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My (Beginner) Plan To Grow A Backyard Garden – With Key Tips From Some Experts: “Climate Victory Gardens” Are Here

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In celebration of Earth Day I’m going back to my survivalist roots (bringing the bad puns with me) and revealing to you my patio and backyard plan to install a “Victory Garden” so us Hendersons can attempt to grow and eat our own food (AND SO CAN YOU). It’s been in the works for a while, and today seemed appropriate to talk about it, and give homage to the one thing that connects us all (that’s you, mother earth). “Victory Gardens” were this genius idea the government had during WW1 and WW2 to encourage people to grow their own backyard and community gardens. And it worked. At one point it yielded almost 40% of America’s fruits and vegetables. It was a decades-long campaign because transporting fruits and veggies became difficult with fewer workers, rationing healthy food was important and they felt that it was good for morale – both within the community as something they did together, and just as a positive and productive thing to do physically to support yourself while your country was in crisis. Ring a bell?

What this video for a little sneak peek at our plan…

Well, I set out to do this before I realized there was a movement happening, this time for a different battle – climate change. Deeming the new name, Climate Victory Gardens, and I’m so glad I’m not alone. If you are like me, you are probably thinking you need a huge yard or like 4 raised beds to have a proper vegetable garden, but by the end of this post, you’ll realize that you can even do it on a tiny patio or balcony.

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But why NOW? You see the big Q has stopped all the hustle, noise and busyness and it has become clear what is essential in every single way. We are forced to look at every purchase and decide if we want it bad enough to either risk doing it ourselves or pay to have someone else make that sacrifice. So think hard about it, guys.

We are lucky enough to be up in the mountains, and truly have little to complain about in the scheme of things. But getting good produce is hard up here and yet I’ve never wanted to be healthier or to cook more. (There are two grocery stores, but we avoid going and can order pantry supplies online so I realized that its just dairy, produce and meat that we need).

Organic and local produce isn’t just our hipster LA preference, it’s supporting the principals that go along with them and that is generally lacking up here. Buying produce grown and shipped from other continents, imported 35,000 miles away, food that we could literally grow in our own backyard seems like a fictional story and not one that I want to hear or tell. According to greenamerica.org our global food system contributes up to 29% of greenhouse gas emissions. It doesn’t have to be like this. So, Mother Earth, I’m listening harder to the message you’ve been trying to send, I have the time and due to our current world standstill, I finally have the real motivation (and I know I’m not alone) to reduce my impact by growing my own vegetable garden (amongst other things – lots of permanent positive changes are happening over here).

This isn’t my first attempt at being a “farmer”. I put in a raised bed in our LA backyard last year to make some soup veggies (shown above), but I planted what I wanted to eat not thinking about the season, sun, location, water, climate or what would thrive. It would be like Brian buying a professional-grade sewing machine, then being shocked when he sat down to make his own tuxedo, he failed. Ultimately I lacked the time to tend for it, the know-how, any experience, but mostly the real motivation. I could get delicious organic local veggies at the farmers market every Sunday so that convenience kept me from having the need.

Convenience is the killer of innovation, and it’s going to be different this time. Brian and I were both nervous that I was getting too ambitious, and was going to invest even more time and money to again pull up 4 small carrots after 6 weeks and feel dumb. No more waste. I will be this smarter. And by “be smarter” I mean that I reached out to two experts for help – a local company called Farmscape, and a great garden supply resource, Gardeners.com and with their help came up with a doable plan that might actually yield an edible harvest.

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Sadly, that’s not mine, it’s a garden that Farmscape put in a residential backyard in LA. Their motto is, “Quit landscaping and Start Farmscaping”, and that’s exactly what they do. They turn your property into a source of food for you, in an attractive way. There are over 40 million acres of lawn in this country – why not use some of it to feed ourselves? But they know that it requires a lot of experience, know-how, labor, etc. so for LA and SF they will do it all for you. I think it’s a genius shift from landscape design – for those that don’t have the time, but have the resources and budget to hire this out – and yes, they even maintain it weekly. I think it’s INCREDIBLY smart to think about your backyard more in terms of producing edibles, rather than just landscaping aesthetically. FYI they do corporate spaces, restaurant farms, and rooftops too. This isn’t sponsored in any way, I just think it’s an inspiring way to think about your backyard, and love that they are providing that service.

They agreed to help consult over the phone (thank you!) for this post. I sent then our address and they helped me come up with the plan for my specific climate, sun/shade location and what I really want to grow (more on that later). While they normally build everything custom, they highly recommended Gardeners.com as a resource for products – I called Gardeners.com and they helped walk me through specific products (many listed below). So here is the rough plan (but I’d love to know your thoughts).

