Gardening comrades, help us in sparking an urban gardening revolution! From streets to rooftops, GardenTags and the RHS are on a mission to Green Grey Britain.
The Skinny Jean Gardener is on a mission to make gardening cool for a new generation. He plans to do this by injecting fun and creativity into gardening. And his vision is to get children, teens and students to love gardening too! Today, Skinny Jean Gardener tells us just how easy family gardening can be, even in the urban world…
in the Urban World
When you think of family gardening, the number one thing you think you’d need is.. a garden. Time and time again, as I travel the country to different shows, the general thing I hear is that: ‘I’d love to do some gardening, but I don’t have a garden’. Well, today I’m here to tell you that you don’t need a garden. You don’t even need a balcony. All you need is a space in your home. Whether that be on a window sill, or even near a window, you are ready to go!
With a smaller space, you have to be more careful about what you want to grow. You’ll be growing something you really love to use, and use a lot. In any size garden, growing something for the sake of growing will never give a good feeling inside. Especially with small spaces, as you will want to make the most of what you’ve got. If you love and use potatoes a lot, then you’re bang out of luck. I’m talking chillies (a favourite of mine), tomatoes, and peppers, which grow perfectly happily on the windowsill. One thing to think about with these is the lack of bees that are flying around inside, so hand pollination is a must. This can be done by using a small paint brush to transfer the pollen from one plant to another.
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Leaf Salads, rocket and cress grow quick and fast on the window sill. A classic in the kitchen is to have your most used cooking herbs such as chives, basil or parsley as they’re quick to grab when you’re cooking in the kitchen.
All of this is a fantastic activity to do as a family. Choosing what you will grow, sowing your seeds and then caring for them afterwards. With your plants being part of the home and basically part of the family.
So you’ve started a mini garden but want to branch out. I know of many gardeners, and now myself included this year, have started something called ‘guerrilla gardening’. Much of our towns and city’s have green areas amongst the houses and tower blocks. When first built these were most likely full of the greenest of plants, but now are over grown with weeds that blend pleasantly into the concrete. They are areas that we walk past all the time without even thinking about it. Guerrilla gardening changes this, and can change any weed infested area into a fully grown and beautiful green paradise with the help of friends, family and neighbours. This could be your garden.
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Now guerrilla gardening is usually a concept used without permission. It could be portrayed as the ‘Banksy’ of the gardening world. And it would be irresponsible of me if I didn’t say that it would usually be good to get permission first by finding out who owns the land. A good example of this is a patch of land behind my brothers house. It was an over grown mess, full of rubbish, unused and hidden away. This was last summer. Once we’d found the land owner, it turned out he was just not using it. And was waiting to possibly build on it in the distant, distant future. Now it is cut back with a fully functioning allotment and seating/ cooking area, used by the community of families around it, which will grow and grow throughout the years. All of this, through family gardening.
Another space that sits along a road side, we have just got permission to garden in too. This area is covered in brambles, but together with the people and friends we have made in the local area before, we have to turn this into a wildlife friendly area, that you are unlikely to see usually as you walk down the street.
Gardening is about family and friends coming together, sharing experiences, and having fun along the way. It doesn’t matter what size space you have, it’s about the people you have around you and the experiences you share.
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