Urban Gardening

Greensgrow understands the unique issues facing city growers, we’ve had them all. Urban concerns like getting containers up to your roof, how to bring home pots on the bus, vandalism, cats and dogs abusing your street tree pit, noxious weeds, terrible soil, shade, privacy, smells and only enough space for a few wonderful plants.

We carry a wide array of containers, including fabric, ceramic and plastic in many sizes. We have lots of soil, including compressed bricks of coconut fiber. We have repellents for pesky animals and bugs that won’t leave chemical residues. Our organic fertilizers encourage healthy plants and soil. We also have just the right small-scale and slow-growing shrubs and evergreens to fill out your little landscape. And we have a sympathetic shoulder and lots of experience, so go ahead and tell us your story.

Soil testing

Starting a new garden? Getting your soil tested is job #1! All gardeners should test their soil to make sure they are being safe, especially in the city. If you are gardening in containers with store bought soils, you should be safe, but anyone who is gardening in the ground or is building raised beds should take special care to avoid lead or petrochemical contamination. Be careful when breathing in or touching soil you think may be contaminated.

State extension agencies offer reasonably priced soil testing. Look for a test that will detect check for you concerns, there are environmental tests that are different than fertility tests. Test are available from Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences and University of Massachusetts Amherst. Find out more about soil contamination and remeditation.

Know your hardiness zone

We are in plant hardiness zone 7B. Check plant tags for their hardiness zones before you buy to make sure they are appropriate for our region especially if you expect perennials to return each year. Because city streets and buildings absorb heat during the day, city nights stay hotter than areas that are less built up, as that heat radiates back into the air. This is called a heat sink. Greening our urban spaces can help keep us cooler. Planting a street tree in front of your house can help keep your heating and cooling bills lower. Come see what trees we have in stock! Find your plant hardiness zone.

Responsible Watering

Our summers can be extremely hot and watering is an important part of caring for your urban jungle. The best way to water your plants is to water in the morning a few times a week with a long slow drink at the soil level. In the morning more water goes to your plant and less water evaporates. Watering at the soil level conserves water by getting water to the roots where it is needed and not on the leaves of your plant which can promote sunburn and disease.

You can conserve water by capturing rainwater from your roof and diverting it into a rain barrel. This helps our water system in 2 ways. You are diverting storm water runoff from going directly into our city’s over-taxed sewer system and you are using more of the rainwater nature provides on your plants and less water from our reservoirs. Check with the Philadelphia Water Department for rain barrel workshops.