You can find creative ways to nurture and grow food even without access to acres of farmland.
A chest-high block patio wall with openings facing upward is not
just contemporary screening to me. It is a potential container garden.
I filled the openings using appropriately sized pressed cow manure
peat pot containers filled with a rich bagged soil mix, then seeded or
planted herb and vegetable starts.
The biennial Swiss chard is producing for its second year having
over-wintered nicely with an urban heat effect from the pervious
pavement parking lot. I planted basil one day too early, and the frost
just nipped the tips. But the cold-hardy escarole provided fresh greens
for a garlic and cannellini bean sauté. It was so nice to step outdoors
to clip fresh cilantro and parsley all winter long. Mint, thyme and dill
are new additions for the spring.
So, urbanites and beach dwellers, take heed. You can find creative
ways to nurture and grow food even without access to acres of
farmland. You need a sunny spot, a container with good drainage,
a proper soil mix with good organic matter content, patience and
It’s not a “plant it and walk away” situation. You will need to learn,
engage, commune, sense the plant’s needs and respond as a loving
human. For some helpful reading, I recommend a Google search for
NCSU Vegetable Gardening: A Beginner’s Guide.
The N. C. Cooperative Extension center at the New Hanover
County Arboretum is also here to help. Feel free to give us a call at
910-798-7660. Lloyd Singleton, director • email@example.com
Lloyd Singleton grows vegetables and herbs in the block wall around his apartment’s patio in the South Front District of downtown Wilming-ton.
A compost tumbler (above, middle) keeps food scraps out of the landfill.