Is Fire Escape Gardening Legal: Fire Escape Garden Ideas And Information

Is Fire Escape Gardening Legal: Fire Escape Garden Ideas And Information

By: Liz Baessler

Living in a city can put a real damper on gardening dreams. No matter how skilled a gardener you are, you can’t make land appear where there isn’t any. If you get creative, though, you can get pretty darn close. There’s one excellent growing location that’s usually native only to cities: fire escapes. Keep reading to learn some fire escape garden tips and fire escape garden ideas.

Gardening on a Fire Escape

There’s one big question that needs to be addressed first: Is fire escape gardening legal? That really depends upon your city, though the answer may very well be no.

Many gardeners who show off their fire escape gardens online acknowledge that they’re not following the letter of the law, but they always make sure to leave a path wide enough for people to pass in the event of a fire.

Contact your city to find out about local codes and laws BEFORE you do any gardening on a fire escape, and no matter what you do, make sure your fire escape is still useable.

Best Plants to Grow on a Fire Escape

What are the best plants to grow on a fire escape? One important key to remember when gardening on a fire escape is size. You don’t want to overcrowd the space, so small plants are best.

If you want to grow vegetables, cut and come again crops like lettuce and kale are good choices for utilizing the same space for a long time.

Hanging baskets on the outside of the railing will help to keep the path down below clear. If you’re putting pots on your fire escape, make sure to put saucers under them. Even though water runoff isn’t going to ruin any furniture outside, it’s a good idea to keep it from dripping down the wall or onto the street below.

If you’re worried about your neighbors reporting you, it’s best to make your garden as little of a nuisance as possible.

This article was last updated on

Read more about Urban Gardens


Growing Vegetables in Small Spaces

Is your garden bed a twin size versus a king? Or maybe you have no land at all, and only a tiny balcony or patio. No problem. As long as you can find a sunny location, either on the ground or in mid-air, you can satisfy your appetite for freshly picked produce.

Even in a small 4-foot by 4-foot bed like this, you can grow plenty of vegetables. Photo by: Arina P Habich | Shutterstock.

“Almost everyone has access to more space than they realize. It just takes a little creative thinking to see it,” says Andrea Bellamy, in her book Small-Space Vegetable Gardens. A rooftop, alleyway, front porch, and even a fire escape are all viable spots for growing vegetables. The keys to success are careful planning and making the most of what you’ve got.


On getting started

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

1. Just start. “Really, just start. Buy a pot. Buy potting soil,” says Viljoen. You’ll already be halfway to a garden by the time you decide what to plant in it.

2. Read up. “Educate yourself on the veggies you are choosing and their needs,” de Corral says. She learned the hard way that the tomato plants on the Brooklyn Grange, which get full sun, were extremely happy, while the tomatoes in her shady backyard refused to bear fruit. And that said …

3. Take notes, and look back on them every season. This is one of de Corral’s biggest tips: Learn from your mistakes and successes get yourself a journal and take careful note of what does and doesn’t work. You’ll not only have a record of what you grew every year, but you’ll also be able to track your progress (and only plant winners).

4. Seek out help from resources. “Ask questions at your nursery or reach out to companies like Brooklyn Grange!” says de Corral. Others have recommended local extension services or master gardeners. A brick-and-mortar nursery (and the people who staff it) is one of Viljoen’s favorite resources.

5. And use your neighbors as resources. Mitchell advises looking at the gardens around your neighborhood: “Chances are, that’s what will grow well in your garden too.”

6. Know your conditions, but don’t be intimidated by them. At first, de Corral was nervous that growing would be harder or harsher or less successful or more taxing in an urban environment. “But as it turns out, the basics are still the same: Plant a seed, make sure it’s getting adequate light and water, let nature do the rest,” she says.

7. That includes your soil. This is especially important if you live in a city, says Viljoen, who tends an impressively productive garden in her Brooklyn backyard. Get your soil tested! This will help guide you toward what to plant (or not). In addition to the mineral and chemical composition, learn whether it’s wet or dry, sandy or clay-rich.


Gardening Tips

Gardening can reward you with beautiful, fragrant flowers or a bountiful vegetable, fruit, and herb harvest. No matter what you're growing, there are some essentials every garden needs. Sunshine, water, and good soil are the basic necessities, but if you really want to go the extra mile, you can coax your garden into producing prize-winning specimens with a little work and some gardening know-how.

