With a gorgeous climate that’s made for blooming and sprouting, there is no better place than LA to grow your own produce. The farm-to-table movement has gotten very popular, but for most people it remains a term one mostly encounters when eating out –– but it doesn’t have to stay that way. No matter if your residence has an ample rear yard or a minimalist balcony, you too can create your own urban orchard, scaled to the exact proportions of your available outdoor space.
So what is the best way to start? If you live in a home with a yard, one of the first decisions you have to make is the shape and form of your garden. To figure that out, you might want to test the soil for the presence of lead or any other problems – the findings will help you determine if you can plant directly into the ground. If all is clear, great! Get out your garden tools and start by digging up your garden beds and mixing in compost – fertilized and aerated soil allows water and oxygen to reach the plants’ roots quickly, resulting in a better crop.
Once done with prepping soil, consult this trusty planting calendar – we like the one provided By Enrich LA, a wonderful local organization devoted to cultivating gardens across schools in LA – and plant the seeds for the harvest of your dreams. If you run into issues with your soil, raised garden beds might be the solution – easy to construct with a few 2” x 4”, the garden beds are similar to planters, and have the added benefit of being easier on your back when bending over to tend to your garden. Check out these instructions from Lowe’s on how to build a garden bed, and head over to Eartheasy for more installation tips.
What if you have a limited outdoor space? If that’s the case, you might consider utilizing the parkway – the space between the sidewalk and the curb – to get your patch of green going. Owners and renters in LA are usually permitted to plant vegetables on the parkway as long as the sidewalk is not obstructed, and most neighbors are likely to welcome a garden in progress, and perhaps even be inspired to contribute, or start their own mini veggie field. That said, we do recommend checking in with the city zoning department before starting any public space gardens or urban farm projects, to make sure your farm-to-table dreams are kept within the letter of the law.
Another great way to create an urban farm is to set one up right on the roof. With an increasing popularity of the denser way of living, a lot of Los Angeles residents are choosing to live in small-lot homes; such residencies frequently have fabulous rooftop decks where one can entertain, relax – and grow vegetables. The amazing thing about setting up a rooftop garden is that in addition to suppling your meals with home-grown lettuces, kales, arugulas and other vegetative crops that are easy to nurture, your plants literally make LA greener, potentially making an eco-friendly impact on our environment. Learn more about nurturing plants on your roof by checking out LA Urban Farms, and if you are attracted to the idea of small-lot, sustainable living, take a look at the communities we represent in a choice of LA neighborhoods from Los Feliz to the Valley and contact us to arrange a viewing.