2022’s Best Cities for Urban Gardening

Group of friends planting crops on a rooftop garden

Urban gardening — or growing your own food in the limited square footage of a big city — requires a shovel, seeds, and some creativity.

So, where can city-dwelling green thumbs find their patch of paradise?

To mark April as Lawn and Garden Month, LawnStarter ranked 2022’s Best Cities for Urban Gardening. We looked for cities with easy access to gardening space and supplies, an ideal climate, and a local gardening community.

What exactly is urban gardening? Think empty parking lot-turned-communal veggie plot, rooftop container garden, or vertical plant wall — and sharing your bounty. This global movement is as much about growing food as it is about cultivating community.

Check out our ranking below, followed by some highlights, lowlights, and insights from urban gardening experts.

Table of Contents

  1. City Rankings
  2. Highlights and Lowlights
  3. Ask the Experts
  4. Methodology
  5. Why This Study Matters

City Rankings 

See how each city fared in our ranking:

OVERALL RANKCityOverall ScoreGardening Space RankSupplies RankClimate RankCommunity Rank
1St. Louis, MO47.4811514620
2Cincinnati, OH43.468221482
3Atlanta, GA39.342635849
4Macon, GA38.53418610519
5Salt Lake City, UT38.2857217210
6Miami, FL37.841201137
7Winston-Salem, NC37.6713127931
8Baton Rouge, LA35.963775590
9Augusta, GA35.4914193716
10Salem, OR34.9136101563
11Clarksville, TN34.83717013038
12Mobile, AL33.70614543116
13Knoxville, TN33.212180948
14Murfreesboro, TN32.601210114526
15Richmond, VA32.2223709111
16Savannah, GA31.8830129649
17Chattanooga, TN31.811114910843
18Santa Rosa, CA31.336395215
19Orlando, FL31.058026916
20New York, NY30.9725866518
21Worcester, MA30.9198215267
22Little Rock, AR30.4470151567
23Virginia Beach, VA30.37100177544
24Alexandria, VA30.1485118612
25Escondido, CA29.4581174128
26Fayetteville, NC28.872615911121
27Jackson, MS28.581017372179
28Birmingham, AL28.5728957427
29Fort Lauderdale, FL28.511357262
30Durham, NC28.172015611932
31Tampa, FL27.38112421234
32Springfield, MO27.16509213717
33San Francisco, CA27.1318362529
34Rochester, NY26.91422018224
35Port St. Lucie, FL26.7944179798
36Jersey City, NJ26.7919175765
37Minneapolis, MN26.55821318014
38Nashville, TN26.373918512925
39Huntington Beach, CA26.33124271639
40Grand Rapids, MI26.02223217948
41Eugene, OR25.69512315446
42Huntsville, AL25.671718384101
43Hialeah, FL25.6118642102
44Indianapolis, IN25.571514816194
45Raleigh, NC25.48627411630
46Oakland, CA25.35175361036
47Oceanside, CA25.26115573145
48Austin, TX25.20959911822
49Riverside, CA25.1777284082
50Greensboro, NC25.122414410379
51St. Petersburg, FL24.97109351184
52Bellevue, WA24.8848548171
53Pasadena, CA24.66781916149
54Tucson, AZ24.6340817072
55Boise, ID24.55896718613
56Vancouver, WA24.381025510633
57Montgomery, AL24.26321749066
58San Bernardino, CA24.07751164668
59Portland, OR24.05139406735
60Cape Coral, FL24.04791478119
61Salinas, CA24.01108245175
62Sacramento, CA23.96152245147
63Seattle, WA23.86193187923
64Dayton, OH23.85527315061
65Santa Ana, CA23.82167335117
66Anaheim, CA23.81168301663
67Tacoma, WA23.64873710457
68Santa Clarita, CA23.55761722885
69Shreveport, LA23.541912680158
70San Diego, CA23.301531363340
71Fremont, CA23.211401642254
72Tallahassee, FL22.913411562139
73Denver, CO22.86296118955
74Hollywood, FL22.80156442161
75Ontario, CA22.77143382992
76Long Beach, CA22.75188652444
77Fort Wayne, IN22.6816122160162
78Oxnard, CA22.67163214483
79Chula Vista, CA22.58961523396
80Akron, OH22.554910617053
81Boston, MA22.48681058377
82Naperville, IL22.41646217842
83Garden Grove, CA22.351421435150
84Tempe, AZ22.24865013269
85Newport News, VA22.077316753105
86San Jose, CA21.95166852575
87Columbus, GA21.933318866144
88Torrance, CA21.91178838146
