I love the gardening season. My favourite time of year is probably fall when I get to harvest the rewards of the summer growth, but there are lots of things you can harvest right in your own back yard all through the summer and fall months. Gardening doesn’t have to be a big chore, or take over your whole back yard, but there is nothing quite like eating your own fresh produce. You harvest when produce is ripe for maximum nutritional benefit. It also helps the environment by reducing chemical use, shipping of produce, and even making your own compost, if you add that in. And the best part is, you don’t need a lot of space, or a lot of cash.
I have a friend coming over this week to help up-cycle some skids into this garden of plenty. Herbs, lettuce, hanging strawberries, and all sorts of things can grow so easily in these do-it-yourself plant walls. It’s so compact it could fit on an apartment balcony. I plan to mount mine against an existing fence. I’m so excited!
But I started some other projects waiting for the new wall construction, and I thought I would share. I had to tear out some neglected gardens last summer, and this year is more about rebuilding. I did a lot of gardening over the past few days thanks to some perennial donations by two friends: Cathie and Carol. I added pots to my perennial beds for some contrasting looks and planted two tomato plants, and some purple kale in this large pot. I can harvest the kale several times while the tomato plants are establishing themselves. I have mint in another smaller pot for tea and tabouleh recipes. And I’ve incorporated perennial herbs right in among the flowers; thyme, sage, and oregano look lovely, and provide fresh cut herbs whenever you want through the summer months, as well as fall harvest for drying or freezing.
My fun project this weekend was potatoes in a pot. I’ve added some step-by-step photos to show you how simple it was. I purchased two pots of the same size and shape for about $10 each. I can re-use them every year. I cut the sides out of one pot, placed a small amount of soil in the bottom of the other, and then placed the pot with cut sides inside that one. I grabbed a few potatoes from my pantry that were a bit soft, and cut them so that each piece had an ‘eye’. Each one of these will grow roots and start a new potato plant. One potato plant needs a 10 litre pot to grow. I planted only two in mine. Add the potato slice once you have about 4 inches of soil in the pot. Cover it with another inch of soil. As green growth begins above the soil line you add more dirt throughout the summer until it reaches the top of the pot. You can harvest any time after the plant shows little white flowers. Keep the soil moist, but not wet.
I decided to give it a try with carrots, too. I just filled a pot and put seed on top, but used the same cut-out container method for easy fall harvesting. That’s the last photo. I added a marigold for fun in the middle that my daughter gave me for Mother’s Day. Anyways, give the potatoes a try and let me know how you made out! Or send me more small garden ideas that inspire you.