Atlanta named one of the top 5 cities for urban gardening

Small garden in front of the Dutch house. Netherlands

If it seems everyone has a green thumb, it’s because millions of Americans fell in love with gardening during the pandemic. Community gardens, container gardens, and vertical plant walls are sprouting all over.

But not every concrete jungle is ripe for urban gardening, so where can city-dwelling green thumbs find their slice of paradise?

To mark Lawn and Garden Month, LawnStarter ranked 2021’s Best Cities for Urban Gardening by comparing the 150 biggest U.S. cities across 12 key factors. The dataset ranges from the average amount of sunshine between spring and fall to community-garden access to the availability of regional gardening clubs. 

Atlanta was ranked No. 5 in the report, just behind St. Petersburg, Florida. Fort Lauderdale, Florida was ranked No. 1.

Highlights and Lowlights:

It’s Always Sunny (and Wet) in Florida: Florida dominates our urban gardening ranking, with Fort Lauderdale at No. 1 and three other Sunshine State cities in the top 10. Why? A winning weather combo: above-average performance in sunshine and top marks in precipitation. After all, plants can’t grow on light alone — they need to drink, too.

Bonus points: Eight of the top 10 cities in the climate category all hail from the Sunshine State — a misnomer, considering Florida’s biggest cities aren’t actually the sunniest in America (that title belongs to Arizona). 

SoCal, So Good: California cities give Florida gardeners a run for their money — particularly around the Los Angeles metro area. With four cities in the top 10 overall and half of the top 20, the Golden State also sweeps the gardening environment and profit potential categories. 

Where the state fails to impress: climate. No California city made it to the top 25. While many get plenty of sun, they get little rain between spring and fall. In fact, all of the Golden State’s biggest cities rank in the bottom third of average precipitation — with Bakersfield dead last.

Stars of the South: Two Southern cities — Atlanta and Baton Rouge — landed at Nos. 5 and 8 on our urban gardening ranking. Both cities have ideal weather for growing greenery; each also excels in the gardening environment category. 

Atlanta leads the nation’s community gardening movement (and food forest movement), with over 51 community gardens per 100,000 residents. Baton Rouge outshines the Southern region and the rest of America with the biggest yards, an average of nearly 24,000 square feet of lawn.

Northern Gardening Exposure: One thing is clear from our ranking: Urban gardening is tougher in colder regions. Our worst city by far is Anchorage, Alaska, for obvious reasons. It ranked dead last in sunshine, precipitation, and was tops in the number of very cold days. 

Cities like Chicago, Detroit, and St. Paul didn’t fare well, either. With more very cold days, residents of these Northern cities have to work harder at urban gardening — making the most of those warmer days and investing in greenhouses and hoop houses.

The full ranking and analysis can be found here:

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