* I don’t have a lot of property, but somehow I’m managing to pack in a lot of veggie garden. First, there was the obvious sunny spot in the back, which has expanded in all directions just a little bit more each year. Then, I planted lettuces and herbs around the mailbox (and invited the neighbors to feel free to pick). Then, I eliminated some lawn and added the side garden. Then, the junipers had to go to make room for the berry bushes. Somehow fig and pomegranate trees slipped it when no one was looking. And the fence has done a lovely job of holding up the vining cucumbers for several years now. The front bushes are on their way out now as more herbs claim the territory, and I haven’t even gotten to the other side of the house yet. This photo is not from my garden, but, my goodness, isn’t this just adorable? (See more pictures of this garden at Country Living.) And that garden was created in just three months! If you’re thinking of digging in this year, here are some products I’ve road-tested that you might find helpful. First, here are hardiness growing zones. You need to know yours for making correct planting decisions based on your climate (and please note the zones have changed in the last couple years due to climate change).
* Raised beds work. Here’s the main reason, as far as I’m concerned. Since the key to a healthy, productive organic garden is building great soil, raised beds keep this soil investment from eroding (they also heat up early in the spring, drain well, and keep things neat). This keeps your work and costs minimal once your garden is established. In the Atlanta area, your one-stop shop for setting up excellent organic garden beds in Farmer D Organics. You can also find raised bed kits online or build your own beds out of cedar planks (or pine, for less cost, but they will weather much faster).
* Your soil needs “feeding” every few weeks. I usually rotate among compost, fish fertilizer, worm castings, and a chicken manure-based organic fertilizer. I make my own compost from 30% kitchen scraps (which serves as the nitrogen) and 70% wood chips or leaves (which serves as the carbon) in these containers (I have two of them). I’ve tried many, and the Envirocycle is my number one choice. They are critter-proof, cute, and convenient right outside my kitchen on the patio. You can order them online here.
the EarthBox (with a built-in irrigation well),
Wanna’ get growing? Find a landscaper on Kudzu to help you clear out some space, or get that patio fixed so it can become your “garden.” You may even be able to find a “backyard garden” service company that will design, plant, tend and even harvest your bounty for you. Companies that provide those services are, shall we say, growing like mad right now across the country.