Urban farming not only gives underserved communities access to healthy and nutritious food, but it also empowers them to take the future of their neighborhood into their own hands. Communities with urban farming centers have the opportunity to improve their economic development while also learning effective agricultural practices.
The benefits of urban farming belong to everyone in these communities. If you are still new to urban farming, check out these 8 tips for cultivating your farm and successfully growing delicious fruits and vegetables.
7 Urban Farming Tips That Will Help You Reap a Successful Harvest
Enjoy the benefits of urban farming by following these 8 tips
The Mount of Olives is dedicated to building and cultivating urban farming communities both locally and internationally. If you are new to urban farming or you just want some extra tips on cultivating a successful farm in the city, this guide to urban farming will greatly benefit you. Check out our 7 tips for urban farming now.
1. Analyze Your Soil Conditions
Before you get started on your initiatives, you need to analyze soil conditions and perform a soil test. This will help you determine the level of nutrients it contains and calculate the amount of fertilizer needed for each crop.
You can test your soil conditions in a number of different ways. Some people purchase a pH meter while others purchase an at-home testing kit to analyze their soil. If your soil is acidic, you can add some limestone to it. If it’s more basic or alkaline you can treat it with soil conditioner.
2. Use Compost
Adding compost to your soil can help increase its ability to retain nutrients and water. Compost typically contains micro and macronutrients that are not present in most synthetic fertilizers. It can also buffer the soil and balance out its pH levels. Compost can also help your farm eliminate any pest problems you might be dealing with, thereby preventing you from having to apply pesticides to your crops.
Looking to reduce waste in your home? You can recycle any kitchen or yard waste by composing it! Many of the nutrients and organisms inside this decomposing organic material are great for your urban farm.
3. Remember to Conserve Your Water
Many urban farms struggle with finding reliable and affordable resources for irrigation. That’s why many urban farmers turn to drip irrigation to help conserve water. Essentially, drip irrigation allows you to save water by applying it only where it is needed most at a proper rate. Urban farmers can also install shut-off valves for fallow areas and timers to help automate their watering schedule. Some people even install rain barrels to harvest the rain for future watering. Other effective water conservation techniques you can try include rainwater harvesting and dry farming.
4. Use Organic Fertilizer
Organic fertilizers are favored by urban farmers over synthetic ones for a number of different reasons. Many of the nutrients inside organic fertilizers can help fight off disease-causing organisms and encourage water absorption. These fertilizers might release their nutrients at a slower rate than chemical fertilizers; however, this prolonged release over time is often preferred over the quick shot that chemical fertilizers provide.
5. Research your Microclimate Conditions
A microclimate refers to the climatic conditions of a small, localized area. Its environmental variables such as the temperature, amount of light, and moisture will help you determine what can and cannot successfully grow in your urban farming environment. Different parts of your urban farm might have climatic variations among each other. Distinguishing these parts from each other can help you figure out where you can place certain plants in the best spots for growing.
6. Consider Growing “Up”
If you’re dealing with a smaller farm space, consider growing vertically. Tall plants such as cucumbers, peas, and tomatoes can make it easier for your urban farm to expand up rather than out. Since vertical farming keeps your plants off the ground, it reduces their chances of becoming affected by unwanted pests. Vertical farming also allows you to conserve water more easily by watering directly at the roots of the plants.
7. Encourage Others to Contribute to the Farm
Encouraging other people to contribute to the urban farm can help you manage and expand it over time. Not only does it help build a stronger community, but it also acts as a convenient and inexpensive source of healthy and nutritious food.
The Mount of Olives seeks to breathe life and hope into areas that have suffered from decades of abandonment and divestment. We work with communities within the city of Pittsburgh and numerous African countries. Within each community, we hope to empower the residents and encourage them to lead healthier lives by investing in their community garden.
For more information on how you can help underserved communities through urban farming, contact one of our team members today.