Special Report

50 Best Cities for Urban Gardening

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Gardening has always been a popular activity, and it became even more popular during the pandemic, both as an activity homebound families could share and as a way to prepare for anticipated food shortages. 

Of course, those living in rural or suburban areas were more likely to have the room to plant gardens — but urban gardeners proved adaptable, too, joining community garden plots, or planting in empty lots, on balconies and rooftops, even on fire escapes.

Urban gardening serves social and economic roles as well as providing a measure of food security. Small neighborhood gardens can provide opportunities for economic exchange between neighbors and encourage community engagement and mutual aid. In addition, studies show that children often get excited about eating produce that they helped grow, improving their nutrition. Here are the most common nutritional deficiencies among Americans.

Urban gardening is also good for the environment, cutting down on the carbon footprint of the foods we eat, and allowing for pesticide- and herbicide-free growing — not to mention the fact that homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers and the like, picked at peak ripeness, often taste better than the store-bought equivalent. In addition to growing your own produce — here are 30 easy ways to be more environmentally friendly.

 Of course, some cities are more suitable for urban gardening than others. 24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of the best ones, drawing on rankings computed by the lawn care start-up Lawnstarter. The site scored 150 U.S. cities according to categories conducive to a good urban gardening environment, including number of days in the growing season, average amount of sunshine, average yard size, and number of nurseries and garden supply stores, community gardens, and gardening clubs per capita. 

Click here to see the best cities for urban gardening

Most cities on the list are in the western and southern states, not surprisingly, where the climate is milder and the growing season may be longer. Almost half are in California — 21 in all —  followed by eight in Florida, and five in Arizona. St. Louis, Jersey City, and Cincinnati are the northernmost outliers. 

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

50. Cincinnati, Ohio
> Overall score: 35.82
> Days in the growing season: 175 — 124th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 60.3% of the day Spring to Fall — 110th highest

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Source: Art Wager / Getty Images

49. San Diego, California
> Overall score: 36.34
> Days in the growing season: 338 — tied 14th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 67.3% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 61st highest

Source: Art Wager / Getty Images

48. Honolulu, Hawaii
> Overall score: 36.54
> Days in the growing season: No data available
> Average amount of sunshine: 67.8% of the day Spring to Fall — 60th highest

Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

47. Sacramento, California
> Overall score: 36.66
> Days in the growing season: 277 — 52nd most
> Average amount of sunshine: 85.8% of the day Spring to Fall — 16th highest

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Source: jmoor17 / iStock via Getty Images

46. Modesto, California
> Overall score: 36.74
> Days in the growing season: 303 — tied 32nd most
> Average amount of sunshine: 70.0% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 50th highest

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

44. Chandler, Arizona
> Overall score: 36.98
> Days in the growing season: 287 — tied 44th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 87.8% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 1st highest

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Source: Oliver Kawwass / Getty Images

44. Virginia Beach, Virginia
> Overall score: 36.98
> Days in the growing season: 220 — tied 80th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 63.3% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 76th highest

Source: BCFC / Getty Images

43. Scottsdale, Arizona
> Overall score: 37.10
> Days in the growing season: 287 — tied 44th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 87.8% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 1st

highest

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

42. New Orleans, Louisiana
> Overall score: 37.12
> Days in the growing season: 297 — tied 37th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 61.3% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 97th highest

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Source: RudyBalasko / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

41. Paradise, Nevada
> Overall score: 37.67
> Days in the growing season: 300 — 35th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 87.3% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 9th highest

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

40. Brownsville, Texas
> Overall score: 37.81
> Days in the growing season: 328 — 22nd most
> Average amount of sunshine: 65.9% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 67th highest

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Source: Kruck20 / Getty Images

39. Chattanooga, Tennessee
> Overall score: 38.11
> Days in the growing season: 207 — 98th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 58.1% of the day Spring to Fall — 123rd highest

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

38. Birmingham, Alabama
> Overall score: 38.47
> Days in the growing season: 215 — 86th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 61.7% of the day Spring to Fall — 94th highest

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

37. Fontana, California
> Overall score: 38.61
> Days in the growing season: 318 — 25th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 73.2% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 23rd highest

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36. Grand Prairie, Texas
> Overall score: 38.85
> Days in the growing season: 249 — tied 64th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 63.3% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 76th highest

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

35. Tucson, Arizona
> Overall score: 38.87
> Days in the growing season: 304 — 31st most
> Average amount of sunshine: 87.4% of the day Spring to Fall — 8th highest

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34. Jersey City, New Jersey
> Overall score: 38.88
> Days in the growing season: 209 — tied 92nd most
> Average amount of sunshine: 57.3% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 127th highest

Source: Nicolas McComber / Getty Images

33. San Francisco, California
> Overall score: 38.92
> Days in the growing season: 313 — tied 28th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 70.0% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 50th highest

Source: benedek / iStock via Getty Images

32. Oxnard, California
> Overall score: 39.48
> Days in the growing season: 306 — 30th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 73.2% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 23rd highest

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Source: dszc / iStock via Getty Images

31. Glendale, Arizona
> Overall score: 39.85
> Days in the growing season: 317 — 26th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 87.8% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 1st highest