89Scottsdale, AZ21.9038182132100
90Memphis, TN21.896716263108
91Elk Grove, CA21.89181464265
92Rockford, IL21.705610317759
93Charlotte, NC21.67651328899
94Irvine, CA21.66164781693
95Chesapeake, VA21.655719561118
96Orange, CA21.53170535186
97Modesto, CA21.42137438970
98Aurora, IL21.42936816751
99Jacksonville, FL21.291271763297
100Baltimore, MD21.2513111410250
101Los Angeles, CA21.231559415109
102Mesa, AZ21.177410813286
103Rancho Cucamonga, CA21.121469629110
104Columbus, OH21.0627128176123
105Glendale, CA21.05174871691
106Louisville, KY21.008812121151
107Houston, TX20.941381335974
108Fresno, CA20.941146969107
109Pembroke Pines, FL20.751501042189
110Miramar, FL20.73159902189
111McKinney, TX20.701239114160
112Madison, WI20.434614118576
113Newark, NJ20.27180989241
114Fullerton, CA20.261655616159
115Pomona, CA20.241332949172
116Phoenix, AZ20.2111113975103
117Tulsa, OK20.1466143117128
118Lakewood, CO20.141841194189
119Dallas, TX20.1198113107106
120Plano, TX20.071196614181
121Lexington, KY20.0111817813964
122Olathe, KS19.9855107125164
123Sunnyvale, CA19.9416111014154
124Syracuse, NY19.884347184145
125Grand Prairie, TX19.8492120114115
126Washington, DC19.81195898631
127Overland Park, KS19.7353135125157
128Kansas City, KS19.7137191109186
129Norfolk, VA19.7012515847135
130New Orleans, LA19.6017317027111
131Albuquerque, NM19.519010216489
132Hayward, CA19.491727613177
133San Antonio, TX19.4759155147138
134Springfield, MA19.4154123144174
135Pittsburgh, PA19.401511617580
136Cary, NC19.3883140111148
137Brownsville, TX19.387219468152
138Moreno Valley, CA19.3814410948141
139Bakersfield, CA19.3612812112088
140Frisco, TX19.3615812515156
141Honolulu, HI19.341074857137
142Des Moines, IA19.3161154163122
143Metairie, LA19.281873423166
144St. Paul, MN19.221543318158
145Stockton, CA19.211455913194
146Lincoln, NE19.074188183143
147Midland, TX18.9635142157189
148Corona, CA18.861605149180
149Kansas City, MO18.8569181109153
150Yonkers, NY18.751946012352
151Pasadena, TX18.7111315759173
152Fort Worth, TX18.66104153128126
153Peoria, AZ18.6512919097104
154Glendale, AZ18.4613213097121
155Chandler, AZ18.4312179132133
156Buffalo, NY18.401364917487
157Cleveland, OH18.3511671159124
158McAllen, TX18.319916182165
159Gilbert, AZ18.24134112132113
160Omaha, NE18.228484171131
161Las Vegas, NV18.1717753100112
162Corpus Christi, TX18.1512216877142
163Providence, RI18.121856414078
164Fontana, CA18.101909339134
165Arlington, TX18.06130117127125
166Amarillo, TX17.8247146166184
167Toledo, OH17.6797118173120
168Oklahoma City, OK17.4910617995160
168Wichita, KS17.4960138155185
170Reno, NV17.4031131188181
171Paterson, NJ17.3817624113170
172Irving, TX17.31162100114129
173Lancaster, CA17.1311016578189
174Fort Collins, CO17.117131190178
175El Paso, TX17.02126187138140
176Killeen, TX16.91103169153169
177Spokane, WA16.825845192176
178Henderson, NV16.7614816385156
179North Las Vegas, NV16.62157192100136
180Lubbock, TX16.5791134158183
181Joliet, IL16.5194160165171
182Philadelphia, PA16.391961379673
183Bridgeport, CT16.381713999189
184Milwaukee, WI16.1814983169130
185Palmdale, CA16.1114118473189
186Arlington, VA16.11169150124155
187Garland, TX15.9518958149132
188Aurora, CO15.83101175193114
189Colorado Springs, CO15.0511797187147
190Mesquite, TX14.67184111141168
191Chicago, IL14.39192124162127
192Sioux Falls, SD13.56105119195182
193Laredo, TX13.44178189122188
194Thornton, CO13.2414752191189
195Detroit, MI13.12182166168163
196Anchorage, AK12.8145196196167
Infographic showing the best and worst cities for urban gardening, a ranking based on access to gardening spaces, length of each city's growing season, climate, and gardening communities
Note: We ranked 196 cities in each of the above metrics. However, the lowest-ranking position for some metrics may not be 196 due to a number of ties among cities.

