Thursday, November 10, 2011
10 ways to grow food in a tiny backyard
1-Stop wishing for a bigger yard. You may be pining for 5 acres but you might be surprised with what you can actually do with the space you have. By all means keep dreaming of your farmlet complete with cow and orchard but there is no reason you can't make the best of the space you have right now.
2-Get your hands on a copy of Jackie French's Backyard Self Sufficiency. It's such a great book for anyone who likes to grow food and keep chooks (her Chook Book is awesome too) but I have found it a great resource for my space poor garden.
3-Only grow food your family likes to eat. If you don't have lots of space to experiment then keep the prime real estate for food that won't go to waste. No point devoting room to eggplant which no one in your house likes to eat if you could chuck in another strawberry plant.
4-Consider how big that tiny seedling will grow to. Last year we planted pumpkins which took over a garden bed and part of the lawn. If I'd of put them in a different spot and planted less they wouldn't have been such a pest.
5-Use containers. If, like us, you want to devote some of your tiny backyard to lawn for the kids think about containers. Try wine barrels, styrofoam boxes, hanging baskets & pots.
6-Consider a couple of chooks. Not only will they eat your scraps,lay delicious eggs and enthrall the kids-you can put them to work turning over garden beds, eating snails and fertilizing the plants. Consider a bantam breed that is smaller and remember they will eat your seedlings so protect them.
7-Outsource space. Want to grow a heap of garlic/potatoes/watermelon etc but don't know where to put it? Why not ask a friend with a big backyard for a corner of their garden. Or seek a local community garden and take up a plot there as well.
8-Think outside the box. Grow herbs up a wall in a hanging shoe rack, build a retaining wall border of garden beds, grow food on the nature strip or tear up your entire lawn for food. There are some great ideas on Pinterest.
9-Make the best of the space you have. When you pull something up, plant something else. Don't feel like you need to have a perfectly ordered garden in neat rows-fill the gaps!
10-See the benefits to only having limited space. Weeding and pest control are easier, you need less water and your ability to spend more time with less plants can bring great yields. You often find that a confined garden has less problems with frost, heat and wind. Not to mention the fact that you might only have to walk 4 steps to pick tonight's salad for dinner.