Our garden demonstrates that any space can be adapted to grow healthy food, even those with no soil or compost. Here are a range of situations that you may wish to explore at home, whether you have a limited space or a full size allotment:
Where there is a limited soil level or suitable growing media, try building up above the normal level to 150mm (6 inches) by using a solid material to edge the area such as timber. This construction will provide greater drainage and growing depth with the use of permanent paths to prevent compaction of the media.
Containers can be made from a range of materials, including terracotta, ceramics, wood, plastic, resin and metals. However, a minimum depth of 300mm (12 inches) is generally recommended to allow water retention with the volume of media used.
This involves the use of a shallow volume of slowly moving nutrient-enriched water: very much like the natural chalk springs that are used to grow watercress, Nasturtium officinale.
Narrow channels, usually 75mm (3 inches) wide and 50mm (2 inches) deep are used to supply the nutrient-enriched water and support the roots of the plants through suitably sized holes cut into the channel cover.
An electronic pump continually circulates the liquid past the plant roots to allow them to extract the nutrients they require for active growth. The nutrient balance and concentration is adjusted depending on the stage of growth and plant range.