Give your garden the special attention it needs, and it will reward you all season long. Learn all about gardening through these topics:

Learn the basics for getting a vegetable garden in the ground and growing, including working with the seasons, caring for seeds and seedlings, and laying out your vegetable garden. You'll also find some handy tips for growing tomatoes.

Read about planting an herb garden, with tips on harvesting your herbs and growing a culinary garden indoors. You'll also learn about using perennial plants in your herb garden.

Learn how to plant, grow, and care for fruit trees and berry plants. Fruit trees need special maintenance to keep the pests away -- find tips for keeping your fruit healthy and infestation-free.

Tips for Growing Annuals and Biennials

Choose the right annuals and biennials for your climate and garden, and read our tips on laying out and caring for your flower garden. If cared for properly, annuals and biennials will give you a steady supply of flowers all season long.

Bulbs aren't as easy to grow as some flowering plants, but they'll reward your efforts with spectacular blooms from spring to late summer. Learn how to care for and display your bulb plants.

Tips for Growing Ground Covers and Vines

Ground covers can be a good alternative to grass when you need to cover a bare patch of soil. Learn about using vines and ground covers to enhance your garden.

Year after year, perennials brighten your garden with flowers and foliage. Read tips for choosing, planting, and caring for perennial plants.

Good garden soil is essential for healthy plants. Learn how to evaluate your soil and use a soil analysis to provide the right fertilizer for your plants.

Sometimes rainfall just isn't enough. Plants rely on water to grow and flourish -- read about tracking precipitation in your garden and making sure your plants are getting adequate moisture.

Without the sun, you don't have photosynthesis, and without photosynthesis, you don't have a garden. Learn how to get the most out of your garden in both shady and sunny conditions.

The right tools make any job easier, even gardening. Read our tips about caring for your gardening gear, along with how to properly prune and mulch your garden.

Many gardeners are finding success with chemical-free gardening practices, using only natural means to grow and protect their plants. Learn about composting, organic fertilizers, and natural pest control options.

When you grow your plants from seeds, cuttings, or divisions, you can choose from a wider variety of plants -- and you save money. Read these propagation tips to learn about sowing seeds, growing plants from cuttings, and more propagation methods.

Diseases and infestations can invade your garden and damage or destroy your plants. Learn about keeping pests and diseases away from your flowers and vegetables.

Rose gardens hold a special attraction for many gardeners. These plants need special care to thrive. Learn about caring for roses and protecting them from pests and diseases.

Shrubs can serve as boundaries in any garden, and they can also add foliage and flowers to your landscape. Read these tips about planting and caring for garden shrubs.

Tips for Growing Flowering Trees

Flowering trees are ideal for small gardens -- they provide shade and beauty without taking up too much space. Learn all about planting and caring for flowering trees.

Planting shade trees and evergreens in your yard has many benefits, including sheltering your house and yard from the summer sun and adding some much needed color to a bleak winter landscape. Learn all about planting and caring for shade trees and evergreens.

Container plants are perfect for spaces such as patios and decks, and they're a great way to get started with gardening. Read these tips to learn about selecting containers, preparing soil, and watering container plants.

A vegetable or flower garden doesn't have to take over your life -- or your budget. Read these tips to learn how to keep a garden that's inexpensive and easy to maintain.


When do I harvest?

Depending upon the type of seeds you've selected, your microgreens will be ready to harvest about two to three weeks after planting. Look for the first set of "true leaves" as a sign of readiness. Then grab your scissors and snip the greens just above the soil line.

To serve, wash the microgreens with water and dry with paper towels or a salad spinner. Harvest and serve them immediately for the freshest flavor, and add to soups, salads, sandwiches or main dishes. Store remaining cut microgreens in a plastic bag in your refrigerator.


5. Green Beans

My husband built a trellis in the garden area, and so I planted pole beans. It was important to me to have a garden area that is aesthetically pleasing. Pole beans are pretty, and once the beans get going, need to be picked frequently. If the beans get too big, they aren't as tasty. Pole beans take a little bit longer than other green bean varieties, but I think they are worth the wait. I love green beans with bacon, served alongside some corn bread and stewed tomatoes.


Watch the video: Fire Escape Plan A