We moved to a new house this year, so my gardening plans had to change. I had experience with container gardening in Florida (note to self: use an automatic watering system next time or the plants will die again). Here, I have a Backyard. In case you city types aren't familiar with these incredible spaces, a Backyard is an outdoor expanse of ground, all in one place, usually covered with a green substance called grass. It is not green-colored substrate like the running track at the gym. As soon as I saw my new Backyard, ideas started swirling in my head-swingsets, kiddie pools, fancy-schmancy multi-level decks.....
Forget big, space-hogging decks. No swingset, that's what the park around the corner is for. Kiddie pool? Only if it'll fit in the space left when I'm done with my new Idea. I want raised beds, chickens, rabbits and lots of other things I don't know about yet. I want a new garage-but that's a whole separate story.
We moved in April, so it was difficult to get seeds started and into the ground at the right times, but we managed to have a little garden. I couldn't do it Patti-style yet due to time and budget constraints, so we decided to just do something. We put in a plot in the ground, out of which we were able to get a pretty decent amount of veggies. In an attempt to utilize every bit of space in our yard, we tried some crazy things just to see if they would work, as shown by this picture to the right.
Yes, that is corn growing in the one-inch space between the driveway and the chain link fence, true urban style! We also used the fence on the other side of the yard for snap peas and melon.
I wasn't happy, though. I started playing with Microsoft's Excel program, toying with square foot gardening spacings, filling up the eight raised beds I plan to have next year. I believe I have found a pretty good mix of tried-and-true vegetables that my family likes as well as some new ones that sound intriguing. I came up with something like the chart to the left. I'm in NE Ohio (zone 5/6), so I had to be creative with placing some of the specific vegetables since some of my beds will be partially shaded for the latter part of the day (until I can get this great big tree out of the way). I have lots of asparagus-we love asparagus-in bed 1 and pole beans in bed 2. Along the left sides of beds 3, 5 & 7 are summer squash & zucchini, which will be trellised up to the edge of the neighbor's garage. The rest of those beds contain peppers (sweet and hot), bush beans (green and wax), brussels sprouts, eggplant, cucumbers and cantaloupe. Beds 4, 6 and 8 have more tomatoes, okra, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, onions, beets, pumpkin, winter squash, watermelon, snap peas, parsnips, garlic and carrots. I also have 3 separate, smaller boxes that will contain lettuces, greens and Junior's garden. Phew!
It's impossible to see the details with the picture so small, but I am very excited to see this jungle growing!
Copyright © 2008-2010 Urban Sustainable living. All rights reserved.