Gardening/permaculture · Healthy lifestyle · Urban skills

My backyard garden

It’s amazing what a little rain and warm spring weather will do!

tomato plantsLast year I planted a small raised bed garden in the backyard of my duplex apartment. I had a couple tomato plants, herbs and peppers, but not much else. As the summer progressed, I got a little bit of food out of the effort but the record heat and drought really did a number on my plants and overall the garden wasn’t particularly successful.

Cue Spring 2012.

Unlike last year, in Austin we’re getting enough rain for the forecasters to scale back our drought rating and the weather has been remarkably warm (I think our last freeze was maybe in February).

Thanks to all our spring rains, gardens in central Texas are going crazy!

garden shotEven before I knew we’d be getting all this rain, this year I planted triple the garden space of last year, using both of my raised beds as well as a series of containers made from storage totes with holes in the bottom. A couple of these containers have water reservoirs (actually, 2.5 gallon water jugs) on the bottom, while others are dirt from top to bottom. It’s all part of the life-long experimenting that comes with gardening.

I have two tomato plants in one of the raised beds, snuggled up with some chard and spinach. In the second bed I also have rosemary, thyme, peppermint, fennel and a single ornamental plant. I also have a series of containers in which I’ve planted basil, comfrey, lemon balm, catnip, zucchini, echinacea, eggplant and pumpkin.

squash and legume growing in compost pileLast, but certainly not least, is the compost pile.

Really. I have a small pile of garden waste (leaves and green matter) and kitchen scraps. At the edge of that is a type of squash yet to identify itself, and some sort of legume, perhaps a pea, which is strange since I don’t typically eat peas or similar plants that could have ended up in the compost.

baby tomatoFor now everything is happy (so happy, in fact, that this early in April I already have a green tomato!), but this leaves me with lots of unanswered questions. Will the zucchini plants survive the (inevitable) onslaught of vine borers? Will the pumpkin take to the chain link fence, or choose to tumble to the ground? Will the tomatoes produce a surplus this year (they didn’t last year)? Will the comfrey, a shade and water loving plant that is super happy right now, make it through the summer?

And perhaps the most important question of them all: will 2012 be the year the peppermint successfully reaches its goal of total garden domination?


For more on container gardening, you might like the article on container gardening in the new issue of Mother Earth News!



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