Urban Garden 101: How to Garden Like a Pro in the City

Greens, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, spinach—you name it, we’ll garden it!

Well, except if you live in a 700-square-foot apartment in the heart of the city. Come on, who grows vegetables and greens in the concrete jungle? It’s impossible…or is it?

Enter the urban garden, a green thumb’s haven in the city or the ‘burbs.

The truth is, urban gardens and gardening isn’t something new. It’s been around for a while, but people have only gotten interested in it recently, especially with the pandemic having everyone cooped up in their homes. 

Here’s all you need to know about urban gardening:

The Benefits of Urban Gardening

“Why would I wanna get into urban gardening?”

More like, why not get into it? Urban gardening’s got so many benefits that we’re sure it’s going to do a number on you.

Here are the top benefits that a lot of people seem to appreciate:

You Get a Steady Supply of Healthy Food

Right off the bat, the thought of living in the city but having control of your food choices just ticks all the right boxes. You get to create a healthy diet that benefits you and your family. You get to enjoy the fruit of your labors and the veggies as well. And hey, this means one less trip to the grocery store for produce, too.

You Can Secure That Supply All Year Round

The thing with urban gardening is that you can also control the location where you grow your food, which means environmental conditions become less of a worry. Whether it’s summer or cold winter, the fact that you have your urban garden set up to supply you with food all year round will put you at ease. 

You Become Self-Sufficient

Look. As preppers, being fully self-sufficient is the dream, and tending to your urban garden sets you up for success. With a little effort, patience, and learning, you’ll realize that being self-sufficient is fantastic and easy to do. MacGyver would be proud.

You Save Money

Living in the city can cost you, and a big chunk of your budget is for food. Growing your food through your urban garden helps cut down on expenses. Also, if you end up having extra produce, you can sell it and earn a bit. You save money, and you make some. How awesome is that?

You Gain a New Skill

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With how busy and caught up everyone is with the modern world, gardening is a great skill to have. It’s something you can pass on or teach to friends and family. Plus, it’ll be super useful for a post-SHTF life. It’s a hobby AND a survival skill rolled into one.

You’re Doing Your Part

We know how hard it is to grow lush greens in concrete jungles, but the breath of life you give your city with your urban garden is enough to create a positive impact. Good on you, buddy!

Urban Garden Ideas

The great thing about urban gardening is that you don’t need a huge backyard or a large piece of land. You can use a lot of different mediums and methods to get started.

Being a self-sufficient prepper is a dream you can fulfill even if you’re living in the city. Here are some impressive urban garden ideas you can start in your very own home:

Hydroponic Gardens

Gaining a lot of recognition in the world of urban gardening, hydroponic gardens are ingenious and utilize small spaces very well, perfect for tiny apartments. They use no soil and, instead, have plants growing in water full of nutrients.

This system of gardening speeds up the growth of plants and vegetables like lettuce, bell peppers, and herbs. This makes it really appealing to a lot of people, us included.

Aeroponic Gardens

If you’ve got hydro, you’ve got aero. Aeroponic gardening is the advanced form of hydroponics. It favors the use of a “mist” environment over soil. Cool, huh? 

A lot of gardeners swear their plants and produce are tastier and more colorful when they use aeroponic methods for their gardens. Tomatoes and eggplant thrive in this type of urban garden. We can’t fully explain how cool it is, but we’ve got this video to show you instead.

Mistponic Gardens

Also known as fogponics, this type of garden takes aeroponics and boosts it to an advanced level. Water is still used to grow plants but in a vaporized form. You use up to 65% less water as compared to hydroponic gardening.

Smaller plants are best for this urban garden. Think of herbs like basil, cilantro, oregano, tarragon, and thyme.

Aquaponic Gardens

This is our last “ponic,” we promise, but it’s one of the more interesting ones, too. Why? Well, for this one, you’re not only cultivating plants—you’re also cultivating fish! The fish contribute to the growth of your crops by converting their waste into plant nutrients.

Also, you don’t have to use only fish; prawns and snails in the water are perfectly acceptable. As for plants, you’d have a great time growing kale, spinach, swiss chard, and arugula.

Vertical Gardens

Also known as living green walls or live walls, vertical gardens use a technique that has plants growing vertically, ideally on a suspended panel. It’s a great way to have a garden in your home, especially if space is limited. A blank wall will be enough for this fantastic gardening method. You can grow beans, carrots, and garlic.

Rooftop Gardens

Pretty straightforward, roof gardens are more common in the city than you think. A view from the top shows you green gardens dotting roofs. It adds a nice decorative touch but also lets you cultivate food like chilies, peppers, cucumber, and radishes, right where you live with ease.

Window Farms

A window farm is a garden that uses a window to create an indoor garden. Developed by Britta Riley, this gardening method uses natural light and “liquid soil,” nutrient-spiked water, to help your garden of yummy leafy greens thrive all year round.

