The urban gardener may not have a field to plow, but they can still certainly have a harvest worth their time and effort. Home grown groceries have a taste and satisfaction that beat out store bought produce every time. Although you’re not going to harvest the perfect pork chop anytime soon, there are a variety of ingredients that you can grow right in your backyard...or back porch!
Beans are a nutrient rich source of food that you can grow. Pole varieties sprout and spread quickly and will need a trellis or other support. A window box that is long and deep is perfect for this plant. Don’t have the space? No worries, bush beans can be grown in a smaller pot that is at least a foot deep. Sow seeds in a damp soil and refrain from watering until seedlings have emerged. Beans need full sun, warm temperatures, and a damp soil to make it to harvest (about two months from seedling).
Want something a little more green? Plant lettuce! Most varieties grow well in a pot or window box. Romaine, red leaf, and other types of lettuce can be planted in the same pot next to each other. Although they can tolerate direct sun, most types prefer indirect light. Fertilizing every two weeks and keeping the soil damp will ensure that in two to three months, you’ll have a leaf that can fit your appetite.
Peppers, sweet or spicy, elongated or bell, grow very well in container gardens. For summer peppers, plant in March or April. Allow the plant full sun and a healthy break between waterings. Peppers can be harvested while green or later in the season. One plant will easily supply a dinner’s worth of peppers, so be mindful when planting a large amount.
The most important thing about urban gardening is to read the seed packet! The back of a seed packet will provide you with the most valuable information pertaining to growing your plant to harvest. Things like how deep to plant the seed, how far apart to plant, and days until harvest are worth taking note of. Consider throwing your newly grown ingredients into a colorful summer salad, or add them to any meal for a pop of flavor!
By: Katie Winslow - Extension Intern