My Postage-Stamp Backyard
I planted the pre-starts out a few weeks ago, but I wanted to give them some time to settle in to their beds before I took pictures. It’s amazing what you can fit into a postage-stamp backyard!
When you have a small space to grow in, you must think vertically. We installed two towers made from plastic coated steel supports with jute twine wrapped around them. These will support our zucchini and cucumber plants. Between them we grow nasturtiums for our salads, and around the outside reside zinnias, sunflowers, and morning glories to attract pollinators.
Of course, there are plenty of vining plants to grow vertically in your garden. My absolute favourite are Blue Lake Pole Beans. Last year we grew 12 plants which produced enough beans to both eat and preserve (with hot peppers) through the summer. I was also able to collect about 300 seeds off the vines at the end of the harvest season. I have been growing these beans for three years now, and the yield is simply amazing!
The cedar hedge at the back of our property leaves us with a long, shady strip of garden, receiving approximately 3-4 hours of sun each day. It is sometimes difficult to decide what to put there. This year we settled on rainbow chard, kale, and green onions. Tasty!
Last year we planted only four tomato plants, each a different variety. This year I grew yellow, yellow mini, black cherry, Matt’s Wild cherry, and Roma. We had planned to only plant four again this year, but as usual, I started way too many plants, so we popped 16 of those suckers into the garden. This is going to require some maintenance throughout the summer, but the yield will be totally worth it when we’re eating homemade pasta sauce on cold winter days. Between the tomatoes I planted hot habanero peppers for pickling and marigolds for pest control.
I never feel that there is enough space in-ground, so we do a little bit of container gardening as well. Our big bins contain our 12 sweet pepper plants and one box of carrots and radishes (interplanted). We also use window boxes for our salad greens – lettuce, chicory, spinach, and a mesclum mix.
You may be wondering about the strange blue things throughout my garden this year. We decided to try underground watering – we buried 2 litre apple juice containers with holes in them. So far they work great in the garden, but not so much in the bins. In the bins they release the water too fast and the excess just comes out of the overfill holes in the bottom. Next year we will try smaller bottles to release the water closer to the middle of the bins.
Oh yes, and we can’t forget the herbs. We actually don’t use a lot of herbs in our house, but I do have chives and about 5 kinds of mint in my perennial garden out front, and some parsley in the garden with the tomatoes. Other than that, we grow basil and thai basil in containers which move around the yard.
I’m quite happy with how full our home garden is. We have a plot over at our local community garden which contains a large amount of carrots and beets for pickling as well. Now that all the work is done, we have time to relax and enjoy watching things grow!