With Summer approaching, I have been thinking about what vegetables and herbs I want to plant this year. I have a garden behind the garage that is very suitable for tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. I have also planted bush beans, squash, lettuce, watermelons, all in the good fun of experimenting with what this space can do. The squash and watermelons require more space than I care to give up in my garden, so I stick to a variety of tomatoes; cherry, roma, heirloom, juliet, and I also use this space for cucumbers and bell peppers.
This year I would like to expand the variety of lettuce and herbs to the garden against our neighbors garage. I have space on either side of the weeping cherry tree. I have tried several annuals and perennial plants in this space over the years and either the plants outgrow the space or I just become unhappy with the look. But this year I am toying with planting herbs, a variety of lettuce, and scallions here with a mix of marigolds for color between the lettuce. I know I will be inviting the bunnies of the neighborhood, but hopefully they will not eat it all and save some for the person who works so hard to keep the garden up.
I am no garden expert by any means. I can’t tell you about the bugs eating your plants, the disease in your soil, or what zone to plant in. but I can encourage you to try to have fun with planting. I like to experiment and see what works in my spaces; I love having my gardens and flower planters. Through the hard work, sweat and sometimes dirty tears, there is nothing like growing your own fresh produce and enjoying the beauty of a floral space. I have also grown flowers and vegetables from seed with my older son Nicholas. This was fun for him to watch his food grow from a seed to a plant. If you have the time and a warm sunny place this is a fun process. However, if you are looking for quicker progress, then I suggest buying the plant rather than starting from seed. The germination period of a seed may take a while and sometimes can be frustrating when you want to see the “fruits” of your labor.
I very much enjoy having my morning coffee in the summer on the patio as the sun rises and begins to warm the day. Adding a water feature amongst your floral area is also so calming to listen to. We have a fountain that hangs on one of the brick walls of our house. Now I realize that not everyone can have a garden, or perhaps they don’t have time, space, or the patience that goes into keeping up on a garden. But after reading a comment from The Good Greatsby on my Spring Has Sprung in Leaps and Bounds post, Paul wrote: “Spring has finally arrived in Shanghai. I just wish we had a real garden to sit in.” I felt everyone should be able to have a ”garden” in some sense. Then I remembered seeing some pictures of unique and creative gardens for any space and I wanted to share the ideas.
I was fascinated by these designs myself. First we have the gutter gardens, which I think is such a great space saver and you won’t have to worry about weeds, how wonderful is that. You can plant flowers or veggies in these gutter gardens. You will need to Drill holes for drainage. Also, I would probably add pebbles or lava rock over the drainage holes so that the dirt didn’t escape or perhaps a layer of weed fabric would do the trick. Add soil and plants, and Hang in desired location. I like the third picture of the hanging layers, I bet this would create a beautiful privacy wall in a small space once all the flowers and veggies filled in. I have heard the gutter garden can be used for many vegetables such as, lettuce, peas, green beans, even herbs. What a treat to be able to go out and pick your lettuce for a fresh salad, or herbs to complement your meals. YUM!
Here is another space saver garden that I was quite tempted to try until I decided to utilize my other garden for lettuce and herbs. A pallet garden, who woulda thunk it? I love this idea. Staple weed fabric to the bottom and sides of the pallet. Fill with soil and plant away! Again, this is great for a variety of lettuce and smaller plants as well as herbs. Watch your pallet garden grow along your patio wall of your apartment. A space saver and a beautiful delight.
Want the beauty of a garden without having to plant a garden in the ground? Planters are your answer. Who hasn’t utilized a planter before? One flower planter adds beauty to any space, but a grouping of planters in different shapes, colors and sizes allows you to “landscape”. Add texture, color and height with a variety of plants. Do you want tomatoes or cucumbers, but no space for a garden? Find a planter large enough for root growing space. Buy a tomato cage and secure it into the dirt and your tomatoes and cucumber can grow up through the cage for support. Planters are also good for carrots, radishes, bush beans, peppers and even herbs. You can have a garden without all the “work” a garden takes. By using planters there is ease in watering, weeding, pests, and soil bourne diseases.
I just found these other gardens on All Ontario Schools Should Grow Edible Gardens Facebook page. What great ideas for space savers and reuse. The hanging bags can be made from a variety of material, old clothes, pants and shirts lying around, just knot up or sew the loose ends and place your plant inside. The tins can be coffee containers or large canned vegetable containers. Who doesn’t have pop bottles lying around? There are many states that do not require a bottle deposit, so this is a great way to recycle those bottles piling up around the house. The bottles are also a great way to start your plants by seed if you plan to replant them in the ground or other planter container.
All of these ideas can be searched on the web. There are so many websites with do it yourself instructions, and many more ideas for your “any size” planting space. So get creative no matter how small or large your space is. Challenge yourself to create some kind of garden; your own oasis. I don’t think you need a green thumb just the interest to experiment and the time to create your garden. I certainly do not have the greenest of thumbs. I stumble upon my garden success just as much as a fall face first into failure. But I keep doing it because I enjoy it.
$*WARNING*$ If you are not familiar with gardening, plants can be quite expensive. *Suggestion* Draw up a map of your space and list where you would like to see a plant (annual or perennial) based on size, shade and sunny locations. It is better to have an idea of what you need per your space, as nurseries can be overwhelming with so many options. I suggest buying enough for one or two planters, or one area of your yard to start. Flower Nurseries can be expensive, so do a little shopping around to find the best deals. Make sure you have all your gardening essentials, shovel, gloves, potting soil, planters, stones for drainage and or coconut liners for hanging baskets, water for you and sunblock. I wish you all luck with this gardening season.