Urban Farming: 10 Plants You Can Grow at Home
Updated: Nov 12, 2021
The idea of starting urban farming and growing your own fruits and vegetables might sound like something that's too difficult for your lifestyle. But, instead of giving up, try experimenting with some new plants and herbs that grow well in containers or on patios. Like, for example, my favorites: basil, thyme, parsley. And, see if they suit you too! First, let's take a comprehensive look at what urban farming is in the first place. You'll also read the reasons why urban gardening is something you should consider. Lastly, you will find a list of ten common plants that can be grown at home easily.
What is Urban Farming?
Urban farming consists of growing plants or raising animals within the confines of a small, city lot. A typical urban farm might consist of a small backyard garden or an apartment balcony with a few tomato plants. When it comes to growing plants in urban areas with small spaces, container gardening is a great choice. Container gardening is the practice of growing plants in pots or terrariums on a patio or indoors. I love container gardening because there's such a variety of plants and vegetables that can be grown this way. When choosing which plants to grow in your containers, try to pick vegetables and herbs you enjoy eating and flowers you like to look at. With a little creativity, you can transform a small space into a bountiful garden that will provide your family with nutritious food all year long. Learn more tips about urban farming from another one of our articles.
Why should you start urban farming?
A. Growing your own food at home can promote health, save money, and help the environment.
B. It's fun to grow your own food and it doesn't take that much space or time to cultivate. However, you do need some serious sun for most of them.
C. Urban farming is good for the environment because it encourages self-sustainability and recycling. One sustainable practice that urban farming encourages, for example, is using old containers to grow new plants instead of throwing them out. Also, urban farming minimizes the need for pesticides. Not using pesticides is great for the environment.
D. Traditional farming uses up a lot of water and pollutes the air with fertilizing materials (runoff of pesticides & fertilizer). Growing your own food at home is an environmentally friendly way of satisfying your needs and discouraging such harmful practices from traditional farming.
Best plants to start urban farming
It's hard to go wrong with tomatoes. Most varieties can produce from six to nine fruits a year from a single plant. A lot of them are also self-pollinating, meaning nearly all of the flowers on one plant will have male and female parts. So, it's easy to get new tomatoes from even a single vine.
Tomatoes need six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. They also need lots of water, so be sure to keep them well-watered. And since they are vulnerable to cool temperatures, you'll need to protect them against frost by bringing them indoors for the winter.
Onions are one of the easiest plants to grow at home. All you need to grow them is a spot in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Onions can grow to be very big, but if you want to save space you should choose a small variety. For example, 'Spanish Roja', 'Gourmet', or 'Crystal de Jalapenos'. These varieties will give you much more produce than the standard yellow varieties.
You may think all onions are the same, but there are actually many types. The type you get will depend on the variety of onions you buy. You can learn more about what your choice will be in this link to learn about the best onion varieties for urban gardening.
Gourds are fun to grow because of their unique shape. It makes them stand out from other fruits and vegetables in your window or patio containers. Most gourds are edible: look for varieties that have smooth skins and that have no or few seeds.
Gourds need lots of sunlight and warm, dry air. They grow quickly and can produce fruit in as little as two months.
Cucumbers are among the most popular vegetables to grow at home because they are easy to care for, quick-growing, and very tasty. You can grow cucumber plants directly on the ground or in containers. They will grow best if sunlight is abundant and the soil is warm. The fruits of cucumber plants are ready to harvest when they have rounded ends and start to turn yellow.
Keep the soil moist, water regularly, and wait for your cucumbers to grow. You can eat them raw or pickle them for later use. Feeling adventurous? Try growing some of the unique varieties like Texas Bush, Hillbilly, Dutch crunch, or Burpless Bush.
Cilantro (also called coriander) is easily one of the easiest plants you can grow. You can grow it from seed. Choose a small variety like 'Thai Petite' or 'Thai Mixed'. These varieties will give you much more produce than the standard green varieties.
Cilantro needs lots of sunlight, so choose a spot for it that gets at least four hours of full sunlight per day. It also needs fast-draining soil. If your site is not well-drained, you can grow cilantro in a pot to allow the excess water to drain out from the bottom.
Peppers have lots of nutritional benefits and add rich color and visual appeal to any garden or patio. There are many types of peppers, and you can grow them from seed or transplant. If you can, choose a plant that has a fast-growing rate so it will produce fruit more often than not. Also, choose a variety of peppers that taste good together so the plants' flavors mix well.
Pepper plants need lots of sunlight. Make sure to give them at least six hours of direct sunlight daily and provide them with rich, well-drained soil.
Basil is another easy plant to grow. Similar to tomatoes, most varieties are self-pollinating. 'Santosha' is a great variety to get started with. It has large leaves, which are great for cooking.
Basil needs six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. It also needs lots of water. Provide it with a qualitative potting soil in which it can develop nicely. You can grow basil indoors in winter or outdoors in summer. Choose a pot that is large enough for the basil plant, and make sure it gets a lot of sunlight.
