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City gardening, sometimes called urban gardening, includes rooftop gardening, container gardening, and indoor gardening. City gardening allows urban residents with patios, balconies, rooftops and small yards to reap the benefits and fun of growing their own vegetables, herbs and flowers. While not the same as a large country garden, you can still grow enough food in a city garden to save money and enjoy fresh, healthy produce. You can also get very creative with your city gardening containers - fill a pot, basket, old tire, wheelbarrow, bucket, or even an old pair of shoes with colorful flowers for a foolproof, hassle free garden. Anything goes as long as it will hold dirt and a few plants. However, the main thing to remember is that all containers must have good drainage. Regardless of the type, they must have at least one drainage hole. It also helps to cover the hole inside the pot with a bit of broken pottery to facilitate steady drainage. Clay pots are classic, but water evaporates quickly in them in the heat. Plastic containers are lightweight and easy to move around. Wood and ceramic are also good choices. Let your pots make a statement, much as you would a new piece of furniture for your home.

Once you have your containers, next you need three key ingredients - a good quality potting soil or potting mix, water-retaining crystals and a slow-release granular fertilizer (try to choose one specifically for containers.) You shouldn't use soil from your garden because plants in your garden are different from container plants. Leave one or two inches between the soil and the top of the pot so there's room to water without soil spilling out of the container. When placing flowers in the container, a good rule of thumb is to think in terms of three rings: a center plant (usually the tallest plant,) then a ring of plants that cluster around the center plant and finally, an outer ring of plants to drape over the edge of the container. Some good choices for containers include large cannas, elephant's ears, guzmania and colocasias, mounding plants like hens and chicks, sage, ageratum, coral bells, black mondo grass, geraniums, verbena or dahlias (shorter varieties.) Geraniums are good plants for window boxes because they come in a variety of vibrant colors and last way into the fall. Of course, there are also a variety of vegetables and most any kind of herbs that can be grown on rooftop and balcony gardens. Just remember that pots tend to dry out very quickly, so check daily and water early in the morning or in the evening.


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