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

30. San Bernardino, California
> Overall score: 39.88
> Days in the growing season: 299 — 36th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 73.2% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 23rd highest

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Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

29. Winston-Salem, North Carolina
> Overall score: 40.56
> Days in the growing season: 209 — tied 92nd most
> Average amount of sunshine: 60.9% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 99th highest

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

28. St. Louis, Missouri
> Overall score: 40.82
> Days in the growing season: 185 — tied 115th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 60.2% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 111st highest

Source: dszc / Getty Images

27. Tempe, Arizona
> Overall score: 41.67
> Days in the growing season: 287 — tied 44th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 87.8% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 1st highest

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Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

26. Chula Vista, California
> Overall score: 42.17
> Days in the growing season: 338 — tied 14th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 67.3% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 61st highest

Source: Ron_Thomas / Getty Images

25. Long Beach, California
> Overall score: 42.48
> Days in the growing season: 350 — tied 2nd most
> Average amount of sunshine: 73.2% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 23rd highest

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24. Fremont, California
> Overall score: 42.53
> Days in the growing season: 321 — 24th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 70.0% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 50th highest

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

23. Augusta, Georgia
> Overall score: 42.77
> Days in the growing season: 253 — 62nd most
> Average amount of sunshine: 61.4% of the day Spring to Fall — 96th highest

Source: sanfel / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

22. Rancho Cucamonga, California
> Overall score: 43.06
> Days in the growing season: 335 — tied 18th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 73.2% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 23rd highest

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Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

21. Tampa, Florida
> Overall score: 43.14
> Days in the growing season: 333 — 20th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 70.2% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 47th highest

Source: Brian / Getty Images

20. Santa Clarita, California
> Overall score: 43.20
> Days in the growing season: 336 — 17th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 73.2% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 23rd highest

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Source: MattGush / Getty Images

19. Riverside, California
> Overall score: 43.40
> Days in the growing season: 316 — 27th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 73.2% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 23rd highest

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

18. Santa Ana, California
> Overall score: 43.74
> Days in the growing season: 326 — 23rd most
> Average amount of sunshine: 73.2% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 23rd highest

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

17. Irvine, California
> Overall score: 44.66
> Days in the growing season: 350 — tied 2nd most
> Average amount of sunshine: 73.2% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 23rd highest

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Source: Kenishirotie / Getty Images

16. Santa Rosa, California
> Overall score: 45.18
> Days in the growing season: 272 — 55th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 73.2% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 23rd highest

Source: felixmizioznikov / Getty Images

15. Port St. Lucie, Florida
> Overall score: 45.37
> Days in the growing season: 331 — 21st most
> Average amount of sunshine: 72.1% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 41st highest

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Source: LUNAMARINA / Getty Images

14. Orlando, Florida
> Overall score: 45.44
> Days in the growing season: 338 — tied 14th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 70.2% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 47th highest

Source: Melpomenem / iStock via Getty Images

13. Oakland, California
> Overall score: 45.67
> Days in the growing season: 355 — 1st most
> Average amount of sunshine: 70.0% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 50th highest

Source: derejeb / Getty Images

12. Cape Coral, Florida
> Overall score: 46.09
> Days in the growing season: 343 — 9th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 72.1% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 41st highest

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Source: George Dodd / Getty Images

11. Mobile, Alabama
> Overall score: 46.35
> Days in the growing season: 267 — 56th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 60.9% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 99th highest

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

10. Ontario, California
> Overall score: 46.79
> Days in the growing season: 335 — tied 18th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 73.2% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 23rd highest

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Source: Art Wager / Getty Images

9. Miami, Florida
> Overall score: 47.39
> Days in the growing season: 342 — tied 10th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 72.1% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 41st highest

Source: felixmizioznikov / iStock via Getty Images

8. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
> Overall score: 47.57
> Days in the growing season: 259 — 59th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 61.3% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 97th highest

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images

7. Anaheim, California
> Overall score: 47.92
> Days in the growing season: 350 — tied 2nd most
> Average amount of sunshine: 73.2% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 23rd highest

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Source: trekandshoot / Getty Images

6. Glendale, California
> Overall score: 48.47
> Days in the growing season: 350 — tied 2nd most
> Average amount of sunshine: 73.2% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 23rd highest

Source: ferrantraite / Getty Images

5. Atlanta, Georgia
> Overall score: 48.68
> Days in the growing season: 228 — 72nd most
> Average amount of sunshine: 63.1% of the day Spring to Fall — 89th highest

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Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

4. St. Petersburg, Florida
> Overall score: 49.71
> Days in the growing season: 346 — 8th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 70.2% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 47th highest

Source: Art Wager / E+ via Getty Images

3. Huntington Beach, California
> Overall score: 49.92
> Days in the growing season: 350 — tied 2nd most
> Average amount of sunshine: 73.2% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 23rd highest

Source: Juanmonino / iStock via Getty Images

2. Hialeah, Florida
> Overall score: 49.96
> Days in the growing season: 342 — tied 10th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 72.1% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 41st highest

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Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

1. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
> Overall score: 53.59
> Days in the growing season: 342 — tied 10th most
> Average amount of sunshine: 72.1% of the day Spring to Fall — tied 41st highest

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