This week guest Blogger, and urban gardener, Greg Poirier, gives us some insight into his garden space and ways to push your gardening a bit further this season. You can check out his blog here.Want to be a guest blogger? Get in touch and let us know.
Notes From An Urban Gardener
After last year’s success, I expanded my garden a bit to include:
- Two small plots bordered with cedar (about 6 x 3′). One for perennials and one for annuals
- Two medium-sized pots (about 1′ in diameter) for sweet peppers and a variety of hot peppers
- One very large 3′ planter (for a huge tomato plant that delivered dozens of large fruit)
- Two upside down hanging tomato planters (used this year for heirloom varieties)
- One large planting bag (used for potatoes)
Here are my recommendations:
Asparagus grows well in a small plot and once you get it going, it will last up to 20 years. The downside is that it is finicky to start and you have to let it grow for three years before your first harvest. Asparagus is sold as roots, they take a fair amount of care their first year, but if they survive that winter you will have a nice crop moving forward.
Up your game this season with Heirloom varieties. They are tougher to grow, but are often more beautiful and flavourful than their hybrid cousins.
I’ve grown mine in hanging upside down pots (like these that Veseys sells). The pots are good for multiple seasons and don’t take up any valuable space on the ground or your deck. The tomatoes above are some of my heirloom harvest.
Like Asparagus, Blueberry Bushes are for those of you playing the long game. You aren’t going to get a yield in your first year, but they are a great treat in the future and can last for a decade or two. Be sure to plant at least two varieties, as they cannot self-fertilize. Pay close attention to the label on the transplants, these can grow quite large (I was surprised to find mine will top out at around 10 ft high). Keep in mind that blueberry bushes can be a nice “border plant” alternative to a hedge if you are tight for space.
This year I grew a variety of chili peppers, as well as bell red peppers. They are fussier than their cousin, the tomato, but are beautiful when they bear fruit (especially if you have varieties producing different colours) and are great for the end of the growing season when you pickle spicy beans (recipe here) or make salsa.
The peppers in the picture above came from two medium-sized (1′ wide) pots that each produced dozens of fruit. If you grow peppers in a pot (instead of a plot) you can bring them inside and have them survive for the next year.
Uncoated Seeds and Natural Fertilizer
As you gain more experience, seek out uncoated seeds. Additionally, you can use organic fertilizers. This can be done with good old-fashioned homemade compost, purchased compost, seaweed (great for nitrogen greedy plants) and of course manure.
If you enjoyed your early experiments in gardening and want to continue, planning longer term and planting multi-year crops are the next logical steps. Don’t get rid for your annuals like beans and herbs, but expand your space to try new things and start investing in a bit of new space and tools.
Have questions about urban gardening? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments section below. Good luck in the spring!
Written By: Greg Poirier
Photo Credits: Greg Poirer