Edibles in the Garden
What do you do if you love fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden but you don't have a lot of land for a big garden plot? So glad you stopped by today to see how to garden on a very small plot of land but grow enough vegetables and fruits for your family to enjoy throughout the growing season. I am not an expert gardener so the growing season is generally a mix of triumphs and failures. Isn't that what life is like. Why does one plant thrive and another similar plant in similar conditions wither? It's the question that keeps gardening interesting from season to season.
Let's start with the fruits. Above is a picture of blueberries growing on a blueberry bush in my garden. Blueberries are really easy to grow. Plant the bush in a sunny spot and keep it well-watered and that's really all you have to do. I have three bushes. One is quite large, one I cut back this year as it needed some pruning and one I cut back last year so it's coming back this year. All three are loaded with berries that will be ripe enough to pick in a few weeks. You can plant blueberries like you would a hedge allowing for enough space in between the bushes to promote air flow and easy drying after a rain storm. When the berries are ripe you'll have enough from two or three bushes to make muffins, pancakes, bowls of blueberries and lots of other recipes you might like to try. They are sweet and beautifully plump when you pick them from your own bushes.
I also grow some strawberries. I have a wooden box built that keeps the strawberries off the ground and the strawberry fruit drier. It is a bit of a tussle with the local insects as to who gets the strawberries first. I don't use insecticides on any of my plants but I do have a concoction made from Chile pepper and tabasco sauce that keeps most of the insects away from the fruit. I spray it on after a rainfall to help protect the plants.
My last entry into the world of fruit are raspberry vines. A friend gave me some wild vines a few years ago and every year I have these gorgeous raspberries growing abundantly in this spot. I cut them back in the Winter and they start sending out new shoots about this time of year. Come Fall I will have an abundance of vines and berries. These vines have thorns so not good around children but you can buy the thornless variety to plant in your garden.
Next come the vegetables. I always plant leaf lettuce and this year decided on red leaf lettuce. You can pick this for several months. I started bringing lettuce into the house mid-April and as you can see from the picture the same plants are still flourishing. I have about 10 lettuce plants and I end up giving lettuce away as we can't eat it all. Lettuce fresh picked from the garden tastes so much better and is really easy. Plant it, water it, have it in a shaded area for part of the day and it practically grows on it's own.
Peas are another great early crop that don't take much space or much attention. I plant a couple of different varieties. These are Snow Peas and I love to use them in stir fry dishes, salads, and pretty much any dish where vegetables are welcome. They grow on a trellis and are quite pretty with their pea flowers showing on the vines. You plant them in early Spring and get to harvest them late May. When the plants are finished I pull them up, chop them up and return them directly to the planting bed. They compost in a short time and add valuable nutrients to the soil which is then ready for the next crop.
The second variety of peas is the kind you grow for the actual peas inside the pod. You need to let them get really plump on the vine before you harvest. I like to use them in risotto, chicken dishes and some beef stir fry recipes. These also grow up on a trellis so don't take up much space or require much attention. They grow easily from seed so very little expense is involved.
We love squash and zucchini so I generally have squash plants. this year I am trying some in pots to see how they do. I also have some in the ground that have sprung up from the kitchen compost I added to the soil. I have a lot of squash plants from that method. I'm not really sure the exact kind but time will let me know.
I love green and yellow beans so I planted quite a few this year. I interspersed most of them amongst other vegetable plants but have a couple of dedicated rows. You should plant green beans several times and a few weeks apart so you have a continuous supply. They are great with any Summer meal, grow from seed and really are pretty independent once planted. You just have to water consistently.
I grow a lot of herbs both in pots and in the ground. A few are shown above: rosemary; lavender; sage; chives and basil. I also have a lot of lemon balm, lemon verbena, regular and lemon thyme, French Tarragon, Mexican Tarragon, and the list goes on. Herbs are really easy to grow and most will come back every year. If you grow a few herbs along with your fruits and vegetables, you can flavor your meals without salt and everything tastes wonderfully fresh.
Try planting a few things in a small area or in some pots and see how you do. the rewards are truly great as you eat what you've grown. Happy Gardening!