There seems to be an increasing trend towards making urban areas more green, and this extends to inner-suburb homes as well. Many people are trying to incorporate vegetable and herb gardens into their low maintenance townhouse backyards.
If you are stuck with a completely paved or concreted area, don't worry - you can build a garden planter box too! A perfect way to spend a summer afternoon, and a great source of vegetables for the dinner table, there's no excuse not to get stuck in.
Small spaces are OK
Believe it or not, a 4 feet by 4 feet square is an ideal size for a veggie garden at home. Not only will you be able to plant a bunch of different plants in this space, but you will be able to easily reach across the entire garden without stretching or walking through the beds.
Concrete is OK too, as this is a self-contained design and doesn't need to be placed on grass or soil..
Get your materials
First things first: You'll need some lumber and screws, as well as means to cut and join. Timber that is approximately 6 inches wide, and an inch or less thick, is ideal. However, there are no hard and fast rules. A table saw or compound mitre saw is the easiest solution for multiple precise cuts.
If you're creating a planter box that will go over a grassed area, be sure to get some weed mat to stop unwanted guests populating your new garden. And in the case that you're working in a paved area, consider some plastic or plywood to form the bottom of your planter box.
Of course soil and seeds will be required when you're done.
Plan your garden in squares
Creating a 4 feet by 4 feet garden gives you 16 small squares of 12 inches by 12 inches which can each be used for different vegetables, giving you a large variety of greens for your household. Use thin beads of wood or even some string to delineate your squares - a staple gun is super handy for this, as well as for securing the plywood or weed mat underneath your box.
You can also create small 1 foot by 1 foot squares to vertically extend your garden, or to use as a compost pile.
Things to remember
Growing your own organic produce is great - but remember, if organic is your aim, avoid pesticides and herbicides, and also carefully consider your building materials. Treated wood can leach chemicals into your soil, and therefore your food.
Different plants also need varying amounts of space to grow. Some plants will need a whole square foot to themselves, while others will be just fine if you pack 12 or 16 of them in the same space.
Lastly, plant for the season - and your skill. Things like tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce are very forgiving plants which could give you the experience you need to tackle more complex planting tasks.