The Best Cities for Urban Gardening, According to a New Survey

Growing your own food and plants in a big city is a great way to get involved in your community, eat more healthfully, and beautify your space.

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If you're a city dweller who loves to garden, chances are you've been searching for ways to let your green thumb flourish. From getting involved in your community garden to transforming the roof of your apartment building into a plant oasis, there are plenty of opportunities to go green with limited square footage. How much opportunity, however, may depend on where you live. According to a new LawnStarter survey, certain cities are more urban gardening-friendly than others. To determine the best locations for this practice—which involves growing your own food and plants with minimal space in a big city—the company looked for neighborhoods with easy access to growing space and supplies, an ideal climate, and a local gardening community.

Based on LawnStarer's metric system, the company determined that St. Louis, Missouri, deserved the top spot. The locale received an overall score of 47.48 and ranked first for ample gardening space; it also scored well across other categories, including access to supplies, climate, and, most notably, community. The Gateway to the West provides ample social space for collaborating with other urban gardeners, primarily through its nonprofit network of urban farms, Urban Harvest STL, which donates most of its harvest to underserved populations. Rounding out the top five best cities for urban gardening is Cincinnati, Ohio, Atlanta, Georgia, Macon, Georgia, and Salt Lake City, Utah.

The city that received the lowest ranking is Anchorage, Alaska, which received an overall score of 12.81 due to its lack of access to supplies, small gardening community, and climate. But it's not all bad news: Anchorage ranked in the top 45 for its above-average access to gardening space. Other cities that joined Anchorage at the bottom of the list included: Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Laredo, Texas, Thornton, Colorado, and Detroit, Michigan.

If you're truly determined to get started on your own urban garden, though, it's important to know that location matters less than dedication—plus, we can help you get started. Whether or not you have balcony or rooftop access, you can still get to work inside your home. If you have a windowsill and a pot, start your own herb garden (you don't even have to go outside!). Simply place a couple of your desired seeds—think basil, cilantro, and mint—into planters and watch them thrive with some sunlight and a bit of water. Dreaming of the day you can have your own fruit garden? It's more in reach than you may think, even if you live in a city apartment. Fill a hanging basket with strawberries, since the fruit doesn't need an abundance of soil to grow happily.

And if you have a curious pet that will ruin an indoor growing space or you want to spend more time outdoors? We recommend getting involved in your community garden, which often have small plots available for rent or for a small donation. Reserve one and start growing your choice of fruits and vegetables. While you're tending to your slice of earth, try meeting a few new people who are also involved in the urban gardening community. Building friendships is a great way to deepen your connection to the space—and it will encourage you to keep going back.

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