Adventures in Urban Homesteading: Growing Your Own Garden
As a landscape architect working on public works projects, I tend to focus on hardy, low maintenance, low water use ornamental plants. BUT, when this Spring rolled around, my wife and I shifted focus to something else that we love…the delicious and amazing array of edible plants!
In preparation for the upcoming garden, I built a raised bed out of inexpensive cherry wood and rebar bought from Home Depot. My wife and I also removed a large portion of turf to make room for the garden.
Then we set to work planting seeds and containers of potatoes, beets, peppers (12 different types because I love peppers), tomatoes, onions, corn, kale, carrots, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuces, green beans, squash, zucchini, basil, thyme, blueberries, blackberries, grapes, pumpkins, strawberries, radishes, rhubarb, lemon verbena, cucumbers, and peach and citrus trees (whew!). Sounds like a lot, right? Well, with good space management and timing you can get a lot of bang for your buck.
This picture of the garden hod I built in my woodshop displays our haul from one day of picking. My wife and I grew everything on about a 600 s.f. plot, although you can grow a lot on a much smaller plot.
There are a couple plants that are still a season or two away from producing fruit (the citrus and peach trees), but otherwise we’ve been able to reap the rewards of our (mostly my wife’s) hard work.
So, if you’ve dreamed of growing your own fruits and vegetables but have hesitated because of a lack of space or fear that it wouldn’t be successful, don’t dilly-dally any longer! Many delicious things can be grown in small spaces – pots, even – and late summer and fall edible plants are still out there waiting to be planted by someone just like you, a fellow urban (or suburban) homesteader!
Matt Gruber is a landscape architect and project manager at Callander Associates. He and his wife, Rachel, bought their first home in 2011 and have since put their interest in urban homesteading to practice. Look here for future posts by Matt on brewing beer, growing food, and other adventures!