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.
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.
Micro gardens are designed to be highly productive, energy and space efficient, sustainable and affordable, and grown in healthy living soil, says Anne Gibson of The Micro Gardener (themicrogardener.com). They can be as tiny as a few square inches in a container or several square feet in a garden bed.
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.
Whens space is tight, you can use old items, such as a wheelbarrow to display and grow plants. Portable gardens are a creative solution for those who need to move plants into sun or shade during the day, says Anne Gibson of TheMicroGardener.com. Heavy planters can be moved easily.
Winds tunneling through high rises and neighborhoods can be damaging and drying. Adjust watering as needed and provide supports for tall plants or decorative fencing/screening as a wind break, says Melinda Myers, an urban gardener.
Micro gardening opens up food growing possibilities for city dwellers, renters and others. Roof gardens are a great way to grow in urban spaces, but Anne Gibson of TheMicroGardeners.com says it's important to consider drainage and local weather conditions. If exposed to winds or strong sun without protection, plants tend to dry out more quickly.
Position microgardens on balconies where there is structural strength. Moist soil gets very heavy, so consider the total weight (soil + pot + plants + water) of each container, says Anne Gibson of TheMicroGardener.com. You may need to consult an engineer to find out if the structural capacity can handle the additional weight. It is wise to position heavy pots close to the strength of the structural wall or around the perimeter.