Alchemy Garden Journal Entry 2: I Have No Space!

My husband and I live in a small townhouse by a park and forest. It’s cozy and easy to maintainperfect for our hectic work schedules. At the time that we bought it, we really weren’t ready for a large lawn or outdoor space that required a lot of work. In fact, buying a house too early that requires a lot of additional work and upkeep not only adds to your stress, but it also adds a lot of dollars. Three years later, the lack of outdoor space has me a little frustrated. But that’s okay! The most encouraging thing about gardening communities is that they encourage any kind of growing in even the tiniest spaces!

3’x5′ usable growing space.

The front of my house consists of a 6’x8’ patio with a fence. Beyond the fence, I have a 4’x8′ lawn. The lady who owned the house before me obviously had no intentions of gardening, so a bunch of cobblestones and pebbles were dumped in front of the house to erase the need to maintain grass. Honestly, I don’t blame her. But I really wish the stones weren’t there because they’re HELL to remove. I’d rather have mulch and dirt.

6’x8′ front yard plot. Dead herbs from 2 years ago, and 2 useless bushes.

So, I decided to tackle landscaping the front of my house and turning part of it into a mini garden into phases: each month, I’ll focus on 3 different aspects of the front:

May: I would clean the patio and transform it into a spot for growing herbs and vegetables.

June: I would clean and re-landscape the cobblestone lawn and grow new bushes and possibly perennial herbs.

July: I would clean up the bushes underneath my window, add new soil and mulch, and grow additional perennial herbs and flowers.

Doing the work in this manner would make gardening more affordable for me and the work less overwhelming.

With my new clean space, I was able to determine just how much room I can dedicate to growing. Even though the space measured 6’x8’, I still have a big-ass HVAC and electrical panels almost smack in the middle of the space, subtracting roughly 3’x3’ from the area.

Using the gardening books for advice, I decided that I could fit a 1’x4’ raised bed in the back corner, and a 2×2 shelf along the fence next to the table and chair set. The shelf can house roughly 6 medium sized potted plants.

I can also fit 2 medium to larger pots (12” to 14”) along a small patch of wall by the front door.

Despite the fence, each area gets at least 4 hours of sunlight at some point in the day, making them all decent spots to grow edible stuff.

Now, what the heck am I going to plant? My dangerous ALL-IN personality was ready to start buying big and exotic stuff like Japanese pineberries, blueberries, and even a fig tree!

My parents have had a lot of success growing vegetables, fruit, and herbs in their garden, so my dad recommended growing tomatoes because they’re easy to care for. “Throw them in the ground, water them, and watch them grow,” he said. “And just beware of critters taking a big chunk out of your hard earned crops.”

I missed a lot of the growing windows since I’m starting so late, so I decided I would purchase young plants instead of starting from seeds. My local gardening center has a lot of variety, so I settled on herbs, tomatoes, and marigolds for the patio. I also have an old organic red onion that sprouted, so I might try to plant that too.

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