Urban Gardening: a Family Affair


"I don’t like a lot of upkeep," claimed my city-dweller husband when we began looking for our first home.

What a shock it was when he brought home a mess of bricks, cement and overalls to build a raised vegetable garden in our San Francisco backyard. 

I watched in admiration – and in fear for his lower back – as my sweatier half toiled, tilled, and all those other garden verbs, laying the foundation for years of annual spring planting with our little girls. Now, at a time when organic growing and composting is more vital than ever, I’m glad he planted the seeds of this family tradition.

City folks need gardens, too, and I’ve found a few very helpful sources:

Gardens to Gro makes redwood planter boxes and brackets and ships the set up to homeowners, simplifying the process of building raised beds. If you live in San Diego County, the company will even assemble the gopher-proof raised beds for you, adding a built-in trellis at the rear of the garden. The beds are left unstained on the outside for pure organic gardening.

Once your structure is in place, you can go looking for seeds and soil. I found The Helpful Gardener to be a great resource for getting started, covering everything from the best critters to buy for nurturing your salad greens to the role of crop rotation in the garden.

Meantime, organic seed suppliers are abundant these days. Decide what you want to grow, based on your climate changes, with the help of Green Footsteps, which provides a step-by-step selection process.

Is this time-consuming hobby a worthwhile investment? We’ve loved our garden during the child-rearing years as it creates both nutritious, organic fare and cherished family memories. The designer in me also loves the resale advantage. I’ve found raised beds to be an added attraction when houses are on the market, especially in the urban jungle where we’re so hungry for nurturing surroundings.   

Image: pink_fish13

Luanne Bradley

Luanne Sanders Bradley is the West coast Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in San Francisco, California.