Urban Gardening: What It Is & Reasons to Try It

Even in the most densely built-up areas, garden space can be found.

Definition of Urban Gardening
Definition of Urban Gardening / Ecolife

What is urban gardening?

Urban gardening, also known as urban horticulture or urban agriculture, is the process of tending and cultivating a garden in an urban environment.

It encompasses several unique gardening concepts, including:

  • Container gardening: Common for people with small patios, yards, or balconies. Container gardening makes use of a variety of containers – buckets, old tires, raised beds, windowboxes, kiddie pools, barrels, shoes, and watering cans – for growing all manner of plants for food or beauty.
  • Indoor gardening: When no patios, decks, yards, or balconies are available, indoor gardening can also be an effective urban gardening method. Plants can be grown in containers similar to those in container gardening, as well as in indoor greenhouses or solariums (sunrooms).
  • Community gardening: This is a method of using outdoor public or private spaces to cultivate gardens for food or pleasure as a group and is a great choice for those with no yard or outdoor space.
  • Guerilla gardening: A more subversive form of urban gardening, guerilla gardening is a way of adding plants to public spaces that don’t technically belong to the gardener such as a vacant lot, median, beside a highway, or in little strips of dirt.
  • Green roofs: Roofs designed with a growing medium for the purpose of cultivating plants are also a form of urban gardening and can be used to grow food, trees, and many other types of plants.

What are the benefits of urban gardening?

Urban gardening provides many environmental, social, and health benefits:

  • Provides a local source of food: Fruits and vegetables grown in urban gardens are typically eaten locally. This removes the need for long-distance transportation, reducing the carbon footprint of the end product.
  • Brings communities and families together: By providing a shared space for people to grow and tend to their own plants, community urban gardens can create a sense of community.
  • Educates urban children about the origins of food: Engaging urban children in the process of growing their own food can help teach them a valuable lesson about where food comes from and how it is grown.
  • Adds greenspace to cities: In built-up areas that would otherwise be all concrete, urban gardeners can create greenspace, which is essential not only for wildlife but also for schoolchildren and adults alike.
  • Helps prevent soil erosion: Soil erosion is a major problem in urban areas. Guerilla gardening tactics can help keep soil in place, green up your cityscape, and add nutrients to the soil.
  • Mitigates stormwater runoff: A well-designed urban garden can help reduce the amount of stormwater runoff and flooding in cities by reducing the number of impervious surfaces and by absorbing stormwater.
  • Helps filter air and rainwater: Plants in urban gardens can help filter pollutants from the air and rainwater, providing clean air and water for local ecosystems.
  • Mitigates the urban heat island effect: Due to the urban heat island effect, cities are generally hotter than surrounding areas. Greenroofs and other forms of urban gardening can help reduce this effect by providing a layer of vegetation.
  • Creates leisure and recreational spaces for humans: Don’t wait for your local park to spruce up – plan an urban garden and create a sustainable environment for your family and friends to enjoy.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Urban gardening, also known as urban horticulture or urban agriculture, is the process of tending and cultivating a garden in an urban environment.

Examples of urban gardening include container gardening, indoor gardening, community gardening, guerilla gardening, and green roofs.

Some of the benefits of urban gardening include helping to prevent soil erosion, adding greenspace to cities, and mitigating the urban heat island effect.