Highlights and Lowlights

Setting the Standard in St. Louis

The Gateway to the West is also the gateway to urban agriculture. Our 2022 Urban Gardening Capital not only leads the nation’s 196 biggest cities in access to gardening space, but it also provides ample social space for cross-pollinating ideas with other urban gardeners.

As a prime example of fostering community through urban farming, St. Louis is home to Urban Harvest STL. This nonprofit network of urban farms donates most of its harvest to underserved populations and educates locals on community farming.

Georgia on My Mind

Urban gardening is just peachy in the Peach State, the only state with more than one city in our top 10. They include Atlanta at No. 3, Macon at No. 4, and Augusta in ninth place. Savannah also finished at a very respectable No. 16. 

Each of these cities has top access to private and public gardening spaces and has well-established gardening communities, the central idea behind the urban gardening movement. In 2021, Atlanta built the nation’s largest free-food forest to address its population’s food insecurity problem.

Rough Patches in Colorado

The Centennial State has sown a reputation as a sustainability leader, but the emphasis on urban gardening seems to be lacking in its biggest cities.

Half of the Colorado cities in our ranking are among those in our bottom 10. Aurora finished at No. 188, Colorado Springs at No. 189, and Thornton in 194th place. All three performed poorly in nearly every category. 

There’s one bright spot: Denver leads the Colorado pack at No. 74, thanks to one of the highest numbers of community gardens and gardening Meetup groups among all 196 cities.

Northern Gardening Exposure

Urban gardening clearly is tougher in colder regions. Our worst city is Anchorage, Alaska, ranking last in both Climate and Supplies and No. 167 in Community. Its one sunny quality: above-average access to gardening space, ranking No. 45 overall in this category.

Other cold cities like Chicago, Detroit, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, also fared poorly for the same reason. With comparatively more frigid days, these Northern cities have to work harder at urban gardening — making the most of those warmer days and investing in greenhouses and hoop houses.

Ask The Experts

Urban gardening has many advantages, but getting started can be tricky. We asked a panel of experts in the field to help our readers navigate the urban gardening landscape. See what they had to share below.

  • Besides sheer pleasure, what are the top three benefits of gardening?
  • What are your top three tips for first-time gardeners?
  • For those who live in big cities with few or no community gardens, what are the best alternatives?
  • The pandemic spurred a gardening boom in the U.S. and around the world. Do you expect this trend to continue post-pandemic? Why or why not?
Francesco Di Gioia, Ph. D.
Assistant Professor of Vegetable Crop Science
Susan Barton, PhD
Professor and Extension Specialist
Kathy Kelley, Ph.D.
Professor of Horticultural Marketing and Business Management
Austin Little
Horticulture Educator
Dr. Carolyn W. Robinson
Department of Horticulture
Ashraf El-kereamy, Ph.D.
Director of Lindcove Research and Extension Center, Cooperative Extension Specialist
Lucy Bradley
Associate Department Head and Department Extension Leader
Cale A. Bigelow, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Turf Science, Management and Ecology
Francesco Di Gioia, Ph. D.
Assistant Professor of Vegetable Crop Science
Pennsylvania State University, College of Agriculture

Besides sheer pleasure, what are the top three benefits of gardening?

