Friday, September 23, 2011

Finding More Growing Space

I've been inspired after reading a gardening book I bought.

Problem is I read the entire thing in one sitting and it left me wanting more. And it was one of those books where I should have had a pen and paper on hand to jot down ideas that occurred to me as I read through it.

I got some ideas about how to utilise the space in my garden more. The book is geared towards balcony gardeners and those with little spaces. I'm lucky 'cos we've got a whopper of a backyard compared to others in our area. But I still long for more space at times. I really would like to grow asparagus but I don't think I have a spot I could dedicate to them. Until the kids get too old for the trampoline that is. I've already got plans for the trampoline spot.

So, some of the things that occurred to me...
•  Plant some beans in two pots at the base of this arbor. Can you see the arbor? It's actually just two big branches from a tree that died out the front. It's been stuck into the ground for a couple of years now looking bare and not really living up to the visions I initially had, I've tried in vain to grow clematis up the trunks but they've died. Now I'm thinking if I put some pots at the base I could grow something edible like beans. Worth a try.

 •  Make better use of the chook run. They have a prime spot along the back fence which is in full sun. But they've scratched it bare and if I planted anything there I know they'd gobble it up in a second. So I decided to make a little shady tunnel for them under this old table and pop a bunch of growing things in pots on top. I'm thinking I can train pumpkins or cucumbers all over the place and make an even bigger, shadier tunnel for them come summer. And I'll fill the table top with pots of herbs and tiny tumbling tomatoes and other edible things. Luckily, silkies can't fly or jump very high so the potted garden should be safe from them. It doesn't look like much at the moment, but you wait til summer.

 • Find more things to use as pots. This wastepaper basket was destined for the op shop but I think it'll be good in the garden. I was reading this morning that Liz from Suburban Tomato is also looking into using different things for pots at the moment.

• Make use of the space under the slide. Wasted space behind the broad bean patch that was completely overgrown with weeds (still a few to go) and seemed to house enormous numbers of snails. Tricky thing is, over summer this spot is shaded by the Japanese maple. I don't think it gets much sun at all and I'm not sure what I'll be able to grow there. Any suggestions? For the time being I decided to clear it out a bit and make this little seat to sit on and have a cup of tea while contemplating.

I got lots of other ideas that I wrote down after a second flick through the book and they're waiting for another day.

Meanwhile for a rooster update... as I was re-jigging bits at the back fence my neighbour popped his head over. Not Mr.P but the one with the yappy dog on the other side. In a lowered voice he asked if the sound of those bloody roosters was driving me mad. I assured him that it was, but confessed that I was guilty of giving Mr. P those roosters. Anyway, upshot is that Monkey Man has decided to have a quiet word with Mr. P and suggest that something needs to be done. Monkey Man has known Mr P for many years and gets along well with him. And he's not a big wuss like me.

I'm not sure if "wuss" is in the venacular in countries other than Australia. Translation = gutless, coward, chicken, scaredy cat.


  1. I love your posts VG. Thanks for that look at your garden - it looks fabulous and just like I want mine to look in the not too distant future!
    Thanks again
    Greenie x

  2. A girl after my own heart 0 always looking for new places to plant up with veggies. How about a choko over your chook house? - they grow like crazeeee

  3. Interesting post. I have a big pot with beans growing in it that is at the base of one of the struts of the swingset. I'm hoping they'll grow up it. Perfect!

  4. I'm sure you will come up with some great ideas - seems like you're on the right track. Even though we are on acreage, I still have pots everywhere - now have a little veggie garden happening near the clothes line. I figured I'm there a lot ....

  5. Leafy greens...silver beet, chard, lettuce, rocket...would go in the semi shaded spot where the broad beans are. The beans will have fixed nitrogen in the soil and the greens will love it!

  6. I've been looking around my yard for ways to grow more too! I think I'll add more containers for growing. Maybe some new wooden planters!

  7. That book sounds like one I would enjoy too. I think that gardening in a small space demands a special type of skill. You have to be more inventive.
    The arbour poles look good (strong enough)for growing squashes or cucumbers.

  8. You could try Malabar Red climbing spinach up your arbor it is heat tolerant and grew all through our hot QLD summer last year. It has deep roots so plant it in the ground. Under the slide would be the ideal place for asparagus if it gets a bit of sun. Since there is not foot traffic under the slide (or is there?) you could dig a nice deep bed then mound it up.

  9. I wonder if potatoes would grow under the slide?
    Beetroot can also be grown in semi shade.

  10. Oh I do like your arbour, and I agree that you could grow something a little more robust on it... how about cucumber? I would wind twine up and around it too, to give it some extra grip.

    Can you grow things up the outside of your chicken coop? I grow beans up mine, and this year tomatoes and a cucumber or two. I love their little shaded run, I'll bet they appreciate it too when the hot weather sets in.

  11. Some great ideas! Re under the slide, you could try Rhubarb or asparagus. They like a bit of shade.

  12. :-), glad that the other guy next door will have a talk to Mr P. instead of you ! I am looking for more space too, I have lots but my problem is too much bush, can't plant in the bush, then snails, opossums (a pest here in NZ), birds... need to keep close to the house, and maximize the sunny spots :-).


  13. I love your garden - it looks fabulous to potter around. I have successfully grown potatoes in the shade - you don't get as many but you do get some (Kipflers). My personal fav though is Parsley, parsley and more parsley - but I am particularly obsessed with it. Or you could try ginger - it likes shade and I did manage to grow a bit last year although it really is a tropical plant. Thanks for the link - that was a lovely thing to do, and the basket idea - like it!

  14. Great post, thanks. I stumbled across this post about making concrete/cement pots out of packaging found in most homes. Perhaps you could make a few to add to your collection? Here's the link:
    Hope it works and hope it's useful. lol x

  15. You've got some great ideas there. I can just see the hen's tunnel in summer draped in cucumber and pumpkin leaves.

    Oh, and we have wuss over here.

  16. Wuss over here is 'woose' :) great ideas there lots of them. I've read lot lately of hanging gardens too, brilliant use of space. Great post. Fay

  17. I love your back garden VG! Its gorgeous! I love the combo of productive, native & exotic planting. It works really well.

  18. LOL, I've only just removed the kids trampoline yesterday as I've declared they are far too big for it and don't use it enough. I have ben eyeing off that space for more raised beds for a while now.

    I've only just come across your blog & can't wait to read more.


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