Posted by: Vallere | March 25, 2010

(sub)Urban gardening

We live in a small town in Eastern NC. Technically our property is about 3/10 an acre, which by city standards is pretty big. But our whole back yard is very shaded by trees in our neighbors’ yards, and so there isn’t a plethora of good garden spots.

We did know, however, that growing our own produce would save us lots of money, as well as be a healthier option, so we’ve utilized what little sunny space we’ve got. Firstly, our side entryway has some very sunny steps, which are perfect for potted plants. Also, we have a lattice around the rails of our deck and we’ve found it makes our muskedine grape vine a happy home. Then, we are seperated on the other side of our house from our neighbor by about 10 feet, but that little space gets full son for 1/2 or more of the day, so after getting the “ok”, we’ve planted a small garden in that space. We also have a couple of raised beds in the tiny front yard which usually house flowers and a Japaneese Maple, but there is plenty of room in them (especially when the heat of summer wilts the flowers) for a few edible plants.

On the steps we’ve currently got 4 pots with baby tomato plants, they need the most sun, so we gave them the full sun area. Beside those steps is a small flower garden, and behind the flowers we’ll plant some zucchini when they come in for sale. They can really get huge, so there should be plenty of space up against the house for them to flourish.

In our small plot on the other side of the house (which measures something like 6x10ft) we have collards in the very back (they won’t last much into the next month or so), three varieties of lettuce (red, buttercrunch and romaine) with 9 plants each, next are three more tomatoes, and 9 bell pepper plants, and in the very front are a few bundles of leeks. We had no luck with onions last year so we aren’t holding our breath on the leeks!

In the raised beds in front, my hubby planted one more tomato near the Maple (can you tell we love tomatoes?) and interspursed carrot seeds among the flowers. By the time they get big enough to matter, the flowers will be gone. Also in that bed are thyme, oregano, and cilantro. There was rosemary last year, but I replanted that into a pot which has joined the tomatoes on the back porch for now.

So as you can see, even with very limited space, it is still possible to grow your own produce. I’ll try to get some pictures up once the plants are big enough to really see. But even if you only had a small porch or deck, as long as it gets sun for 1/2 or more of the day, most produce plants will do just fine in pots! Just make sure to water often, because pots will dry out quicker than soil (but don’t OVER water, or your tomatoes will get bottom rot…yuck!)

This year we decided to not add commercial fertilizer (I can say nothing for the dirt that the baby plants were grown in…so it’s not *technically* organic farming for us). But, we have had rabbits for years, and have a plethora of rabbit poo that has turned itself into fabulous compost! Before planting the potted things this year I mixed the dirt about half and half with the compost. I’m hoping that will make for some tastey tomatoes in the coming months!

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