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  • Writer's picturevyoma haldipur

A-Z components of Urban Farming

I have been exploring the relationship between humans, food and nature since a while and have noticed that people living in cities have a relatively low interaction with nature. Being close to and more involved with nature helps us ultimately get more involved in our food systems.

In the past couple of years I have shared several tips with my friends and family about starting mini urban farms and decide to compile some of those essential tips, tricks and lessons for a wider community here.

I will be sharing them here in the coming days and I hope that they give you some easy entry points into bringing some much needed greenery into your homes.

A - Air purifying plants

One of the quickest and easiest ways to feel closer to nature is to grow air purifying plants at home. These plants don't just help you by improving the air quality in your house but also by making you comfortable at taking care of plants and starting your own urban farm.

The easiest plants to start with are the snake plant and the rubber plant.

B - Bottle farming

Getting some nature in your house should never be expensive. You can easily start by saving some used bottles and other containers to grow plants in them. You can easily hang them around your house too which takes hardly any space.

I save multiple glass bottles and grow bamboo plants and money plants in them.

C - Companion plants

Companion planting is a technique in which you grow different plants with complementary characteristics together.

Since every plant has different nutrient requirements and growing patterns, growing certain plants together is proven to be beneficial. These companions can help each other by aiding in pest control, pollination, providing habitat for beneficial insects and general productivity.

One such famous pair is tomatoes and basil. Some other pairs that you can easily try growing together in small spaces like window farms are roses-garlic, marigolds-melons and radishes-spinach.

D - Drainage hole

This is one detail which tends to get ignored a lot. Drainage holes are essential for preventing plants from getting over watered. Without them the roots would get water logged. This can lead to root rot which can ultimately kill your plants.

If your pots do not have drainage holes, try drilling them yourself or you could try placing a smaller pot with a drainage hole inside a decorative pot.

E - Earth

Earth or soil cannot be ignored when you are planning to start planting. It provides plants with the necessary nutrients and also helps in stabilizing the roots.

Sometimes people get hesitant about working with soil because of how messy it can get but once you let go of your inhibitions and start working with this natural material there is no stepping back.

There are many other methods of growing these days which totally avoid using earth but if you are a beginner and want to start planting without having to think too much just go ahead with earth.

One big mistake that I made while I started my urban window farm was to just go to any place around my building and pick up some soil to start planting in and my plants would never survive. However, later through acquaintances I found out that in most urban areas it is very rare to find good soil just lying around. Most of the times what looks like soil to us can be a mixture of soil with cement debrees and dust. Stay tuned for the letter G to find out a simple way to work around this problem.

Stay tuned. Upcoming letters would be updated on a daily basis.

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