Urban Gardening 101

The month of June has arrived, and with it the beautiful sunny weather. For many Canadians, we are all sighing with relief after a neverending winter. Though we sort of jumped over the spring, it is a time of rejuvenation and blooming – pun intended. As someone who is always running around, I like to try and find simple things that make me happy. Gardening has been one of those outlets that allow me to disconnect for some time to reconnect with myself. Gardening is accessible for everyone with the right weather; all you need is a few gardening products from Botanex, including watering cans, and you’re good to do! Gardening is a good de-stressor and can have your yard looking stunning. With the advances in products tailored to the “Urban Gardener” now available at Lee Valley Tools in Canada, I was excited to partner with them to share some of my tips for creating your own green space. From condo balconies to rooftops (which your own outdoor storage sheds, if you can get them up there of course), there is something available for any kind of space, no matter what your experience level.

Urban Gardening, for those of you who are curious, has been gaining in popularity because many of us crave the greenery or ability to grow something. Especially when living in a big city, sometimes that simple act of watering a tomato plant or herb garden and enjoying the fruits of your efforts can be incredibly satisfying. It’s not about the likes or following a hashtag, but rather about reconnecting with something.

This past weekend, I was able to assemble two medium sized Vegepod® Container Gardens that Lee Valley Tools sent over for me. As someone who has traumatic memories of assembling things backwards and upside down (even when following directions!) I was worried it would take me hours. I think the total time to assemble the Vegepod base was 25 minutes – far faster than expected. Everything is laid out and the instructions are easy to follow. Add in another ten or so minutes to put the Vegecover together, and I was ready to start filling it with earth in under an hour!

The Vegepod® Container Gardens come in three sizes, and since I have a large outdoor space, I opted for the medium. That being said, when we lived in the condo and had a smaller patio, the small would have been perfect. After picking up a few necessities for gardening from Lee Valley in the heart of the city, I was ready to grab some dirt from my local garden centre.

Here is where I started to get excited – what to plant and why! As someone who has direct sun for the majority of the day, I knew that tomatoes and peppers would be good options I hear that a Garden Pergola also helps with this. I also knew that they don’t need a ton of work, and for someone who can’t be on the patio (unfortunately) for hours at a time every day, they needed to be easy for me to take care of. For those of you who don’t have access to a patio or roof space, then you can always consider something like a gavita led system to grow your produce inside. I’m lucky though so, I got a little more adventurous with my other options. From cucumbers to cauliflower, strawberries to watermelon, I am giving it a try. I think that’s the fun of urban gardening. Chances are something might not work out, but I know that every day after I get home from work, I can go check to see how my plants are doing because of the Vegepods. Did I also mention that they have a built in water reservoir which helps if I forget to water them accordingly? GENIUS.

One of the things I have learned over the years of trying to have and enjoy green spaces in the apartments, condos and homes I have lived in, is that vegetables are great but they need something special. Flowers are VERY important because they attract the bees most plants need to blossom and bloom. Plus, it’s beautiful to plant a potted plant and watch it flower. I picked up some Marigolds (also known as Cempasàºchil which I learned during my trip to Mexico for Dia de los Muertos – and we all know how much I love Mexico) and Hibiscus flowers. But this is where your personality can come in while you plan your garden and I love that!

Planting and gardening are things that remind me of my mom and my family. From spring cleaning to harvesting the vegetables we would plant together, I think it’s something that is so beautiful to share with loved ones and family members of all ages. But it’s also a great thing to enjoy with yourself, for yourself. Plants take time, flowers need rain, and you could use a bit more green in your life. I hope that this post has helped you to remember that and encourages you to take the time you need to create a beautiful green space of your own.

So, to recap, 5 Tips to Urban Gardening when it comes to vegetables

  1. Remember to not overcrowd – plants grow and veggies need room to mature. Overcrowding can hinder that.
  2. Try to not overwater – we sometimes (I know I can) can get overzealous and think watering means growing.
  3. Bees are your friends – obviously be careful, but just remember that they are important to your garden and the world!
  4. Flowers, flowers, and more flowers – get creative and fill your space as you see fit.
  5. Read the directions – this is a big one. Read the back of the planting instructions for helpful tips. Lee Valley has a great resource called the Propagation Guide, which is super handy.

If you are a beginner, remember that the staff at Lee Valley Tools are there to help!

To join in on the conversation taking place on patios and green spaces from coast-to-coast this summer, make sure to follow @LeeValleyTools on Twitter and Instagram. Tag us in your garden plans and let us know what you decided to plant this year! We can’t wait to see how Lee Valley Tools help you reconnect with yourself and your loved ones.

For more behind the scenes of this and other amazing brands we are working with around the world, make sure to follow along with the #DoTheDaniel Instagram account. We would love to have you join on our adventures!

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Photos: All social media accounts listed above, Lee Valley Tools & Daniel Reyes


Daniel Reyes

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