Gardening Small for Big Results

I decided when I started to write this blog that I would write about other people’s gardens that included not just those like Isola Bella, but those that people with limited space and time put together.  I grew up in a wooded area and my father would garden in clearings and places that got enough sun.  In spite of this, I have always had Mr. MacGregor’s garden in my head, with its long, neat rows and rectangular shape—and I suspect most people do.

Just because you don’t have Mr. MacGregor’s acreage, though, doesn’t mean you can’t have a great, high-yielding vegetable garden.

Saturday's harvest

My friend Kim has planted a garden for a number of years that is still quite small—about 5 feet by 10 is my guess.  She always has more vegetables than she and her husband can eat.

This year’s bumper crop is the cucumbers, with the tomatoes running a close second.  I always envy Kim’s tomato plants, which somehow look good and continue to yield for her through August.  This year she bought a plant that was an heirloom tomato grafted onto a hybrid with resistance to all the various pests and wilts.

Tomatoes with green ones coming on. Kim picks them a little early, before they're attractive to the wildlife.

This has been a success, and she’s planning to buy more next year.  She also has summer savory and several varieties of basil.

This year, we both decided to try winter squash and she has two coming on right now, which she has covered with straw in hopes that the squirrels will leave them alone.  So far it seems to be working.

I can't see those squash!

Like everyone in Arlington, she has trouble with pilfering squirrels and of course the birds that poke their beaks into tomatoes for a quick taste.  The only thing she puts bird netting over is the bean tower, and she takes that off after there are enough leaves to hide the baby beans.

She has also integrated herbs and blueberry bushes among more traditional foundation plantings.  The blueberry bushes are attractive and will turn red in the fall, so she is hoping they will do well.  She uses soaker hoses to keep everything watered and digs in organic material in the fall when she puts the garden to bed.  Unlike me, she doesn’t plant a fall garden, but I’ve given her the handout from the fall gardening talk at Central Library in case she changes her mind.

View of the main garden, bean tower and happy cukes, back left behind the tomatoes

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