Tiny garden growing

Food, Nutrition and Agriculture
pitchshifter
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Tiny garden growing

Post by pitchshifter » Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:58 pm

I thought I'd share my experiences growing edibles in our tiny garden :) We moved in last year having previously always lived in flats with no outside space, so I'm a gardening novice. We did nothing with the garden last year as I was hugely pregnant when we moved, so we've finally started on it this week. Our garden is very small (around 4.5x3.5 metres) and we want to use the space for planting, eating, and giving the kids somewhere to play, so lots to fit in a tiny space!

This week we've bought 2 veg trugs, giving us a raised bed area that is 9x2 feet for some square foot gardening. I've probably done a thousand things wrong already, but this is all new and a bit experimental! I'd appreciate any tips or constructive criticisms to guide me on my way... Today I've filled the beds with peat-free all veg compost, and added a couple of bags of John Innes just because I'd read about it everywhere so it felt like a good idea! I bought a bunch of different vegetables at the garden centre, all around 1-3 inches high, and planted them out as follows:
1x mini cucumber and 1x ridged cucumber (1 square)
1x plum tomato (1 square)
1x cherry tomato (1 square)
2x courgette (2 squares)
9x peas (1 square)
7x butterhead lettuce (2 squares)
9x rainbow chard (2 squares)

So far I've used 10 of my 18 squares, I want to use at least 6 squares for perennials (anybody who's read this far know if rainbow chard counts as a perennial?) and I have some perpetual spinach ready to plant out.

I've also planted an alpine strawberry in a little pot, and also have a pineberry, blueberry bush and rhubarb all already planted in containers. My blueberry bush is looking pretty good with loads of flowers, but my rhubarb keeps losing leaves so not sure what's going on with that, I think perhaps it needs something to feed it rather than just water...

Many of you experienced gardeners are probably shaking your heads in dismay if you've read this far, but I'm having fun and learning, and definitely want to learn more! I'll keep updating as I add things, and figure out what works and what doesn't :D

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Quill
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Re: Tiny garden growing

Post by Quill » Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:57 am

I'm interested to see how you get on, our garden is much of the same size.

featherstick
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Re: Tiny garden growing

Post by featherstick » Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:06 am

This is a great start and I'd say you've done everything right so far. Buying inputs and plugs isn't cheap but it is a good way to take some of the inception costs out of the experiment and get some experience before proceeding.

I'm sure you're thinking of this already but you'll need to be right on top of watering and feeding. The compost feed will run out in a few weeks so you'll need liquid feed for the rest of the season. Rhubarb is hungry and a long-term plant so will need a separate pot with lots of feeding. If your courgettes take off you won't need two plants and could take the weaker one out to make space for something else. You probably won't need 9 chard either as they are very productive once the get going. You could put some dwarf french beans in instead - dead easy and very productive. And some spuds, in separate pots or supermarket bags.

Trugs and pots dry out really quickly so check for watering morning and night (the big benefit of having it all in the garden). You'll find yourself watering even when it's raining. You can buy and/or hack self-watering systems pretty easily e.g. a 2-litre coke bottle with a few holes drilled in the cap, bottom cut off and up-ended in the pot will deliver a good trickle of water direct to roots and can be refilled at the open end.

Start a compost heap now if poss. A dalek won't take up much space and the resulting compost will be a huge asset next year. If managed properly it should neither smell nor attract rats.

And lastly I posted some notes on here from a container-growing training session I attended years ago. There's a useful list of what grows in shade and semi-shade which is a big issue in a garden. You can find it by searching for "vertical veg" in the search bar.

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Arwen Thebard
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Re: Tiny garden growing

Post by Arwen Thebard » Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:13 am

" I'm having fun and learning, and definitely want to learn more! "

That says it all, great attitude. :D

Dont forget you can grow up as well, fences, walls, posts, trees all make good vertical supports and can double your available space.

Perhaps post a picture or two as you go.
Arwen The Bard

"What did you learn today?"

Arzosah
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Re: Tiny garden growing

Post by Arzosah » Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:43 pm

Wonderful stuff, good for you - especially with little ones around :) Seconding/thirding vertical veg, composting and feeding and watering. The only other comment I'd make is that alpine strawberries don't seem to be worth the space, even though they taste wonderful, but they might be worth it for you as something child-sized.

