The Urban Food Wall is perhaps the world's smallest food forest. I designed this garden to show how much food can be grown in the smallest possible space. The result was a productive area which was also calming and beautiful.
At the time, I lived in a small apartment, so efficient use of space was the most critical aspect of the design. I had no yard at all, but I did have a fairly large porch which had direct sun in the evenings.
The garden I created, which I'm calling the Urban Food Wall, was roughly one foot in depth by eleven feet wide. Due to the efficiency of the design and the linear shape, I was able to maintain full use of the patio as well. This was important to me because it had taken up the entire porch the previous season to grow in soil. As you can see in some of the videos, I later added a couple of fountains to give the garden more of a private feel using sound (not included in the above square footage calculation).
For this project, I grew all of the plants in fish tanks filled with water. Compared to when I had grown the same plants in soil the previous year, the plants in the Urban Food Wall grew over twice as quickly. This is important because if you are space constrained, you want to get as much productivity as possible from what space you do have. That's also why I tried to use a food forest approach here, combining different layers of the forest to try to get intensive plant spacings.
As you will see in the video tour below, the fish tanks did have fish in them. Actually, watching the fish turned out the be one of my favorite parts of the garden.
Regarding growing the plants in water, I invented a new kind of aquaponics for use in this garden named microponics. I believe microponics is the most square footage efficient aquaponics approach for small, boarding on tiny, spaces. For those interested in the details of the microponics design, as well as an introduction to aquaponics in general, see our forthcoming article, "How to Grow Your Own Food When You Have Limited Space."
Thank you for joining us on our garden tour!