Growing in a Very Small Garden

I have written before about my small flat and uber tiny garden and this year I have attempted to grow more than a few flowers and a couple of lettuces around the edges of my outdoor space.  Let’s be very clear about this space I refer to as ‘my tiny courtyard garden’.  It is really just a glorified narrow walkway that has been fenced off between the two flats.  It measures 180 x 500 cm.  One end and one side has a built up narrow garden bed.  I say ‘garden bed’ but when I arrived the soil was hard, dry, worm-less and sour.  It sported a luxurious growth of oxalis [wood sorrel].  I spent the first year digging kitchen waste in and letting it rot down.  I planted a lavender and Boston Ivy and Jasmine to cover the ugly fence.


Everything is growing so nicely – by Autumn 2011 Outdoor Sid sat beneath a flaming canopy of Boston Ivy and was so beautiful

Buddha 3 cropped

Inspired by the endless tales and photos of abundance that come streaming in from so many of the dearly loved blogs* I follow and educated beyond belief in the arts of ‘water wicked containers’ [‘Wicked’ as in candle-wick not the ‘wicked witch’ as I originally thought – insert red face here!] thanks to the sterling efforts of one narf77, I hit the sales and got myself organised over a period of about three months.

I made lots of compost, purchased two really big self watering and be-wheeled troughs and many small plastic brightly coloured containers and buckets.  I made holes all around the sides of the plastic containers about 15 cm up from the bottom, filled the bottom spaces with gravel and filled the rest of the containers up with layers of dried lavender branches, compost and good organic potting soil.  I kept buying tubs and making them up until I had no more plants left and coincidentally, no more space left.

3 sept

I wanted to go up as much as possible, but preliminary investigation made it obvious I was not going to be able to hammer in some trellis to the house walls or to hang baskets from those same walls.  They are stucco and not very good stucco either.  The windows are aluminium and there is virtually no good wood available to use as an anchor.  Back to the drawing board.

A wander around Bunnings found me standing in front of a  random collection of green plastic stakes attractively wrapped in a single piece of cardboard proclaiming themselves tomato tripods.  I bought one and took it home to play with.  It was perfect – three stakes with one end sharply pointed, nine cross bars to attach the stakes together either as a triangle or in a straight line and fitting perfectly into my big troughs and around the outside of my larger plastic tubs.   I raced back and bought five more.

While my courtyard currently looks like a harbour full of sailing ships with sails furled it won’t be too long before all kinds of yummy things and pretty things are scrambling all over the place.  I hope.

10 sept

To join in with the things already flourishing in the garden – the lavender and Boston Ivy and gorgeous Jasmine that falls over Outdoor Sid’s head, I have planted three different tomatoes, two heirlooms and one not.  Strawberries and petunias are planted about them as companions.  Ten lettuces of different varieties, arugula, perpetual spinach, silver beet [chard], celery, broccoli and cauliflower.  There is also a bucket full of peas [bit worried about these, not a lot of room for them to go up or out really]

Herbs include parsley, oregano. thyme, mint and nepeta [catmint] joining the Bay tree in a pot.

8 sept

There are three hanging baskets on the fence holding sweet peas and strawberries and lobelia, petunias and alyssum for pretty colour.  There are buckets of pansies scattered about on the shadier side and getting ready to grace the front step when ready.

For good luck I threw a handful of nasturtium seeds into the garden as well – but Orlando rebelled and sat on top of most of them as they germinated.  He’s lost most of his sun bathing spots and is reduced to communing with Outdoor Sid’s companion cat


Tig and Cat1

Or sitting atop the fence and dreaming of days gone by when he had an outdoor space to call his own and there was no helpful little puppy bounding about.  Poor Orlando!

25 10 14 1

Helpful puppy

5 sept

I seem to have made my own little eco-system in this tiny enclosed space and everything is growing like crazy.  I’ll post a follow up in a month just to see how it’s doing.

I’m already eating lettuce, spinach and arugula.  The herbs are all in second or third year and still producing.  I would have liked to put in some cucumbers and capsicums, but ran out of space.  Maybe next year.

*For those of you who may be interested in my gardening inspirations I follow these bloggers closely and all have been most generous with their inspirations, advice and thoughtful comments.

Fran at The Road to Serendipity

Alys at Gardening Nirvana

Robbie at Palm Rae Urban Potager

Wendy at Quarter-Acre Lifestyle

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!