Plus - I don't know how far you moved when you moved in, but keep an eye out for elderflower trees (just coming into flower) and blackberry brambles (for much later in the year). There's all sorts you *can* forage, but those two are very common and very distinctive. Check with books or post photos on here for others to see if you're at all unsure.

Congratulations :)
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jansman
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Re: Tiny garden growing

Post by jansman » Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:29 pm

Square foot gardening is something I do.As big a garden as I have,the ' lesser' crops,as I call them,are grown in a square foot bed.These are crops my wife and I use,but not in great quantities.It works.Have a play with it.
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pitchshifter
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Re: Tiny garden growing

Post by pitchshifter » Mon Apr 29, 2019 10:33 pm

Thanks everyone! I forgot to mention my wormery, which should hopefully provide me with some great compost by next Spring. I set it up in December so it hasn't really taken off yet (apparently the worms go sort of dormant when the temperature is less than 10 degrees), but I'm hoping it will really start picking up now. It should also make a liquid feed (worm tea), but in the meantime I'll definitely pick up some liquid feed so thanks for that tip.

I've got a tiered outdoor plant stand (thanks Ikea :) ) and am going to be growing herbs on it in pots, so I guess that's some vertical gardening. I've got most of the herbs lined up, just need to get some more compost to pot them out and I'll update when I've done that. I'm also planning to use supports along the back of the veg trugs to grow the peas/cucumber etc. upwards. I've got some little troughs to go underneath the veg trugs as well as I read a tip online about putting some shade-loving stuff under there to catch the nutritious drips that should fall through, but haven't decided what's going in them yet. Featherstick I'll take a look at your notes as they might help me decide, thanks!

Arzosah we've got an alleyway behind our houses and the wall is thick with brambles along most of the length of it. Last year I collected enough to make 6 jars of jam (my first time making jam :D ) and I'm hoping to do the same again this year. I also went on a little foraging walk recently that was set up for mums and babies. It wasn't always easy to take everything in and remember it with a baby in a sling and a toddler to manage, but we had a great time and I think the lady who ran it is planning to set up some more, so hopefully they'll be more foraging opportunities to come!

Thanks again for your interest for your interest so far and all of the tips.

ForgeCorvus
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Re: Tiny garden growing

Post by ForgeCorvus » Tue Apr 30, 2019 6:57 pm

If you've got anywhere to put hanging baskets, you could try food plants in those.
We've had good results with a tomato called "Tumbling Tom",low maintenance, lots of small sweet fruits and a rather 'drapy' habit...... The biggest problem is getting any toms into the house as I was grazing on them every time I walked by the hanger :oops:
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pitchshifter
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Re: Tiny garden growing

Post by pitchshifter » Thu May 02, 2019 9:39 pm

Forge I was in the local sells everything shop near me today having a mooch round the plants, saw an extremely sad, droopy looking tomato plant all on it's own with a 99p sticker on it. Me and the toddler agreed that for 99p we really should be giving it a home and some TLC. Looked a bit closer and it's a tumbling tom! Then the shop lady said we could have it for free as it was so sad looking :D Hopefully we save it and get to try some.

Sadly it's not all coming up roses in all areas of my tiny garden (not least because I haven't planted any roses :lol: ) It seems my cucumbers and tomatoes may be suffering from the effects of cold, wind, sun scorch, or a combination of all 3. I'd seen loads online of people planting out in the last week or so and thought I'd be safe, perhaps my plants are still just a bit too small? I've also just seen Janman's frost warning so going to need to rig something up to try to save my plants. That gorgeous Easter weekend lulled me into a false sense of security...

ForgeCorvus
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Re: Tiny garden growing

Post by ForgeCorvus » Mon May 06, 2019 7:05 pm

Good result! Frugal is a prep.
Little local shops (like your 'Arkright's') are a great resource, I try to use them whenever possible
Horticultural fleece is a good frost proofing... But I'm sure better brains will have other answers
Londonpreppy wrote: At its core all prepping is, is making sure you're not down to your last sheet of loo roll when you really need a poo.
Tak wrote:"All Things Strive" Gd Tak 'Gar
CheeseGate :D

Area 4, bordering 5

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