Chow Time: Grow an Organic Garden in the City

Organic food has always been a priority in our household, especially with two young girls to feed. Buying organic food at the grocery store or farmer’s market feels good, but growing my own organic food feels stupendous!  There’s nothing like my little girls digging in the dirt and asking if they can pick more snow peas to eat.  Not only do I get to grow amazing things like heirloom tomatoes (that go for $3.99 per pound in the store) and gourmet greens ($1.99 per pack in the store), but my time in the kitchen naturally sways towards what’s growing in the garden.

I love the idea of “guaranteed organic” and knowing my source – it’s freedom and fun all tied into one.   It’s like telling those GMO farmers, “No thanks, I’m covered.”  And I want to help everyone do it. If you’re interested in starting your own garden, here are some simple steps to get you started.

  • Find a spot with enough SUN (minimum 6 hours). If you’re not sure how much sun you have you can buy a sunlight calculator
  • Decide what you LIKE to eat and then plant it. I suggest starting with lettuces and greens like Swiss chard. They’re easy and grow quickly.
  • Start with a SMALL garden box or pot. You can make a box, buy one or use a pot.
  • Get great SOIL – this is KEY. Go to your local nursery and pick up high quality organic soil – we like E.B. Stone or Happy Frog.
  • Plant organic seeds or buy seedlings in moist soil.
  • WATER – Only water every few days, over watering KILLS edibles. Read your seed packet for guidance.

Take a 5 minute peek at your mini-farm everyday – just to make sure they’re happy and no bugs have moved in. If you skip a few days, it’s fine (I certainly do). And then watch your garden grow. Harvest & enjoy.

Carol Carimi Acutt in her garden - Photo by Stefan Studer

Carol Carimi  Acutt is the Founder of, a place to share ideas, products & tips for backyard farming. After experimenting with growing her own organic veggies successfully, she wanted to bring backyard farming to everyone living in urban areas. She believes anyone can grow food in the city. With a garden box, some good soil, water and sun, lots of things will grow bountifully. She’s here to help you grow your own vegetables with ease and grace, and only a little bit of time. If you don’t know where to start, Urban Fig has all the supplies you need to grow your garden in easy to use pre-packed packages.  For more information, email Carol at or go to or

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