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THERE’S a bit of a “green revo­lu­tion” hap­pen­ing in ur­ban ar­eas with the rise of small gar­dens and the de­mand for good-qual­ity fresh pro­duce, land­scape de­signer Nick Vale of Vale Green Life says.

Vale says short­age of space is not stop­ping ur­ban dwellers from giv­ing gar­den­ing a go. Most ur­ban gar­dens are hap­pily grow­ing in pots, up the wall, from the roofs and on tiny bal­conies.

“No mat­ter what re­stric­tions or how busy peo­ple are, they want to be able to go into the gar­den or on to their bal­cony to pick some fresh let­tuce and herbs,’’ he says.

Vale be­lieves the small­est yard, court­yard, deck or bal­cony can be turned into a green par­adise with some care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion.

One of the most im­por­tant things to con­sider is the space avail­able and what it will be used for.

Vale says when plan­ning a small gar­den ev­ery space can be used.

“Care has to be taken with small gar­dens to get the right bal­ance of plants and the planned use of the space,’’ he says.

“Don’t forget that the high walls and shad­ing from ad­join­ing build­ings can re­strict the amount of sun­light reach­ing small gar­dens and poor ven­ti­la­tion may re­sult in heat build-up, so plant se­lec­tion is crit­i­cal.’’

Vale says wa­ter re­quire­ment is an­other area of con­cern.

“Plants will help to cool the area but their wa­ter re­quire­ments will be high so an ef­fi­cient wa­ter­ing sys­tem is es­sen­tial,” he says.

And, he says, don’t forget soil qual­ity.

“Due to high lev­els of heavy metal con­tam­i­na­tion of soils in many in­ner-city and old in­dus­trial ar­eas, soils need to be tested be­fore ve­g­ies are planted,” he says. “Al­ter­na­tively, grow ve­g­ies in raised gar­den beds us­ing a high qual­ity vegie soil mix.

“Grow­ing ve­g­ies in pots or on a wall can dry out very quickly so an au­to­matic drip ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem is es­sen­tial,’’ he says.

Don’t forget th­ese are places to re­lax and en­ter­tain so the plant­ing should com­ple­ment and en­hance the space with­out dom­i­nat­ing it.

Grow a green wall . . . Nick Vale from Vale Green Life with his col­lec­tion of metal trel­lis. Bot­tom: How about a sky gar­den... BOSKKE Sky Planter drops right from the ceil­ing (thedesigngift­ or

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