Monday, May 20, 2013

Three Small-Space Gardening Solutions

The Climate Crusader is digging in the dirt today.

Today is Victoria Day here in Canada, a holiday held in celebration of the late Queen Victoria's birthday. It's considered the unofficial kick-off to summer, much like Memorial Day in the United States. With warmer days ahead, this weekend is also often viewed as the time to get your garden going. It seemed like the perfect time to post about growing food.

I live in a house with a good-sized backyard, which includes several gardening beds. While I have ample space for all of my plants on the surface, the truth is I always want more. Like many gardeners, I'm excited by the prospect of growing things, and I'm eager to try new crops. As a result, even in my relatively large space, I use some small-space gardening solutions into my suburban homestead. Today, I'll share three with you.

Three Small-Space Gardening Solutions

1. Potato Planters

This year I purchased some potato patio planters from my local seed and gardening supplier. These three sturdy plastic bags hold about 40 liters of dirt each, and I've planted six potato plants in each. They're relatively light, so they can be moved if you need to re-arrange your small space. when you're ready to harvest, you can just dump the bags out and you've got potatoes. I've found that they work really well, and since potatoes store well you can enjoy the fruits of your labour well into the fall and winter.

2. Re-purposed Greens Planter

Living in the Pacific Northwest, as I do, slugs and wood bugs (or pill bugs, or potato bugs) are always a problem. After a few years of planting tender baby greens only to find them eaten in their infancy, I've learned that I get better results if I put my lettuce in planters rather than directly into my garden, at least until they're big enough to not be eaten in a single bite. For my baby greens, I use old plastic strawberry containers as planters. Lettuce doesn't put down very deep roots, and this is a great way to reuse something I already have on hand.

3. Herbs Grow Anywhere

Many herbs grow like weeds. For example, I first purchased my peppermint plant in 1999, and for the first years of its life it grew in a planter on my apartment balcony. When I moved into this house in 2003, it made the transition to a corner of my garden. It grows almost anywhere, it smells lovely, it's edible, and when it flowers it attracts beneficial insects, providing fabulous natural pest control. Whether you have a small clay pot or a small corner in your garden, herbs are a great small-space plant choice.

What small-space solutions do you use, to get the most out of your garden?


Green Bean said...

I do your idea for herbs. I also saw a photo on Pinterest of someone who grew her garlic and leeks amongst her flowers. She planted them in drifts and they looked like ornamental grass - until picked! :) I tried it last year but mine looked more like rows than drifts. I need to perfect that.

Betsy (Eco-novice) said...

oooo, I think I have some corners where I could try planting some herbs. I remember in my parents' yard that mint grew like a weed too.


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