Another easy plant to grow is parsley. 'Italian Parsley' produces flat-topped plants that are full of colorful leaves. It's another self-pollinating variety that produces almost entirely female plants, so there's very little chance your crop will fail.
Parsley likes full sun but can also be grown indoors in winter. It needs rich, well-drained soil with plenty of drainages to grow well. It is susceptible to spider mites.
Thyme is another easy plant to grow at home. It will grow in full sun but requires well-drained soil. I've had great success with this variety, 'English Thyme'. It's also self-pollinating.
You can use thyme in cooking, but it is also used in herbal remedies. It is believed to be antibacterial and antifungal.
Oregano is one of the few plants that you won't get much of a yield from each year, but it's very flavorful. You can use it in all kinds of cooking. I like to grow 'Greek Oregano' and 'Italian Oregano'. Like thyme, the oregano you get from your plant will depend on how much you harvest.
Oregano is a very easy plant to grow and will do best in full sun. It needs plenty of water and rich, well-drained soil. It can be grown outdoors in summer and indoors in winter.
Mint is another great plant that grows well outdoors or indoors. You can use it fresh or dry it for later use. I like to grow 'Spearmint' and 'Peppermint'. They both taste great and make wonderful teas and jellies.
Just like oregano, you won't get much of a yield from each year, but it's still worth it. Your urban farming skills need practice nonetheless! Mint likes full sunlight and needs plenty of water and rich, well-drained soil to grow well. You can grow mint outdoors in summer and indoors in winter, but make sure to use a pot that is large enough for the plant. Also, make sure it gets lots of sun.
Rosemary is another potted plant that you will want to harvest quite regularly. Harvesting regularly means your plant will get fuller and bushier, rather than spindly and leggy. Pinch off the top two leaves of the plant (shorter, top leaves) when it grows to about eight inches tall. This will force the plant to branch out and produce more. It doesn't need much care. It grows slowly but will provide you with lots of aromatic and delicious leaves and flowers. Enjoy and use it in cooking to give flavor to your dishes!
Fennel is another plant that can be grown at home, but it's much more productive in the ground. It's an assertive plant, especially if you grow it in the sun. If you choose to grow fennel in containers, use a variety like fronds or 'Eleanora' because they are not very aggressive.
You'll need to water your fennel a lot. This plant can be a bit finicky, especially if you forget to water it at the right time.
Always make sure you fertilize fennel with fish or bone meal during summer. Use organic fertilizer throughout the winter. In addition, it would benefit from being interplanted with other vegetables like potatoes as it likes to share space. The fennel has small white blooms that smell very deliciously of licorice.
Chives are another easy-growing plant that you can grow both indoors and outdoors. They're great for garnishing meats and veggies alike. In containers, they're not very aggressive. But you need to harvest often. In the ground, chives are more assertive growers that produce larger leaves than most other common potted herbs.
Chives are a very nutritious vegetable. They also make good pest control in the garden. You can use them for all kinds of things, including homemade toothpaste. They are highly nutritious, high in vitamins C and A, folic acid, and calcium. Chives are very healthy for you.
Yellow, orange, or red bell peppers grow well in containers, but some varieties produce more fruit than others. 'Ace' is a good choice for small spaces because it only grows to about 20 inches tall. It will produce up to ten fruits per year on each plant. 'Bhut Jolokia' is a spicy, hot variety that also grows very well in containers.
Bell peppers are extremely easy to grow. They need bright, direct sunlight and lots of water. You can grow them outdoors in summer and indoors in winter. Start seeds indoors approximately six weeks before your last frost date. Then, transplant them outdoors when night temperatures stabilize at around 60 degrees to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Arugula is a very popular herb that makes a tasty green salad. It grows well in containers and does great indoors as well as outdoors. It can be harvested all season long. Arugula tastes best when it's young and fresh, so harvest often to keep it healthy, tasty, and vibrant for your salads.
Chilli plants are easy to grow as long as you have a sunny spot to grow them in. I like to grow 'Ghost' and 'Stinger'.
You can harvest and use the chillis as fresh as you like, but they'll also make a great addition to your food storage. The chillis you grow will be more flavorful if they're harvested often. Chilies are very nutritious and high in vitamins A, B, and C. They're also high in fiber and contain antioxidants such as capsaicin that help prevent cancer.
Sunflowers are among the easiest plants to grow. They also produce the largest seeds and roots of any perennial grown for seed. 'Black-Eyed Susan', 'Fiesta', 'Coon Rapids Orange' are good varieties to try if you live in a region where summers are not too hot or cold.
When planting, pick a spot with full sun, well-drained soil, and keep it well watered so it doesn't dry out. Use the flowers in salads and save the seeds for food storage.
So, what are you waiting for? Start growing your garden today! You can use a variety of herbs and vegetable seeds to make your home a more chemical-free zone. Soon enough, you'll have a healthier lifestyle and will feel better about eating homegrown foods from your own backyard. Your family will eat healthier without spending extra money on organic foods at the store!