My husband and I have been living in our little place for over a year now. When we bought our house last year, we moved in right in the middle of summer, so too late to plant anything. I knew I wanted to make the most of our tiny space by planting as much as I could this year. Our house is a detached condo which is great because it was super affordable and we’re not sharing walls with anybody. But it did come with a very small yard, we’re talking about 60 ft.
When we bought the place it had two rectangle garden beds built into the ground but I knew that wasn’t enough. So my husband and I made 3 more garden beds using scrap pallet wood! I think they turned out great.
This is my first year planting a garden on my own and I’m still figuring it out. I’ve made some mistakes and already know what I would do differently next year.
Here is a little mock up of what our backyard looks like from above.
Small Garden Tour:
In the first box I planted carrots, cucumbers, bell pepper and spaghetti squash. In hind sight, that was a bit much for one box.
The carrots didn’t take well to the soil. As this was one of the two boxes that came with the house, it already had dirt in it so that could have been a factor. It looks like I have just a handful of carrots I will be able to harvest this year. Next year, I will give them half a box to themselves.
The cucumber vine is growing very well. I’ve been able to harvest cucumbers as they grow and enjoy them fresh. Towards the end of August, I will be harvesting some to make homemade pickles. The vine on these guys got a little out of hand and so I began trailing them up using a bamboo arch I found at my local greenhouse.
I planted 3 bell pepper plants, one green, one yellow and one red. So far only one pepper on one plant has appeared. The other two plants are starting to flower. I’m not sure why they’re so behind in blooming but I’m praying for a few more before summer’s end.
Lastly in this box, we have my spaghetti squash plant. Just weeks ago it was no bigger than a shoe. Now it has almost completely swallowed my tiny backyard. I used the same bamboo arches to start trailing these vines upwards but it is still overtaking the space. I think this has impacted how the bell peppers right next to it have been able to grow. While it’s looking like we’ll get a good number of squash this year, I will probably avoid planting any squashes next year to allow space for other veggies.
This is my herb box and I love it. I planted basil, sage, mint, dill, parsley, lavender, oregano and thyme. I love being able to enjoy fresh herbs in my cooking all summer long. This box has probably done the best out of all my plants as it’s stayed the most consistent. I look forward to drying and preserving these herbs come fall time.
I only planted sunflowers in this box and they’re so lovely! They’re finally starting to come through now. My hope is to harvest the seeds after enjoying the flowers.
This box has been the biggest let down. Almost everything I planted in this box did not survive. I planted lettuce, kale and spinach. We get a little bit of lettuce at the beginning of summer, but after we used some, they did not grow back. The spinach and kale never took initially so I replanted seeds several weeks later. Again, the spinach never came up though we do have a little bit of kale currently. I do think lack of water is what got to them.
The final box is home to 3 exciting plants. Tomatoes, broccoli and celery. The tomatoes are coming in nicely. The goal was to make salsa with them so I’m hopping for an abundance. Instead of tomato cages, I opted for moire of those bamboo arches as they were more cost effective. As the plants get more weighed down with the fruits, these give them nice support to lean on.
We planted 3 broccoli plants and they are all producing! I’m very excited to eat these though next year I think I’ll skip them. I’m only likely to get 3 heads from these plants and it took all summer to grow. So, probably not worth it.
Lastly, we have celery. We’re definitely going to end up with more celery than we planned but they’re coming in nicely and should give a solid harvest.
Related: Eating seasonally in summer
The main issues I think I ran into was unknown/poor soil and planting things too closely together.
So for next year, here is my plan:
Carrots, cucumbers and bell peppers. I’m going to nix the squash while we’re living in this space. This should allow the other plants more room to grow. I’ll also trail the cucumber vines up immediately when they start growing to avoid potential suffocation/blockage of the other plants.
I’ll leave my herb box exactly the same!
I love the sunflowers and am tempted to grow them again. I’ll see how the sunflower seed harvest goes this year before I decide. If I choose not to grow them again, the box could be utilized for other veggies or perhaps strawberries. (I had a hanging strawberry basket that did not survive)
I would like to keep this box for leafy greens like lettuce, kale and spinach. I will replant them next year but keep a closer eye on the watering schedule and maybe provide them with a bit more coverage from the hot, hot sun.
The only veggie I would keep in this box would be the tomatoes. I won’t replant broccoli as the reaping won’t be worth the labour and I won’t replant the celery as I’ll have too much than I know what to do with! I think for the other half of the box, I’ll try my hand at potatoes. I prefer to grow veggies that will give in an abundance and store well.
Related: How to regrow kitchen scraps
I’m so excited to share my gardening journey with you all! Growing your own food is an amazing way to connect with God and Mother Earth and enjoy all the wonderful things it has to offer. It’s almost more sustainable as the food only has to travel from your yard to your kitchen!
I will be updating you on drying the herbs and the final harvest when the time comes. Don’t let having a small space intimidate you from starting your garden. Even if you’re growing a small amount of food, it’s worth it.
I hope this inspires your small garden for next year! Please don’t forget to share this post and follow me on Instagram for garden updates and more sustainable living tips!