Spring is almost here and that means grass, mud, flowers and finally getting that urban garden started that you’ve been talking about. Whether you’re interested in growing edible plants, or simply want to liven up your living space, the Bradford Garden Gallery is having their annual Spring Home & Garden Show on March 16th & 17th, and you’re bound to find something helpful in their 87,000 square feet of nursery space. Bring a friend who doesn’t mind carrying all the plants you’ll somehow end up going home with…what’s one more fiddle leaf fig?
Head west of the 400 to their Springwater location and wander through their seemingly endless aisles, the high humidity making it feel as though you’ve stepped into a jungle. Suddenly your head is filled with visions of vertical gardens, repurposed pallets and eating a tomato straight from the vine on your balcony. All you’re missing is a plan of action.
Even though the price of homes in the Barrie area has gone down 5.1% since last year, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association, the average house price of nearly $500,000 is still a little out of the reach of many of us. Renters and apartment dwellers don’t have as much space or freedom to garden, and if we have a backyard, then it’s postage stamp size doesn’t lend itself well to the sprawling gardens seen on Pinterest. Let us not admit defeat though, after all we have windows and balconies and shared gardening space to take advantage of – just because your space doesn’t look it can be something, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have hidden potential.
Here are our top 5 suggestions on how to get best out of your urban garden:
- Container Gardening: no space, no problem. Container growing is a fantastic way to add some greenery into your space, and adding some nice trellis behind them suddenly starts you on the way to building a green wall. Annuals like the Black-Eyed Susan vine will love that trellis and grow quickly to cover it, fill in the bottom with a low growing plant like a Callie.
- Vertical space: Callies also love growing in a hanging basket, as do many other colourful annuals. Grab a pre-made basket at the Garden Gallery, or make your own. Taking advantage of that vertical space is vital if you’re living in a small space, and it you’re growing on a balcony, will allow your plants to see more sun during the day.
- Pallet Gardens: pallets are fairly easy to find, and just as easy to turn into a small garden (if you’re planning on growing greens or herbs to eat, make sure your pallet is untreated wood). Pallet gardens work similarly to container gardens, but have a more rustic look and use less space.
- Shared Gardens: in Barrie we have three outdoor public gardening spaces that are available to rent each growing season. They’re located in Golden Meadow Park, Sunnidale Park and Shear Park. Plots are rented annually for $20/single plots and $50/double plots. Visit the city’s website to register (be warned that these spots are snatched up in no time).
- Rooftop Gardens: the idea of a green roof, or a rooftop garden was laughable not too long ago, but nowadays more people and companies are seeing the advantages. If massive spaces like the convention center in New York that hosts Comic Con can get behind it, then you can too. Learn more about why green roofs are better for buildings, then take your pitch to your work, condo or wherever has a boring flat roof and see if you can convert them.
Urban gardening can be whatever you want it to be. It can be tomatoes and beans, flowers bursting out of hanging baskets, or a humble succulent patch – you’re the architect, you decide.