The old Kiwi dream was pretty modest. All we asked for was a little house with a backyard, and maybe a veggie patch. Yet in increasingly populated cities, having a patch of grass to call your own - especially one big enough for growing produce - has become a luxury.
But you can still grow a backyard's worth of veggies - you just have to get a little bit creative.
Pots on the patio
If you have a small porch, deck or patio, consider growing your fruit and vegetables in a range of pots. Many vegetables can be purchased in 'dwarf' size and will grow in a small space.
Visit your local nursery for advice on the best produce for your pots. As a general guide, carrots, beets, lettuce and radishes are suitable for small to medium pots. Small fruit trees will perform well too, but they'll need a larger pot.
Vegetables in individual containers can thrive on a small balcony, as long as they get about six hours of sun each day. Containers must be large enough for the soil to hold enough water to get through the day - especially when it's warm. Most vegetables will thrive best in their own container so their roots develop without restriction.
The depth of your container will dictate what you plant, too. For small four/five inch containers, try lettuce and herbs. Containers that are six/seven inches deep are ideal for peas, beans and onions. Pick a container that's eight or more inches deep if you want to plant carrots, cucumber, eggplant, leeks or fennel.
Make your #onechange
If you have a small porch, deck or patio, consider growing your fruit and vegetables in a range of pots.
Climb or hang?
If ground space is limited, try planting your vegetables in hanging baskets on a veranda or awning. Alternatively, choose vegetables that climb. To do this you'll need to attach some lattice to a fence or wall and make your veggie patch vertical. Choose vegetables that climb naturally, such as climbing peas and beans, vine tomatoes, cucumbers and melons.
Hardware stores also sell a range of vertical planters, living walls and vertical garden kits that make installation a breeze.
For inner-city fruit and veg lovers, creating a home-grown garden might be a challenge. But the waft of fresh herbs through the kitchen is still achievable if you have a windowsill or bench space that receives a few hours of sun each day. The key is to choose a couple of herbs that you'll use often and place them in small pots with good soil.
A successful windowsill herb garden is proof that even city-dwellers can add a touch of freshness to their cooking and entertaining.
Tips for growing fruit and vegetables in urban environments
- Fertilise plants regularly
- Choose pots and containers for small spaces
- Ensure veggies receive enough light and water
- Select the right fruit, vegetables and herbs for the size of the environment