Unique Gardens

Dan General, This Land of Ours, Vegetables

People are finding unique ways to grow their own food. Cathy Isom tells us about surprising places and spaces where gardens seem to be popping up more and more these days. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.

Unique Gardens

5 Places (That Ain’t in the Ground) to Grow Vegetables



Image source: Eva Blue/Flickr

Gardening, it seems, is evolving. What used to be defined by retirees in the countryside, floppy hats, and clogs, is now rolling with a hipper, sleeker look than ever, and amazingly, gardens are popping up in our cityscapes. Of course, within the urban setting, acreage — hell, square footage — comes at a premium, so it’s not always in the ground that the veggies are growing.

New cultivators are expanding their (and our) horizons by realizing that food can be grown in many more places than the ground, and in many more settings than the country. And, in fact, what many of the growers are coming to terms with is that cities don’t just have the potential to produce a lot of their own food, but they have good cause to: it helps the planet.

But, where exactly is all this food growing? Well, that’s an easy answer.

1. The Roof

gardensRooftop gardens are becoming a common thing. They are happening in New York. They are happening in Montreal. In Paris, they’ve even become law: new rooftops must be used for solar panels or growing food. And, it makes perfect sense. It’s the sunny place in town, and they are often left mostly void of anything useful. Raised garden beds can be installed with lightweight soil, a bit of mulch, and voila.

It does take some effort to get the ball rolling on these things — checking rental regulations, investigating the building’s structural capabilities, and acquiring the material necessary — but for those inclined, it could equate to a huge swath of growing space in the city. Or, maybe it’s just a couple simple raised beds for a few fresh vegetables. That’s still something.

2. The Balcony or Patio


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Jonathon Engels, a long-time vegetarian turned vegan, is currently on a trip from Guatemala to Patagonia, volunteering on organic farms all the way down. In Costa Rica, he officially gave up cheese after actually milking a goat, only to discover—happy life or not—the goat kind of hated it. He blogs—Jonathon Engels: A Life Abroad—about his experiences and maintains a website—The NGO List—benefiting grassroots NGOs and international volunteers.