Can the space-challenged, time-poor urban dweller join the people’s movement for home-grown produce? ‘Just ask us how!’ insist designers and entrepreneurs whose range of solutions make edible gardening possible for would-be gardeners with no gardens and no room in their daily schedules for tending them. First up these solutions address the time issue. It’s not that watering a few pots takes a long time, just that it’s time that can’t be postponed. Plants in small pots in full sun and some wind may need watering at least once day. Miss the deadline and you won’t have dinner you’ll have dead things. Self-watering pots are one answer. Weekly, or even less often, the gardener fills a reservoir, from which water is drawn by capillary action into the growing medium. Yates does self-watering in its Tuscan Edge range of plastic pots and troughs; Fresh Prince does rustic chic self-watering in planters made from salvaged boxes. The ultimate in no-time solutions is probably this, the Elevated Garden system from Eden Gardens.
Borrowing from hydroponics, this unit is a thigh-high planter (in three different sizes and a choice of 25 different colours, from $1299) with a reservoir in the bottom and a growing area on top. A solar-powered pump circulates nutrient-boosted water over the growing surface every night. Excess water drains back into the reservoir, which only needs to be topped up every few months. The only requirement made of the gardener is to keep an eye out for pests, and to harvest – often. The system can be extended with a vertical panel, also fed and watered via the pump. Like this:
A sunny north-facing wall might call for an edible planting all its own. There are plenty of vertical garden systems available; look for one that makes it easy to change plants as they finish, and has a way of dealing with excess water that doesn’t involve it dripping down the wall and pooling on the floor. Have a look at Versiwall. Plant small-growing herbs, such as parsley, coriander, oregano and thyme, and because green walls look best when the green completely hides the structure that supports it, plant according to your kitchen needs. Don’t let a love of tabouli leave the wall looking like it’s missing teeth.
No outdoor space and not even a sunny window sill? No problem. The hanging garden takes an unusual turn in Sky Planters by English garden design company Bosske (find Sydney stockists at boskke.com). This gravity-challenging arrangement is a pot with a water reservoir at the top, and a plant growing out the bottom, making it easy to reach and harvest. The company promises that soil and water don’t fall out, though the small print advises not hanging above electrical fittings or furniture! Of course without full sun, this is a more innovative storage solution than growing garden, but still, in modern urban life no cook need make do without at least one freshly picked ingredient.
Thanks to Eden Gardens for those two pictures of the Oasis Elevated Gardens.