The Micro Gardener blog is for people who want their own garden but only have a small space.
Urban gardeners with a windowsill, indoor pot, balcony, verandah, courtyard or not-so-squeezy backyard can all grow incredible edibles for the kitchen table, fragrant cut flowers or vibrant colour, privacy screens and much more.
Whether you’re a beginner gardener or a ‘green thumb’, here you’ll learn tips and tricks about everything relating to gardening in small spaces including:
- Inspiring design ideas to make the most of the space you do have;
- Troubleshooting common problems;
- Container gardening and creative container ideas including repurposed planters;
- Portable gardens for those on the move and vertical gardens to maximise space;
- Practical advice on how to grow and fun ideas for gardening with kids;
- How to save money with MYO (make your own) garden projects;
- Maintaining your garden; and
- Garden themes for small spaces.
Most of us live busy lives in urban locations with limited time and energy to spend on the dream of a healthy beautiful garden. One that seems to grow effortlessly almost on its own, that costs us virtually nothing, produces incredible volumes of food, flowers, fragrance and enviable looks from visitors and takes little time to manage or maintain!
Is urban abundance an impossible dream? Based on my experiences, I certainly don’t think so!
We all have different visions of what our perfect garden looks like. What do you want from your garden?
Think about your priorities. Your likes and dislikes.
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- An abundant supply of nutrient dense organically grown food
- Perfumed flowers and foliage
- A private retreat from indoors or the neighbours
- Indoor pots for healthier air quality and serenity
- A formal, neat and structural space
- Organised chaos of diversity with habitat for birds and other creatures
- A child safe, edible and indestructible garden for kids
- A medicinal herb garden
- A privacy screen from the neighbours
- Fruit or culinary herbs for the kitchen
- A jar of sprouts
- Cut flowers for vases
- Natives for habitat
- A bird attracting garden
Treasure your small space
Whatever your dreams are – whether you are at the start of your journey, had some successes and failures or have been gardening all your life – a small garden can be incredibly rewarding. One thing’s for sure: downsizing has some distinct advantages and working with nature and plants in particular, is a very humbling experience.
I grew up in a temperature climate in Sydney, on a little over a quarter acre block with an incredibly productive garden. Every space was designed to fulfil a particular function. It was a garden on a budget but well thought out and planned. There was room to play, a cubby house, the chicken coop, the vegie garden, fruit trees, compost bays, a burn pile, swings and shade trees to screen out nosy neighbours (there were lots of those!)
Out of necessity, my parents grew just about all our fruit and vegie needs from our own backyard. We picked homegrown flowers and made posies for the neighbours and friends. We had fresh food, eggs and pet chickens to help connect us with nature. At that time, I didn’t appreciate fully what an amazing heritage I was given. What I took for granted as a child … I now treasure.
“It often happens to children – and sometimes to gardeners – that they are given gifts of value of which they do not perceive until much later.” - Wayne Winterrowd
When I moved out of home and into a tiny unit with no balcony, it was a shock to the system to go from abundant green space to growing a few herbs on the windowsill and a couple of pot plants. I moved like a veritable nomad over the years from units to townhouses and houses on both small blocks and acreage. I had to have flexible gardening practices as I scaled up or down to suit the location.
After sixteen moves, from the temperate zone of Sydney in NSW to the tropics overseas and then back to the sub-tropics of Queensland, I’ve had time to reflect on all these gardening experiences – the successful ones and the dismal failures. Mistakes have been opportunities to learn and observe and change.
I’ve come to realise bigger isn’t always better! More space means more work! In fact, it can be incredibly liberating not having to worry about looking after a huge number of plants that you just don’t have time for.
“Just because you’ve only got houseplants doesn’t mean you don’t have the gardening spirit. I look upon myself as an indoor gardener.” ~Sara Moss-Wolfe
My small space gardens have enabled me to become a more creative gardener. Adding personal preferences with garden art, colourful fragrant cut flowers for vases, heaps of herbs for the kitchen, hanging baskets and privacy screens on vertical trellises.
Our family has slashed what we used to spend on fruit and vegetables by growing our needs in a compact space with thoughtful plant selection. With the right techniques and tips, you can too. I encourage you to wander around this blog and explore some of the banquet on offer … I hope you find some inspiration and share your ideas here too.
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© Copyright Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener 2010-2013 – http://www.themicrogardener.com. All rights reserved.