  1. Reconnecting with nature and with yourself
  2. Contributing to the preservation of the environment
  3. Contributing to your own health

What are your top three tips for first-time gardeners?

  1. Observe and learn.
  2. Educate yourself, asking who knows more.
  3. Experiment/try and exchange seeds/plant material/tips.

For those who live in big cities with few or no community gardens, what are the best alternatives?

Use an indoor space or a balcony/patio, and produce microgreens, even on a windowsill.

The pandemic spurred a gardening boom in the U.S. and around the world. Do you expect this trend to continue post-pandemic? Why or why not?

I think that the pandemic increased people’s awareness and attention to what is essential and more important. Food and nutrition security is clearly very important for everyone, and discovering that the availability of food is not something to take for granted changed the mindset and way of thinking/living for a lot of people.

Moreover, being more isolated at home, more people discovered the pleasure and multiple benefits of gardening. I think this trend will continue even post-pandemic because this pandemic is leaving a big mark on everyone, and people will continue to value the benefits of gardening. Gardening could be associated also with well-being, and it is difficult to ignore something after you benefit from it.

Susan Barton, PhD
Professor and Extension Specialist
University of Delaware

Besides sheer pleasure, what are the top three benefits of gardening?

Gardening is great physical exercise. Ornamental gardens provide spaces you can enjoy outdoors, and vegetable gardens provide great access to healthy food.

What are your top three tips for first-time gardeners?

  1. Use plants in masses; don’t plant just one.
  2. Pay attention to the soil; everything starts there. If your soil is not healthy (loose and rich, moist enough but not wet) your plants won’t do well.
  3. Pick plants that flower or fruit over a period of time. Don’t go to the garden center and pick everything that is blooming now. You want to have extended interest in your garden and food to harvest throughout the year.

For those who live in big cities with few or no community gardens, what are the best alternatives?

You can garden in containers on balconies or on the roof (if it is flat).

The pandemic spurred a gardening boom in the U.S. and around the world. Do you expect this trend to continue post-pandemic? Why or why not?

I believe the trend will continue. Of course, when people go back to traveling there will be less time or need to garden, but once you’ve caught the bug it is hard to give it up. Once you realize the benefits of having an active relationship with the outdoors, you won’t want to stop.

Kathy Kelley, Ph.D.
Professor of Horticultural Marketing and Business Management
Penn State College of Agriculture, Department of Plant Science

Besides sheer pleasure, what are the top three benefits of gardening?

  • For many years, gardening has been promoted as an activity that engages seniors and keeps their bodies and minds active. An elevated gardening surface, such as a raised bed, makes it easier for someone who might be older, or have mobility issues, to garden. Learn more about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s views on gardening and healthy aging.
  • Parents, teachers, and others who interact with children use gardening as a way to help them learn “where their food comes from.” Young children may not understand that food in the grocery store or the flowers they see in a shop have to be sown/propagated and nurtured to reach a certain size and maturity level before being harvested and/or eaten.
  • Specific plants are shown to help build pollinator populations, such as bees, butterflies, other beneficial insects, and hummingbirds. Several plants are available that are visually appealing and provide shelter and nectar/pollen for these and other valuable pollinators. The U.S. Forest Service provides an overview of gardening for pollinators.
  • Home gardeners also tend to enjoy the benefit of harvesting their food. Satisfaction can range from growing something from seed to having access to specific vegetables, fruits, and herbs that are not available in their local area.

