A while back I mentioned that a very small patch of dirt with good soil, sufficient water and at least eight hours of sunlight a day can produce a surprisingly large yield. Last year I didn't measure the quantity of veggies, so this year I decided to start a little project.
It consists of:
- approx. 20 square feet of soil and 7 pots with almost eight hours of full sun a day.
- plenty of vertical supports
- 21 tomato plants
- 8 cucumber nests
- 12 bell pepper plants
- 4 hot pepper plants
- approx. 20 bean plants
- 6 eggplants
- 4 nests of zucchini
- 2 small rows of radishes
- 1 small row of carrots
- 2 groupings of peas (mostly for the nitrogen, really)
- 2 watermelon nests
- 1 small patch of green onions
- 3 pots of lentils and
- 1 large planter filled with kitchen herbs
I can fit this many plants in 20 square feet while still keeping appropriate spacing because all the plants that can grow vertically will grow vertically: cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, watermelons, beans and peas.
All fertilization is provided by coffee grounds and the ever so great compost pile, yard waste only, no kitchen scraps. The end product of it is a rich humus that smells like forest and mushrooms and seemed to greatly improve the performance of the flower beds.
Once the plants start producing, (this period will stretch from the earliest - 30 days to harvest to the latest - 120 days to harvest) I will weigh and record the quantities in a produce yield table and place a link to it.
Since some of the produce is early and/or seasonal, I will use succession planting and inter cropping over the growing season.
On a completely unrelated note, can someone please, please, please make the cold go away? It's almost May for crying out loud!
Unless it was designed that way, it is kind of hard to impose a color scheme on an established garden, especially if you have a spontaneous personality type that succumbs to the charms of any special-special plant seeming to speak to you and you alone at the plant nursery, and have to bring it home despite the fact that it doesn’t fit into your existing garden design.
If you do have the discipline and willpower to stick to the plan, some color themes are easier to maintain than others, because nature itself designed them that way. For instance, a white, yellow and purple theme will last indefinitely; those are the colors wild flowers come in, these hues are part of a packet of dominant traits which impart on the plants resilience and adaptability. White, yellow and purple perennials make for the most efficient color palette, they tend to live longer, need less maintenance and be healthier than the rest. Read More…
I can’t figure out the precise point when a fast spreading plant becomes a ground cover. Some, like ivy, periwinkle and the beautiful blue flowering plumbago in the picture, are quite obvious, others, like lily of the valley and sweet violets, take you by surprise, starting with a shy little clump in spring and filling the garden with their prolific progeny in one season.
I guess if we define as perennial ground cover any plant that fills up all the space it occupies, we can expand the list to include daylilies, beebalms, tickseed, irises, raspberry thickets and strawberry patches. Read More…
You will not believe the level of chaos nature can impose on a reasonably well tended garden in three weeks. It took the plants that long to look scary and me one week to salvage the back yard from the wilderness. Five foot tall weeds, cracked nutshells, broken branches, vines grown out of control, covering pathways, grabbing onto everything in sight and smothering their defenseless neighbors. And this is the extent of my whining. Seriously, it was offensive.
There is a time around the middle of July when the garden looks absolutely resplendent. It feels like every flower is in bloom, competing for attention. The late spring blooms haven’t faded yet and the some of the late summer ones decide to show up early, so there is a surreal mix of seasons that coexist in harmony before my very eyes: delphiniums, lilies, salvias, roses, daisies, bee balms, cone flowers, catmints, lavender, yarrow, spider flowers, black eyed Susans, day lilies, hostas, coral bells, and last, but not least, giant clumps of fragrant garden phlox.
What strange weather we’re having, with thirty degree temperature changes from one day to the next! Right now we’re in cold mode and the sixty degrees feel quite chilly after the tropical climate we experienced only a couple of days ago.
It rained a lot and the garden took on that fierce look it gets every time it is left to its own devices. More weeding, more weeding. Read More…