Gardening is a passion of mine, I and many others like me find it to be a relaxing way to reconnect with nature, while getting a little something back. What can be done though for the hardworking students without space to garden. Below are a list of diverse gardening styles to meet the diverse lifestyle you may be leading.
Aquascaping is basically gardening in an aquarium. For those of you out there who love your pet fish, this might be a great option to bring some green into your home.Plus, you’ll never have to worry about forgetting to water your plants again!
A bottle garden, is a garden that is planted inside a container similar to a terrarium. It can be made from a plastic or glass bottle with a narrow neck and a small opening.Plants can can grown inside this container indefinitely if properly illuminated. The are the perfect option for those in apartments or high rises with little space, and even less time, as once they are established they require minimal maintenance. All you need to provide for these gardens to thrive is soil, water and light.
Butterfly gardening/Pollinator gardening
Butterfly/pollinator gardening is simply gardening with the intent of growing plants which specifically attract butterflies or other pollinator species. This is becoming an increasingly important form of gardening as populations of pollinator species are on the decline due to habitat destruction, pesticide usage, and parasites. To create your own pollinator garden, it’s best to first establish what species you hope to attract, be it butterfly, bee, or other. Butterflies in particular like bright coloured flowers, red, yellow, orange, etc. and lots of sun, as well a source of water. However, they also need plants like milkweed for their young to feed on and grow. The important thing to keep in mind if you’re thinking of growing a pollinator garden is to go wild! Wild flowers work best as they are indigenous to the region and were meant to meet the needs of your local pollinators. This also means less upkeep, as wildflowers are better suited to the local climate and can survive without continual attention and waterings.
Cactus gardening, is something that up until recently I think I undervalued. A good friend of mine, has recently taken to caring for cactuses and over the year I have watched his personal collection of cactuses grow from 1 or 2 to well a while garden. Anyone with limited space, and limited time, will get great satisfaction out of caring for these exotic plants.
Container gardening is exactly what it sounds like, its growing plants out of containers. This could be anything from window boxes to individual pots. This is a handy type of gardening for those with limited space, or space that has been paved over. I personally intend to garden almost entirely out of containers this summer, as my backyard use to be a parking lot, and to avoid any nasty contamination with unknown pollutants which might have dripped out of a car in years past, I have chosen to plant my veggies in pots instead. Container gardening is also perfect for balconies, rooftops and windowsills. This type of gardening though requires a dedication to watering, as potted plants for the most part need to be watered more frequently than those in the ground as they are less likely to be able to retain water as well.
A roof garden is any garden on the roof of a building. Not only do these gardens look nice, but they can also provide food, temperature control, hydrological benefits, architectural enhancement, habitats or corridors for wildlife, and recreational opportunities, if done right, and depending on the type of rooftop and location. This type of gardening is also going to become increasingly important in the future, as there becomes more need for urban agriculture. What is important to know before starting your rooftop garden is it possible in your space? Be sure that your roof is reinforced for the added weight, and water it will be holding. Container gardening on your roof might be the perfect solution to starting your own rooftop garden. The University has 2 rooftop gardens currently, one at colonel by and the other at the UCU.
Vertical gardens are a great option for you DIY fans out there. They are relatively simple to make and can add an an aesthetic twist to your decor indoors or out. It’s perfect for those who are short on space, and on art.
This is a great option for those of you who may not have a lot of time to invest in a vegetable garden, but love to cook and want to bring some fresh ingredients into the kitchen. Herb gardens, can easily be grown in pots in window sills, in your yard, in a vertical garden, etc. pretty much anywhere you dream it, if there’s sun and soil you can grow your own herb garden. You don’t know what you’re missing till you cook with fresh thyme, or throw some fresh mint in a glass of iced tea on a hot summer’s day.
Window farms, are great for those of you with large windows, lots of light, but no space for pots, or access to balconies or garden space. A window farm is a vertical, hydroponic growing system that allows for year-round growing in almost any window. With a little research you can easily set up your own window farm.
A mobile garden is essentially a container garden on wheels. This is the perfect solution for those of you who move around a lot, or with variable sun conditions. Now you can move your garden with you, or move your garden to where the sun is.
Communal Gardening is a great option for those of you that are a little more serious about gardening, or are interested to take on a garden as a fun summer project with family or friends. A lot of neighbourhoods around Ottawa are now offering the option of getting a community garden plot. Its a great way to get out, get some exercise and meet some new people, and grow some beautiful flowers, or delicious vegetables. The University campus offers 50 plots which can be accessed through OPIRG, for those who are interested.
Guerrilla Gardening is possibly my favourite type of gardening. The idea is based on reclaiming urban spaces with plants. This type of gardening can work for anyone, as it can be done anywhere at anytime, all it takes is a little creativity. Whether it be planting wildflowers in an abandoned lot, or tomato plants in a back alley, guerrilla gardening is a fun way to beautify your neighbourhood. There are numerous resources about guerrilla gardening online, as well as a local group devoted to bringing agriculture and permaculture back into the urban setting.
Garden in Transit
Okay, so this isn’t really a garden, but instead a really interesting initiative started up in New York, where paintings of flowers done by school children, were applied to taxicabs across the city. Just because you don’t have time or space to grow your own garden doesn’t mean you can’t find your own way to engage with nature.
Basically when it comes to gardening, if you can dream it, you can make it. So this summer try bringing plants into your life and experience the rich reward of gardening.