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The Art of Urban Gardening

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Place herbs in your window sill, and you are joining the grand art of urban gardening. Urban agriculture dates back to Egyptian times when the natural compost from the community fed the town gardens. Go to Machu Picchu and note an entire civilization based around the ideal of urban gardening.

Cities such as New York, Boston and Cairo have long traditions of using commons for gardening. While eastern Colorado is the part of the state with the most agriculture, Denverites have many options to join the urban gardening movement. Denver Urban Gardens, appropriately known as DUG, operates more than 120 community gardens in the Denver Metro area. They offer support for newbie gardeners in the form of help finding land and designing the garden. DUG dates back to 1985.

For smaller projects, such as growing herbs in your window or utilizing a small patch of land, The Herbery on 6th offers so much expertise. Advertised as a florist, yet Dennis, the shop owner, is a plant-lover with decades of knowledge. Just try to stump him. His enthusiasm for all things plant is contagious! Prices are also very reasonable. The Herbery offers a wide selection of herbs, naturally, in the summer and various plants all year round. Look out for their local art and ceramic pieces as well.

The art of urban gardening can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. Beginners should start with containers, particularly of herbs. Considerations for indoor gardening:

  • Sunlight
  • Water
  • Containers
  • Plant varieties
  • Planting techniques

Real Simple offers excellent advice for beginning indoor gardening. Essentially, start out by observing the amount of sunlight the target room receives. Avoid overwatering by checking the soil before tipping the water can. Choose containers with good drainage, and wash before using. Select plants that look healthy to begin with and that will do well in a window. Rosemary, basil and catnip grow well in these situations.

For a truly impressive selection of plants, Paulino Gardens is the prime spot. Located just off I-25 and I-70, they feature just about every type of plant that could potentially grow in Colorado. They've been in business for over five decades, and their expertise reflects that. Visit them for the peskiest of urban gardening problems.

Denver has a long tradition of going green. Urban gardening is one way to cut costs, or at least ensure the freshest produce while maintaining sustainability. Clear off that window will or balcony and join the movement. It's never been easier.

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