container gardening for food

About Me, And Why I Chose to Make This Website...

Firstly, let me say welcome, and thank you for choosing to visit. The site has LOTS of hidden useful and informative pages, so don't be afraid to use the "Search This Site" bar to find what you are looking for.

My name is Rick, and this website is about the story of how I have been trying to grow my own food and learn about the hands-on realities of trying to be as self-sufficient as I can, with only my tiny urban patio garden to work with.

I live in the suburbs of a large town in central southern England.
My garden consists of a very small patio area, just 13 feet by 14 feet, with a small area to the rear where I keep a small shed and workshop.

My only blessing is that I'm fortunate enough to have a south-facing garden, and in the summer, parts of it can become quite a sun trap, provided the British weather is obliging, which, sadly over the past 4 summers it hasn't been. container gardening

I first conceived the idea of growing my own food when things started getting tight in my small business, due to the global downturn in the economy. It inspired me to start looking into ways of cutting down on spending, and becoming more self-sufficient.

Like a grown-up boy scout, I am, and have always been, a fan of general preparedness, and with what looks like hard times ahead for everyone, I figured now was a very good time to expand my preparedness repertoire, and learn how to grow food.

I found myself asking this question;
"With such a small garden, could I generate enough fresh food to the extent that I wouldn't need to go out and buy it?"

I guess there was only one way to find out, so I decided to take the plunge and go for it.

This website? is now in its fifth year of existence, and has become the focal point for my challenge, acting like a journal as I set about trying to prove to myself and to others that you don't need acres of land in the countryside to grow the things you need, and what better way to take-on that challenge, than by engaging it with no garden at all, just a tiny patio area.

container gardening

The picture on the right shows my garden early in the year after I had constructed a selection of food-growing areas. There is a vertical gardening framework (mid-left area) and two large square foot garden raised beds (right area) with a raised extension platform on which to place grow-bags (the red bags in the picture). I also built a long shelf in my conservatory plus an experimental hydroponics system in which I hoped to grow more food.

During the growing season, I put to the test the different theories and methods of growing foods, as preached by the advocates of these techniques, to try to find out whether growing your own food in any meaningful quantity is possible within a small urban space.

My garden as of mid-July

vertical gardening

The results of the growing season were mixed. I had successes in some areas and failures in others, but the whole venture was extremely educational and I came away with so much knowledge and experience.

The video below is my conclusion video from last year

The Experiment Continues....

This coming growing season I will be using some of the things I learned over previous years to continue growing my own food.

This Year (2014)
A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to get myself an allotment from the local council (was on a waiting list for 2 years).

As this website is primarily about growing food in small spaces, I won't be including my allotment endeavors here, but I do have plans to start a new and separate 'sister-website' to cover the allotment growing. Building these kinds of website are a big deal and a major undertaking, so I'll probably wait until I've got at least a couple of year's worth of allotment growing experience before starting work on the new site.

You can follow my ongoing progress with the allotment through my weekly YouTube video series called Rick's Allotment produced for my main Rickvanman YouTube channel.

All of the articles written here are based on my own research and my personal experiences as I try to fulfil my challenge of growing the things I need. I've also tried to include well-researched general "how-to" information pages, such as how to grow peppers for example, to make the website as comprehensive and as useful as it can be.

container gardening

I do hope this website can inspire others to try their own 'urban farming' projects for themselves, and I encourage those that do to write of your experiences in the global gardening blog, and other "Have Your Say" interactive pages I have provided throughout the website. (Click here)

Thanks for reading.
Happy gardening!


PS I've had a number of queries from people asking me how I made this website, and how I get the high visitor numbers that I get.
My secret is an idiot-proof company called SBI They are very good at helping people like me (who don't know the first thing about building websites) not only build a website from scratch, but also to make it turn a profit. I genuinely couldn't have built this site without them.
I've put a link here in case you want a quick look at what they do.

container gardening

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