Saturday, May 28, 2011

Our garden and some tips for small spaces

For the past 4 years, we have grown our own vegetables in our backyard. Having your own vegetable garden is economical and great way to feed your family fresh, healthy, and pesticide-free vegetables. This year, it has been an unseasonably cold and wet spring which has not been great for the garden, but some plants are doing great, while others are not. Hopefully it will start to take off soon.

Living in a townhome, our backyard is not very big, but we have found various ways to better utilize the space, while still being able to use our backyard for play and entertaining. Here are some of the ways we plan to make the most out of a small space this year:

Plant more than one type of vegetable together

This space will be our "Three Sisters Garden"

A three sisters garden is corn, beans, and squash planted together to help eachother. The corn grow tall and allow the beans vines to crawl up them. The beans provide nitrogen for the soil, and the squash has big leaves that keep pests/rodents/etc. from getting to any of them.

The corn is planted first, but after several weeks of nothing, I planted Sunflowers as back up:Then a few days ago I saw this one little corn starting to pop up so all hope is not lost.

Use containers to create more growing space

We like using containers because we can move them around to get more sunlight, move them closer to the house on colder nights, and move them out of the way when we have people over and want to use the backyard for entertaining. It also keeps the voles that are prevalent in our neighborhood from eating our plants.

We love these self-watering containers, you poor water in the bottom and the soil soaks it up when needed. I am mosquito paranoid and don't want any standing water breeding grounds so we only use this feature when we go out of town.
Red cabbage (a recent hailstorm beat up a lot of our plants)

Mustard Greens

Swiss Chard




Plant for multiple seasons
Tomato, its not looking so good. I'm hoping it will hang in there and get better once it warms up some more. I also have more broccoli planted surrounding the tomato. The broccoli is a cool-season crop so I planted it first, it will die off once it gets too hot. Then the tomato can take over the space.

Last year at this time these had already climbed up several feet onto the trellis.
After the peas grow a bit more and establish themselves better, we are going to plant carrots intermixed with the peas. The peas die off once it gets hot in the summer so then we will still be able to utilize the garden space by having carrots which grow in the summer and are harvested late summer and fall.

I'll keep everyone updated on the progress of our garden as the season progresses.

Do you have tips you want to share?

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