Recently in New York City, it’s looked a lot more like winter than spring. But warmer weather will return before we know it. Of course, this time of year is often associated with flowers and gardens. Granted, we live in a region that’s dominated by concrete and steel, making it somewhat difficult to have a garden of your own. The fact is that even if you don’t have a backyard, you can still add some much-needed greenery to your space. Here are some basic tips for urban gardening in Manhattan and throughout NYC:
- Grow plants in containers – Space is limited in the city. However, that doesn’t mean you should give up on your dream of having a garden. You might want to consider growing plants in containers and hanging baskets as an alternative. This is ideal if all the space you really have is a porch, patio, or balcony.
- Give your plants the space they need – The last thing you want to do is force plants into a tiny space. We recommend using big enough containers so that your plants have enough room to grow and thrive. Be aware that some plants need a lot more soil than others.
- Invest in good potting soil – Most of us are looking to save money wherever possible. If you’re on a tight budget but still want to create a beautiful garden, be sure to purchase some high-quality potting soil. Maybe you’re thinking, “Why can’t I just use soil from the ground?” Here’s the thing: potting soil is much lighter, drains better, and is sterilized to kill weed seeds and diseases that could harm your plants. So don’t skimp on the soil.
- Get the right fertilizer – Keep in mind that not all fertilizers are the same. Our experienced garden design team recommends using a slow-release fertilizer in pellet form. Why this one in particular? Well, you will obviously need to water container plants frequently. Should you use a regular fertilizer, you run the risk of it washing right out of the soil. On the other hand, you can expect one application of slow-release fertilizer to last for several months.
- Water smartly – Overwatering is one of the most commonly made mistakes among beginning gardeners. The trick is to thoroughly soak the entire container each time you water. Remember to pour away any extra water that fills the saucer underneath the container. A plant that sits in excess water is likely to experience what’s called root rot. Interestingly, one of the more notable signs of root rot is wilting. So if you aren’t sure whether the wilting is from too much or too little water, gently pull the plant up out of its container. If you notice the roots are slimy and brown, then root rot is the culprit.
- Opt for plastic pots – A number of garden landscaping professionals suggest clay pots as opposed to plastic. Here at Amber Freda Landscape Design, we recommend plastic. Here’s why: plants in plastic usually dry out less quickly since the pots aren’t porous like clay ones. Try putting about five centimeters of an organic mulch on top of the soil in the container. Doing so reduces water evaporation from the soil.
- Give some thought to where to hang your baskets – Aesthetics are certainly an important part of gardening. That said, consider how you’re going to water the baskets when you go to hang them. For example, will you be forced to stand on a step stool? Make it a point to hang the baskets where it’s not going to be a complete hassle to water.
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Now that you know a few basics of urban gardening, it’s time to get started. It goes without saying that landscaping in Manhattan is much different than other parts of the country. You probably don’t need to hire a traditional lawn care or hardscaping company. Rather, you need to hire a company that specializes in custom landscape design services. That’s exactly what we do here at Amber Freda Landscape Design. You can count on our garden design expert to walk you through the process, from initial consultation all the way through project completion.
Part of what separates Amber from other garden landscaping pros is that she will create an urban oasis based on your site and desires. Whereas other garden layout teams might settle for a “cookie-cutter” approach, you can count on Amber to deliver custom, high-end results. Once we’re finished, it’s our promise that you will have a space that looks and feels like a natural extension of your home.
Why settle for just any ordinary landscaper when you can collaborate with one whose client list includes George Soros, Brett Icahn, Joseph Edelman and other notables? See what our NYC landscape design professionals can do for you.
Get in touch with us today.