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The only thing it really takes to get an urban garden going is the desire to have one. The rest is pretty simplefrom there! I know it sounds intimidating, so here’s a simple guide to getting started on your own garden, even if you’ve never done anything like this before.

1. Decide what kind of garden you want to have. You can use your garden for whatever you’d like. Some people use their gardens for community outreach and teaching local kids about the natural world, others use it as a decorative space full of flowers or a space to grow food. You could even make it a DIY playground full of herbs and other goodies that can be used for crafts and homemade treats. What kind of access you’d like to offer to your space is totally up to you: it can be a private space, open to the public, or can have specific visiting hours.

2. Find the perfect setting. Urban gardening can be done anywhere from the confines of an apartment to a vacant lot. However, urban gardens are most beneficial when they are located in a public space. Parks, schools, rooftops, and empty lots are great locations to start a garden of your own. There’s also the option of getting involved with an already-existing garden, which saves you the start-up effort. It’s common for future gardeners to acquire an abandoned lot from their city, which you won’t be expected to make rent payments for. Be aware of your city’s regulations regarding land use and the terms of your space. Do you get the lot indefinitely? What happens if someone wants to buy the lot? Make sure you know your rights.

Suburb-dwellers, you may want to consider using your own backyard for the project. (If you want to allow public access to your yard, make sure people are aware they can stop in!) If you’re a city dweller and don’t feel ready to take on a larger space of your own, a plant-filled window box outside your apartment is a great way to dip your toes into caring for plants. If rainwater soaks into the box’s soil, it prevents storm water runoff on the city streets and plays its part in helping out the environment.

3. Get as many people involved as possible. The scope of the project may become bigger than you, and extra help tending to the garden is great to have on hand. In a city environment, people will likely jump at the chance to escape the concrete jungle for a few hours and do some gardening. Reach out to your community and ask local organizations if they’d like to get onboard and send some of their volunteers to help.

4. Get planting. The sky is the limit when it comes to which plants you choose and they are relatively inexpensive and easy to nurture. If you plan to grow food, it’s a good idea to get your soil tested to make sure it’s healthy. No need to have a complicated plan in place for every detail of what you’ll be growing ‚ just dive right in! It really is that simple.

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