Try a "Pick ‘n’ Pluck Salad Bar": Loose leaf cut-and-come-again lettuce varieties can be planted as seeds or seedlings in a container for a quick pick salad. Choose salad ingredients with different leaf textures and colors for a vibrant and healthy salad, says Anne Gibson, who has coined the phrase "The Micro Gardener." Alternate these around the container and when the lettuces have at least eight leaves, you can start harvesting as you rotate around the pot.
There are a variety of microgardening techniques to maximize your harvest, including utilizing space wisely with vertical garden solutions, and efficient water management and nutrient cycling, says Anne Gibson of TheMicroGardener.com. This vertical garden has lemon thyme, peppers, tomatoes and other plants.
Regular harvesting will keep plants, such as these in containers along a walkway, producing. You also will get even more produce from your small space, says Melinda Myers, an urban gardener. For example, she suggests picking outer leaves of lettuce and other greens when they are 4 to 6 inches tall and Swiss chard and kale when 8 to 10 inches inches tall.
Microgardens can be created on roofs, balconies, small patios, fire escapes and small landscaped areas, using edibles as decorative and ornamental features instead of strictly edible plants, says urban gardener Melinda Myers.
A contemporary patio of a coastal California home uses concrete pads surrounded by colored gravel and massed succulents, which can be a low maintenance microgarden option. Grounded Modern Landscape Architecture designed the award-winning space.
Pollution is another aspect of safe food gardening in high traffic areas. Barrier planting may need to be installed as a screen to filter airborne heavy metals and toxic chemicals away from food gardens, says Anne Gibson of TheMicroGardener.com. In the Atlanta condo terrace, Cameron Watkins of C. Watkins Garden Co. designed the landscaping.
Micro gardens can be started in even the tiniest of containers and spaces. You can make miniature greenhouses for seed raising and microgreens by upcycling plastic food-grade punnets and bottles, suggests Anne Gibson of themicrogardener.com.
Vegetables, herbs and greens are grown around the deck of a San Francisco garden that slopes 8 feet from the back door and is bordered by apartments. St. John Landscapes used succulents, variegated plants, Burgundy cordyline, evergreen vines that contrast with the ground cover border and evergreen grasses, for the APLD award-winning project.
Built-in planter boxes made of redwood give a young family easy access to vegetable and herbs in their backyard, surrounded by two- and three-story apartment buildings in San Francisco. The project by St John Landscapes won a 2015 award from the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.
Vertical stackable planters are one way to have a micro garden and it suits shallow-rooted edibles like lettuces, flowers, strawberries and herbs, says Anne Gibson, known as The Micro Gardener. This setup also minimizes moisture loss when watering from the top. Group plants with the same water needs together on each tier and add a saucer at the base to collect any water or nutrients.
Microgardens can be as tiny as a few square inches in a container or several square feet in a garden bed, says Anne Gibson of themicrogardener.com. Here, a small raised garden bed is intensively planted with edibles.
The small space behind a Brooklyn, N.Y., row house was enclosed on two sides by a 12-foot brick wall and bare with no plants. To create the illusion of a bigger space, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, added ivy to the walls and brought in plants such as camellias and crape myrtles. The project was an 2015 American Society of Landscape Architects award winner.
Both culinary and medicinal herbs look fabulous in upcycled containers, baskets and containers such as small boots. Group herbs with similar water and sun needs together, says Anne Gibson of TheMicroGardener.com. For example, drought-tolerant Mediterranean herbs like rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, chives, green onions and marjoram are perfect bed partners. These attractive planters also make great edible gifts.
A once-bare, tiny yard behind a row house in Brooklyn, N.Y., now features a canopy of plants, such as crepe myrtles and camellias. Landscape designer Michael Van Valkenburgh planted trees that naturally cool the garden terrace and house and created a bird habitat. The new paving is mica schist, which is arranged in a pattern that mimics logs flowing down a river. The garden was a 2015 ASLA award winner.