For city-dwellers, an assured availability of nutrient-dense organic food at affordable prices is never certain. All the farm produce comes from distant farms and hence rarely very fresh. There is no certain way of verifying that it is organic and hence worth its astronomical price. However, what if such farm produce were available at your fingertips, absolutely affordable and direct from the gardens? This is, in short, the essence of micro-gardening. Micro-gardening is widely catching on with many urban settlements. It is the solution for city dwellers who still want some excellent organically grown produce.
What is Micro Gardening
Micro-gardening is a self-serving practice of growing every-day food such as vegetables, fruits, roots-tubers, micro greens and herbs within limited space. This could be your own balcony, a window sill or even a space of few centimeters. It uses resources easily available at your home which not only makes this practice economical but also sustainable over the long term. Here is a closer look at micro gardening.
The goal of micro-gardening is to achieve maximum consumable produce with the use of minimum resources. Its important features are:
Micro-gardening allows growing abundant greens within space as less as a few centimeters. This is achieved through techniques such as vertical gardening, hydroponics – which is the technique of growing plants without soil, aeroponics – which is the technique of growing plants in the air without soil by using hanging tools etc. Thus, perfect for an urban dweller constrained by space. You can grow your own garden in your balcony, on a tabletop, on a small ledge, loft, window sills or even over the area of a few centimeters!
Self-enriching sustainable soil management:
Micro-gardening requires very less amount of initial soil input. The soil is further enriched by the use of compost made from the kitchen waste. This rich manure offers adequate nourishment to the soil, to produce nutrient-dense food, from which the waste can go back to composting. Thus, it is a self – enriching, self – sustaining chain.
Optimal use of water:
Water is a key resource for traditional agricultural practices; however, micro-gardening uses very little water. It was estimated by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) that every 1 square meter of a micro-garden dense with plants will require only 3 liters of water per day and thus only 1 cubic meter of water per annum. This also will help conserve the water for the ever-growing urban population. By using micro drips that are designed such that excess water is reutilized, rainwater harvesting etc., It is possible to save every single drop of water.
Suitable for a variety of produce:
Micro-gardening has been successfully used to produce a variety of every-day vegetables and fruits such as pepper, lettuce, eggplants, tomatoes, strawberries, various citrus fruits, herbs, microgreens, even watermelons; thus, indeed making it a really useful and practical way of obtaining organic farm food that is immediately accessible.
It is Organic:
In the process of growing food in these gardens, no pesticides are used, no chemical fertilizers are used. Use of natural fertilizers and organisms to enrich soil makes it an authentic organic activity. What’s more, as consumers of this food, we are assured of its organic nature.
It is affordable?
Micro-gardening does not require the use of specialized resources, spaces or containers. Most of the required inputs are available at home. Containers required to grow plants could be anything including repurposed kitchen plastic containers, broken pipes, used tires, crates, or even empty Styrofoam boxes. There is no requirement for special tools. Optimal use of water, soil and in-house fertilizer all make it an extremely affordable activity.
The ultimate environment-friendly garden-farming
Less use of all the resources added to the fact that it can work with the repurposing of various containers also makes it environment-friendly. Items such as Styrofoam that cannot be recycled are a burden on the environment, and they can be used productively here too. Water is optimally used by developing micro-drip systems so that any excess water can be redirected back to the garden.
Anyone can practice:
After initial set up, the maintenance requirements or follow – up activities are next to none or minimum. No specialized technical know-how is needed. It also does not use intensive labor like in traditional farming. Thus, making it possible to be practiced by anyone. If carried out on a larger scale, it can also be used to monetize and cater to the growing need for organic fresh farm produce in urban settlements.
In short, micro-gardening is the answer for many existing and upcoming concerns of the urban dwellers and the ideal fit for those who want to enjoy organic food, afford it and grow it effortlessly. Try your hand at micro gardening and see what vegetables that you can cultivate.