Start your urban garden with these ideas

Many culinary academy students rent their homes or apartments and think they don't have the space or ability to grow a big garden. They can, however, still grow their own produce. Here are some tips for starting your own urban garden:

Go vertical
Are you a person who chooses not to garden because you don't think you have enough space? Chances are, you do, but you're not looking in the right place. Try a vertical garden! You can use an old window screen to create a succulent garden, PVC pipe to make a plethora of pots and even hang pots, plastic water bottles or other containers to grow your own fruits, veggies and herbs. 

Another barrier that you may face is cost. Even simple pots can be expensive when you buy multiples. You can start seedlings in egg cartons and even use old yogurt containers or soup cans as pots. Add a little paint and you've got creative, good-looking recycled planters. 

Start indoors
If you have a window, you can start a small garden. Mason jars, pots or food containers make great starter plant containers. Just be sure the plants have proper drainage and that you water them as needed. Many seeds do well when started inside and then moved into the elements. This allows them a chance to grow without the presence of birds, wind or inclement weather. Once the seedlings are big enough, you can move them outdoors to have full sunlight.

Consider automatic watering
Are you forgetful? You may accidentally forget to water your plants and kill them without even realizing it. This is where automatic watering systems come in handy. You can create an aquaponic system for cheap with a fish tank filter, plants and a few plastic water bottles. Simply cut the tops of the bottles off and invert them. Place your plant in the top and unscrew the cap a little to allow water to drip into the bottom. Cut a few small holes in the bottom and stack the water bottles on top of one another. You can strap them onto a dowel rod or PVC pipe or just fit them together. Use the filtration system hooked up to a water source to pump water up to the top and it will drip down through each layer of plants, watering them all without your help. 

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