What are your top three tips for first-time gardeners?

  1. Start small. As with any hobby, it is easy to invest a fair amount of money to buy seeds, plants, supplies, etc. It may not be until someone goes through an entire growing season to decide whether they enjoy grown plants and gardening. While a flower garden certainly can increase the visual appeal of an outdoor space, there is a bit of work involved before, during, and even after the season ends.
  2. Talk to neighbors and gardeners in your area, and ask them what grows well for them. Ask where they get seeds and plants and if there are any groups or clubs in the area that allow gardeners to get together, in person or online, and learn from each other.
  3. Contact the local Extension services, and learn about programs and educational opportunities for home gardeners. Gardeners can find a calendar of events for in-person and online classes ranging from one-time seminars to a series of sessions, some for free and some for a fee. Master Gardeners volunteers associated with each state’s Extension service are often the ones who provide educational programming to homeowners. The American Horticultural Society website includes contact information for the Master Gardener program in the U.S. and Canada.

For those who live in big cities with few or no community gardens, what are the best alternatives?

There are many options for city dwellers with a small patio or balcony or no exterior space to grow some flowering plants, vegetables, small fruits, and herbs.

Containers work for outdoor and indoor gardening, but there are many planters that will fit over outdoor balcony railings if there is a lack of floor space. There are lightweight containers that attach to glass for indoor gardening that can be used to grow microgreens, herbs, and small houseplants.

Hanging baskets will also work for areas with limited floor space.

Additionally, several small hydroponic systems are available that only require homeowners to plug the unit in to an electrical socket, fill it with water, add fertilizer every other week, insert seed pods, and wait for flowers to bloom or plants to be ready for harvest.

The pandemic spurred a gardening boom in the U.S. and around the world. Do you expect this trend to continue post-pandemic? Why or why not?

I expect those who have come to enjoy the hobby and who derive benefits from the activity, whether for the beauty, ability to harvest foods from their backyard, the therapeutic value, etc., will continue to do so post-pandemic.

For others whose demands on their time greatly increases, either due to resuming leisure activities or returning to work, it may be more challenging to find the time to garden — though with container gardening, limiting the space a garden occupies, low-maintenance plants, and even the technology available to alert a homeowner when a plant needs to be watered or fertilized, there are ways to continue gardening even when life returns to “normal.”

Austin Little
Horticulture Educator
University of Illinois Extension

Besides sheer pleasure, what are the top three benefits of gardening?

I think a big benefit of home gardening, both for produce gardening and landscaping, is that it of course offers a pleasurable hobby, but it improves our outdoor environment in a multitude of ways.

There is the improved economic value of gardens and landscaping from a real estate standpoint, but it also creates more outdoor living space for a home, where we all have spent more time recently.

An inviting garden or landscaped back porch can do a lot for our overall health and well-being as a place of refuge and relaxation.

What are your top three tips for first-time gardeners?

For first-time gardeners, I recommend to start small, and learn as you go. Start with a small garden or even container gardening to get an idea of what you like and how things grow. My other tip is just keep learning — as long as we’re learning, we’re growing.

For those who live in big cities with few or no community gardens, what are the best alternatives?

For small spaces, container gardening is a great option with lots of possibilities and flexibility. There are endless options for size, material, style, and function, depending on the space and what the goals of the gardening are. A small back porch or deck can be transformed with container gardening.

The pandemic spurred a gardening boom in the U.S. and around the world. Do you expect this trend to continue post-pandemic? Why or why not?

We are seeing a massive boomerang effect in the horticulture field because people are ready to get out and get going on projects that have been postponed. I think there is a ton of new interest in home gardening not only because people want to grow their own food, but they want to spend more time in their home landscapes.

I expect it to be a growing trend for years to come, which is really a great thing for gardeners and for the landscapes in our cities and neighborhoods. I hope the trend continues!

Dr. Carolyn W. Robinson
Department of Horticulture
Auburn University

Besides sheer pleasure, what are the top three benefits of gardening?

