June 19, 2012

An Asphalt Veggie Garden and A Half Acre Homestead

Posted by Kristin

Now that the birds and bees are buzzing and you can get lots of goodies at your local farmer's market, its about time for a plant post. This year I decided to plant a number of veggies in containers, mainly because I wanted the ease and convenience of being able to maintain and harvest them right outside my own backdoor. So shortly after memorial day (when the real chance of frost for this zone has gone by), I snagged a handful of veggie starts from the nursery and got to potting them up. 

Basil, zucchini and rosemary starts have a sunny, new home.

Old window boxes, retired self-watering containers, and even plastic storage tubs
can be used for veggies- just make sure to drill plenty of drainage holes in the bottom.

Its been a few weeks now and everything is growing really well. The tomatoes have nearly doubled in size and the lettuce seeds have started to sprout. When thinking about a location for these containers, I knew I needed a spot that received at least 6 hours of direct sun (the recommended minimum requirement for many vegetables). While there were other options on the lawn, I knew any container left on the grass would kill the turf underneath it. The last and best spot available was on either side of our garage door. While not the traditional locale for a garden, sometimes you just gotta get creative and place the taste of fresh veggies and herbs over aesthetics. By lining the pots up on either side, we can still access the garage door and what's inside (mainly our grill- can't have that baby blocked in). This set up only requires us to park a little further back in the driveway-a small compromise for the deliciousness of a fresh tomato.

So what did I plant?
-1 Sungold Tomato (a super sweet yellow variety)
-1 Early Girl Tomato (an early red variety good for salads and sandwiches)
-1 Cayenne Pepper
-1 Yellow Bell Pepper
-1 Bush Cucumber (more compact variety for containers)
-1 Black Beauty Zucchini (more compact variety for containers)
-2 Basil plants
-1 Flatleaf Italian Parsley plant
-1 Rosemary plant
-A variety of different lettuces (I plan to resow at 2 week intervals to have lettuce all summer)

An asphalt garden- nothing wrong with that!

A sungold tomato and yellow bell pepper may share the same color but they taste pretty different!

Mesculin mix is really easy to grow.

Fresh rosemary- great in marinades, dips and baked dishes.
It can even be brought inside as a houseplant.

And now to really inspire us all to do more with less, I thought I'd share this interview I recently read on the ins and outs of an intensive small-scale homestead on just half an acre. That's right-Deb has fit chickens, gardens, fruit and nut trees, and a composting area all onto half an acre (that's not counting her house and some general yard space). 

Deb Legge's gardens and greenhouse on just half an acre. photo via.
Read more about Deb's amazing homestead here. Then get outside and get your hands dirty!

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