This is what my garden looks like right now, and this is basically where everything will be.
In the top right corner are four garden boxes, each roughly 4 feet x 8 feet.
Along the top of the retaining wall is a border bed- by the stump is (what’s left of) my strawberry patch, after digging up to replace a broken water pipe. The bed is 2-3 feet deep.
Behind the stump is another planting area- the dirt is pretty bad down towards the street, but this is where the blueberries are. Raspberries will be transplanted, along with permanent trellising, this month.
Along the side of the driveway is another planting strip- it’s about three feet deep, and about 15 feet long. This is the only portion of our property that gets sun, so we made our front yard into the garden space. We are VERY lucky to have understanding neighbors, who view all this as an improvement over the neglected state of the yard before we moved here 4 years ago. Very lucky.
Our permanent fruits right now are the fig tree, in the lawn; plum tree, in the back yard; blueberry bushes; strawberry plants; raspberry canes; thornless blackberry canes. I planted 6 asparagus crown last year along the wall, but they didn’t make a good showing- it’s a wait and see game right now to see if they’ll survive.
My favorite resources for shoe-horning plants into tight places are here, but I’ll be adding these to the “gardening resources” tab at the top of the page.
- Edible Landscaping, by Rosalind Creasy (Great tips for slipping edibles into your landscape)
- Four Season Harvest, by Eliot Coleman (Using your garden space year round. Check out his Winter Harvest Handbook too.)
- Carrots Love Tomatoes, by Louise Riotte (Companion planting BIBLE)
- All New Square Foot Gardening, by Mel Bartholomew (really shoehorning them together)
- The Urban Farm Handbook, by Annette Cottrell and Joshua McNichols (I’ve been to her urban garden. Umm, wow. I’ll be talking more about this book- go find a copy!!)
The trick to getting a lot out of a little space is to not think in monoculture rows. Plant root crops with leafy crops, tuck starts in when you free up a spot, sprinkle lettuce seeds wherever the ground is bare, plant beneficials together like spinach that will shade heat-averse strawberries. Also, think about growing up- squash, melons, peas, beans can all be trellised quite happily. Container gardening is a great space extender- grow potatoes in old garbage cans or coffee sacks, use pots for herbs that like to run away, that kind of thing. If you have space, start seeds in trays in a sunny window or greenhouse, so that when space frees up in the garden you can put them in the ground with a head start.
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