Gardening in Extreme Suburbia

by Susan Cato on May 4, 2010

Seedlings

Over the past few weeks, we have been busy transforming the sunny corner of my tiny suburban yard into a kitchen garden.

As I mentioned before, I live in extreme suburbia in a townhome. Needless to say I have a very small plot of land to use for my garden. I am fortunate enough to have a section of my back yard that is sunny where I have constructed my boxes for my raised beds (with the help of my favorite niece and my daughter).

I also started several plants from seeds that I bought from the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants, including: Purple Calabash Tomato, Hyacinth Beans, and Italian Parsley. I also purchased seedlings from Seeds of Change – including their 6 pack of Farm Favorite Tomato Seedlings, and Sweet Pepper Seedlings. I also planted some onions (red and white) and grew a few other things from seed, including some California Wonder peppers and even sugar pumpkin. Not sure what I will do with that though!

Seedling in the morning sun

I am on a mission to prove that anyone can do this – even someone like me who has never been a gardener before.

Here is what we did:

Constructed boxes out of 12″ x 1″ wood. For each box, I leveled the ground beneath, built and placed the box on top – then shoveled out about 4 inches within. Being that the soil here is almost all clay, I layered sand and gravel at the bottom of the pit to help facilitate drainage.

My soil is a mixture of topsoil, compost, composted manure and a small bit of sand. Mixing enough of the recipe to fill the largest box was very physical and strenuous work. When I was done I had  the most beautiful dirt in the world! I have never been so proud of dirt – ever!

Kitchen garden in my sunny corner

We planted the hyacinth beans in the corner to add some height (with a tepee out of branches found in the woods). We also anchored some twine on the fence for the peas. We planted herbs in pots (many of which I started growing last year!) and positioned them in the same area. I do plan to install a rain barrel in the next week or so as well, intended to be the main source of water for my garden.

Herbs in containers

I am so proud of this. Let’s see how well I do when this garden grows – I will certainly need help with pest management, moisture control, etc., as the hot and humid summer sets in.

Here is a full slideshow of my garden photos so far:


Wish me luck!

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Jen on the Edge May 5, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Wow, I am so impressed! So much hard work and look at the gorgeous results. I’m looking forward to seeing more photos as everything grows.

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