Organic Gardening

Get dirty, have fun and grow more food with great gardening tips from real-life gardeners.

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Small Space Gardening That's Affordable

4/4/2011 11:32:12 AM

Tags: mike lieberman, urban gardening, organic gardening, apartment gardening, Mike Lieberman

two liter plantersIn the spring of 2009 I was living in New York City when I first started to grow my own food. All I had was a fire escape, so I didn't have the luxury of lots of space. 

So I turned that 2x3 landing area into a fire escape garden. In that garden I was able to grow cherry tomatoes, lettuces, peppers and a variety of herbs all while maintaining the integrity of the fire escape.  

About a year later I moved to the left side of the country to Los Angeles. In comparison to my fire escape, I now have a farm. It's a 13x4 balcony garden. 

How can you grow your own food despite having little space? 

I've been upcycling old materials to make my own garden containers. I've been using 5-gallon food grade buckets and soda bottles to grow my food in. 

Self-Watering Planters 

It's easy to build a self watering planter and cheap as well. It'll cost around $5.00 or less. A self-watering container is constructed using two containers. The reservoir and the planting container. Inside of the reservoir container a wicking basket is placed. The easiest thing to use is a half-pound deli container that has holes drilled around it.  

Check out this video of how to make your own self watering container.  


For complete instructions and other ways to make them, you can check out the four different ways to build a self-watering planter.  

Soda Bottle Hanging Planters 

Another way that you can make the most of the limited space that I you have is to use the hand rails. By using 2-liter soda bottles, you can line the railings with about 10 soda bottles to grow your own herbs. 

You can cut off the bottom portion of the bottle and punch holes in them to hang the planters from the railings. A small hole is drilled into the cap to allow for drainage.

Here's a more in depth instructions on how to make your own soda bottle hanging planter. 

Regardless of how little space you have, you can grow some of your own food. Space is just an excuse. By building a self-watering container or soda bottle planter you can maximize the space that you have. You don't have to have a huge garden -  growing one herb or vegetable will make a difference for you and for the environment.

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