Community Gardens

Gather ’round, people, and let’s get our green thumbs on!

Community gardening is a fun type of urban gardening that has the whole community pitching in to help sustain a thriving garden. If you live in a building, you can convince your neighbors to start a community garden that can provide you with all the produce you need. The possibilities don’t end there. You can also find community gardens in schools, hospitals, and even in some offices and workplaces.

Community gardens seem to be a perfect urban garden set up for when after SHTF and you’re bugging out with friends and family.

Container Gardens

Perhaps the most common type of urban garden, this is also the easiest way to grow vegetables and the most traditional. You use the pots or containers of your choice to grow plants perfect for your salads and cooking.

What You Need for Your Urban Garden and Why

It’s one thing to know about gardening, but a whole different ball game to understand what you need for it and why.

Let’s walk you through this.

A Proper Mindset

Ask anyone, and they’ll tell you that the right mindset is needed to grow a garden successfully. Having a healthy and positive mindset boosts your self-esteem and helps you bounce back when those tomatoes don’t grow as they should or when those seeds don’t sprout at all. This will reinforce your attitude and outlook toward urban gardening.

Honestly, we’ll advocate a proper mindset with any and all survival and prepping projects.

A Goal

As you research more about your urban garden plans, think of what you want to achieve out of this—your goal. Do you want to make this a hobby? Is the thought of being self-sufficient your goal? Do you want to be well-prepped in terms of food when SHTF? Understand your goal and work on getting to that and cultivating it. 

As we like to say at HQ, a plan without a goal is just an endless journey to nothingness.

The Right Knowledge

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Buy your seeds, plant them, and voila—that’s all it takes to grow a garden. Well, to a general extent, you’re right. That’s all there is to it! But peel back the layers, and you’ll find that there are a lot of things to learn about when it comes to urban gardening. 

Equipping yourself with the proper knowledge, doing your research, and understanding the topic better will lessen your chances of fumbling things up and killing a few plants or two. How are you going to survive TEOTWAWKI if you can’t keep a plant alive?

The Right Equipment

Do you want to pot up your plants, or will you do a vertical garden instead? Because we’re going to tell you right now, the things you need for a potted plant are going to be slightly different from the things you need for a vertical garden. Getting the right stuff matters here, people. Plus, you don’t want to be wasting money on things you might not even need.

The Seeds

Do we even need to explain this? Without the seeds, your garden is just a sad patch of soil. Your seeds are the building blocks to a great garden and a steady food supply. Don’t. Forget. Them. 


You can get seeds from your local grocery store, gardening shops, the farmer’s market, or even from the fruits and veggie scraps in your own pantry.

Get Started

Now that you have an idea of what urban garden setup you can have and a general overview of the things you need, it’s time to get started. Here are the five easy steps to get the ball rolling:

Define your Space

No space is too small for a garden! You must be realistic with the space you have because the area you have available will define the setup you should get.

Take note of the elements your garden will be exposed to in your chosen area because these factors will also dictate the success of your garden. 

Choose Your Plants and Get the Seeds

It might sound like a big and important task, but it’s also going to be a fun one. Choosing the plants you want to have in your garden is going to be a blast. But first, make sure to plant only what you have space for and what you want. You shouldn’t be planting a row of red bell peppers if you’re picking them off your food. We want you to be self-sufficient, not wasteful in terms of both food and space.

Start small and take baby steps from there. We suggest getting seeds of the things you use most in cooking to start you off on your journey.

Set It Up

Once you’ve got your space, equipment, and seeds down, it’s time to set the garden up! For this one, you can either DIY it according to the garden setup you want, or you can buy pre-made urban garden setups.

If you want to make this urban garden of yours have that personal touch, DIY-ing it gets a nod from us.


Once done, plant your seed or seedlings, give ’em their first taste of water, and there you go! You’ve kickstarted your journey, and it’s time to enjoy the process and, hopefully, soon, your produce.

Bonus: Why an Entrenching Tool Is a Must

If you had to choose only one gardening tool and stick to that for the rest of your urban gardening career and life, what would you choose?

We’d have no trouble answering that. Of course, we’re going to say a reliable entrenching tool like TAC9ER’s collapsible e-tool shovel.

Instead of having several different gardening tools, having one ultimate tool just works. It can easily be stored, doesn’t take up much space, and has multiple uses! Aside from it working as a shovel, you can turn the TAC9ER collapsible e-tool shovel into a pick, saw, or hoe.

An urban garden is a smart choice for preppers and survivalists, and an intelligent tool to make it all work shows just how forward-thinking and practical you are. Survival chances through the roof!

Final Thoughts

This topic might be intimidating, but once you get the technicalities out of the picture and do your research better, it becomes a project that hits close to prepping home.

Remember, you’ll need a lot of time, patience, and love (toward your new friendly greens). Still, by doing this, you pave the path to surviving in the urban jungle better.

Have other urban garden ideas you want to share? Let us know in the comments!

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