There are physical, mental, emotional, and social benefits to gardening. To reduce it to one sentence is certainly an oversimplification, but there is growing research evidence for each of these areas in youth, adults, and older adults.

What are your top three tips for first-time gardeners?

My top three tips for new gardeners:

1. Ask your garden center for a plant that is easy to grow and/or forgiving of water stress. New gardeners tend to over- or under-water, having a plant that can handle this will give them more success and confidence for future plants.

2. Read the labels, and look up the plants for mature size. Put the plant in the environment it needs, and give it the space that it needs. Water, sunlight, nutrition, and mature size should be considered. (If you have children or pets that like to put things in their mouth, check for toxicity also.)

3. Be kind to yourself. If you don’t succeed with your first plant/crop, don’t give up; try again. Try to determine what might have gone wrong and do things differently next time, or maybe pick a different plant. Don’t beat yourself up over a plant that didn’t make it. Learn and move forward.

For those who live in big cities with few or no community gardens, what are the best alternatives?

There are some great small-scale hydroponic systems that can go on the floor in a corner or smaller for your countertop. Interior plants in pots around your home are great for air quality and connecting to nature. Vertical gardening on a balcony adds life to a space also.

The pandemic spurred a gardening boom in the U.S. and around the world. Do you expect this trend to continue post-pandemic? Why or why not?

I hope the gardening boom of the pandemic does continue and that people have a new appreciation for plants and confidence in their growing skills. I do not think it will be quite as big as last year, although growers are having a great sales year this year, as well. A lot of people are back on site with their work and children are back in schools, so our time is being pulled away from our homes again.

Ashraf El-kereamy, Ph.D.
Director of Lindcove Research and Extension Center, Cooperative Extension Specialist
University of California Riverside, Department of Botany and Plant Sciences

Besides sheer pleasure, what are the top three benefits of gardening?

  1. Unlike humans, plants use carbon dioxide from the air and produce oxygen. Growing new plants and maintaining our landscape’s health improve our environment and reduce pollution.
  2. Exposure to sunlight while protecting our skin improves vitamin D in our body and increases calcium level to benefit our bones and immune system.
  3. It is a free exercise and reduces stress.

What are your top three tips for first-time gardeners?

  1. Take time to get the correct information; many resources are out there, including the UCANR Master Gardener Program website.
  2. Do it right, and do not be shy to ask for help.
  3. Be sure to get the plant materials from reliable, safe, certified sources.

For those who live in big cities with few or no community gardens, what are the best alternatives?

Gardening is very beneficial even when using small potted plants; some plant species grow indoors, and also, I would recommend the succulents for people who do not have time, as they do not need too much care.

The pandemic spurred a gardening boom in the U.S. and around the world. Do you expect this trend to continue post-pandemic? Why or why not?

I believe that is one of the positive things that happened during the pandemic; I believe we rediscovered gardening benefits on clearing our mind and reducing stress. I think most people will continue gardening since they have already seen the benefits of gardening.

Lucy Bradley
Associate Department Head and Department Extension Leader
NC State University

Besides sheer pleasure, what are the top three benefits of gardening?

  1. Health (mental and physical)
  2. Beauty
  3. Fun

What are your top three tips for first-time gardeners?

  1. Start small.
  2. Walk around the neighborhood, look at what is doing well, begin with things that thrive.
  3. If possible, plant in the fall so roots have time to develop before hot weather.

For those who live in big cities with few or no community gardens, what are the best alternatives?

  1. Garden on your balcony.
  2. Grow shade-loving plants indoors.

The pandemic spurred a gardening boom in the U.S. and around the world. Do you expect this trend to continue post-pandemic? Why or why not?

I hope it will! Many people found themselves home with time and developed a new or renewed interest in gardening and in growing food. Some people were initially inspired by a fear of a food shortage and wanted to be more self-reliant.

I think one of the ways we will feed the world is by continuing to grow some of our own food. Many people learned a lot this year and have done the hard work of preparing the soil for vegetable gardening. Keeping it going will be much easier than starting was.

