.
As Janet Kilburn Phillips once said, "There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments."