With rising food prices, growing your own is a very attractive option. But, for many like me who live in apartments or townhouses, planting a garden isn't an option. But I do have a small balcony and was hoping to plant a few herbs there. One of our advertisers' cool products immediately came to mind: The Stack and Grow lets you plant a whole bunch of herbs, flowers or even strawberries in an extremely small space. Its moveable, stackable planting trays can be moved around to customize various plant sizes and it's conveniently placed on rollers so you can move it around easily.
I was lucky enough to get a bunch of herb starts from Cheryl Long, editor-in-chief of our sister publication Mother Earth News. Cheryl has a wonderful organic farm just a few miles from our office and she brought me a big tray of happy, healthy herbs: chives, garlic chives, thyme, basil, lemon balm and cilantro. Yum! We planted them and they've been growing so happily...plus they taste great! I've been eating a lot of garlic chives lately and loving it. If you don't have a gardening friend from whom you can get some starts, the company sells kits with seeds ready to grow herbs or strawberries. Otherwise, look for organic starts at your local nursery.
Growing foods is a great way to save money and to reduce the shipping costs associated with conventional foods. Even with little space, there are a ton of tools out there to help you grow a lot in a small area. Leah Gauthier is an artist creating an "installation" out of several parcels of land all around New York City...she's trying to show that even urban dwellers can provide for themselves. We will feature Leah's project in our upcoming September/October issue of Natural Home. A couple other stories come to mind on this subject:
When Scott Sanders remodeled his Washington, D.C., row house, the designer included several built-in planter boxes on the tops and sides of the patio walls to meet his gardening desires. These built-ins allow Scott to make growing room within another feature of his balcony.
And check out the absolutely incredible amount this family grows in their Pasadena yard. It's truly amazing. (Think 3 tons of food on 1/10th of an acre!!)