There are lots of reasons people grow food: some want more control over what pesticides are applied; others like the wider selection of varieties available in a seed catalog than in a grocery store; others appreciate the health benefits; while others are inspiring their children to steward the earth while improving their nutrition.

Those people who became gardeners during the pandemic have lots of reasons to continue.

Cale A. Bigelow, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Turf Science, Management and Ecology
Purdue University

Besides sheer pleasure, what are the top three benefits of gardening?

Complex question, but studies have shown that connecting with nature helps restore the soul. There is also “pride” in your home/landscape. Some who mow their own lawn mention good exercise. Overall, personal DIY satisfaction.

What are your top three tips for first-time gardeners?

Don’t try and be too ambitious, know what you can/can’t do, and hire pros for certain things.

Most homeowners are highly capable of mowing their own lawns and even feeding and basic spot-spraying for pesky weeds like the dandelion. If you are thinking of core aerating your lawn, you might consider a professional.

Know where to find reliable, unbiased help like university websites. There are also a few apps out there to help ID pests like our Purdue Turf Doctor or TurfPath.

For those who live in big cities with few or no community gardens, what are the best alternatives?

Not an easy answer, but I have heard a number of stories about people gardening on their apartment balconies (container gardening). This is preferable to simply finding an area and planting veggies.

Many urban soils are not very good for growing much of anything due to poor soil structure and a lack of soil organic matter, which can affect plant growth.

Additionally, there are some small hydroponic systems for growing spices.

The pandemic spurred a gardening boom in the U.S. and around the world. Do you expect this trend to continue post-pandemic? Why or why not?

Like question 1, many people like to connect with nature, and I would expect this trend will continue for lots of reasons, including taking a mental pause in working and feeling the satisfaction of growing something.

Methodology

We ranked 196 of the biggest U.S. cities from most (No. 1) to worst (No. 196) for urban gardening based on their overall scores (out of 100 possible points), averaged across all the weighted metrics listed below.

MetricWeightingMin. ValueMax. ValueBest
Gardening Space
Average Yard Square Footage52,744 Sq. Ft.23,951 Sq. Ft.Max. Value
Community Gardens per 100,000 Residents6035.05Max. Value
Supplies
Nurseries and Gardening-Supply Stores per Square Mile20.013.67Max. Value
Landscaping Equipment and Supply Stores per Square Mile10.023.94Max. Value
Climate
Historical Average Number of Days in Growing Season1137355Max. Value
Historical Average Percentage of Sunshine (Spring to Fall)144.00%87.78%Max. Value
Historical Average Monthly Inches of Rain (Spring to Fall)1356Min. Value
Historical Average Number of Very Cold Days (Min. Temp. ≤ 32 Degrees F)10103Min. Value
Historical Average Number of Very Hot Days (Max. Temp. ≥ 90 Degrees F)11171Min. Value
Community
Regional Gardening Clubs per 100,000 Residents308.6Max. Value
Number of Gardening Meetup Groups2025Max. Value
CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) per 100,000 Residents201.77Max. Value
Locavore-Friendliness11150Min. Value

Sources: The Almanac, American Community Gardening Association, LawnStarter, National Garden Clubs, Inc., National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Yelp

Why This Study Matters

With spring finally here, urban gardening is a good excuse to get outdoors.

The 2020 lockdowns spurred a gardening boom, and interest remains strong in 2022.

But urban agriculture offers more important benefits besides giving an answer to boredom. On a personal level, it’s simply good for our health, wallet, and well-being. Socially, it fosters community and helps address food insecurity in food deserts.

Urban gardening is also one of the best ways to live sustainably. With fewer or no pesticides and no packaging (paper, plastic, cardboard) and no shipping, urban gardening is as simple, flavorful, and enjoyable as watching your garden grow.

Inspired by Lawn and Garden Month to get your hands dirty? Hire a LawnStarter pro to get your landscape in garden-friendly shape — then grab a shovel and some seeds and start planting.

Main Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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Staff Writer