Our Backyard

The backyard is wide and shallow and covered in bark, which we don’t love. We are still figuring out what we want to do, and figured we’d landscape this summer was which is why I called Farmscape in the first place – WHAT DO WE DO HERE – but ultimately they convinced me to hold off on setting up rows of raised planter boxes because I need to better track the sun/shade when the trees have leaves (they are still bare). Instead, they suggested starting where we do know we have sun – on the patio. What I love about this is the flexibility is that it feels really approachable, without a huge investment. So how do you have a patio garden???

RAILING OR BALCONY PLANTERS

I didn’t know that this was a thing. Sure I knew about window boxes, but I guess I just thought they were for flowers, not vegetables – besides these are different. As you can see right outside our backdoor (with the kitchen nearby) there is the deck railing that gets a decent amount of sun during the summer not to mention the deck above (but far away from the kitchen). Now the BBQ is not 100% set there as we do want to do some sort of built-in for it (she looks sad right now). But the plan is to put 2-3 railing boxes over there – they just sit right on top, no fancy install – near the bbq and have them be easy to access from the kitchen and move if we reconfigure. There are a lot of options out there, but for ours, I want them to be black (or could be eco-stained black) to disappear and blend in with the black railing.

1.Veradek Brooklyn Rectangular Window Box Wall | 2. Mission-Style Over-the-Rail Planter | 3. Bonfield Self-Watering Thermosplastic Rail Planter

Mobile Carts

Near the windows, we could put two carts with lettuce greens or herbs. They suggested keeping these near the kitchen for easy access. I love the wood cart because it can be moved if the sun is too extreme during certain parts of the summer, and the fact that it is waist-high makes it really easy to tend to (and some of these aren’t mobile, but I’m leaning towards either #1 in black or #5) :

1.Eco-Stain Rolling Cedar Patio Garden | 2. Nest Raised Bed Planter | 3. Vintage Bathtub with Stand | 4. Kronos Low Planter| 5. VegTrug™ Poppy Go 2-Tier Planter | 6. Timothy Vegetable Garden

Patio Pots

I’m not sure why this didn’t occur to me before. POTS! Of course! Farmscape and Gardeners.com both just said to make them deep enough for plants and they need to have drainage (most pots do, obviously). The drawn pots above are too small (but I didn’t have the heart to ask Sara to redo the graphics) because they need to be big and deep to really yield and have it be worth it (or so Farmscape told me). I’m thinking a cluster or two around each of the posts, one tall (for tomatoes in a cage) and one lower and wider. I’m going to really try to keep myself to just a few large ones to keep it still modern and minimal up here.

1.VegTrug™ Barrel Planter | 2. VegTrug™ Tapered Square Planter| 3. Seminyak Taupe Planter | 4. Grooved Bowl Planters | 5. Madison Planters | 6. Studio Planter

RAISED BEDS

After I spoke to Farmscape I realized that we do indeed have an unused area of the yard that does get 6 hours of full sun in the summer (or so I remember). So I still may go for a small bed, but we aren’t going to build it from scratch this time.

1.Miracle-Gro Unfinished/Natural Cedar Raised Garden Bed| 2. Self Watering Raised Bed | 3. Rech Dual Purpose Cedar Planter Box Set

I love the look of all of these, but ultimately because of our extreme gopher issue, I’m going with the self-watering raised bed and it comes in gray (or I might stain black). Once filled with soil and plants it won’t exactly be movable, but I like the idea that if next year we do landscape (or Farmscape) we can empty to relocate it or add to it – maybe even add a greenhouse for my seedlings:) Plus it allows for some growth underneath, is super ergonomic, and it’s such a pretty look.

One of the things that came up on both interviews is that gardening is extremely nuanced and essentially without knowing exactly my climate, soil, native plants and pests it’s really hard to say “put wild strawberries on the third pot from the left next to Thai basil”. But they did give me a ton of good initial advice and resources for the next step – choosing the seeds, seedlings and figuring out what will thrive where. My neighbor who has a thriving garden agreed, that it’s really about experience and trying/failing, that one year you might get a huge yield of tomatoes and the next 4 you won’t (even if you do the exact same thing). So it sounds like it’s a lot of trial and error.

So a few questions for you:

1. Do you want me to continue the series on how this goes with what I’m specifically planting and where it’s going to go? I suppose I’ll know the answer by looking at the traffic of this post, but I know this is kinda out of our wheelhouse, which I think is exactly why it’s going to be fun to document and watch.

2. I started doing a ton of research (and interviewed both sources) for apartment gardens, hydroponic gardens, vertical gardens and gardens for small balconies. Let me know in the comments if this there is an appetite (HAHAHA) for this. I’m obviously SUPER into it, but want to make sure I’m not alone here 🙂

So all of you gardeners out there, I know you have advice and I’m looking for it. Some of the above products I’ve placed orders for, but others I haven’t so please dish.

A huge thanks to Deborah and Gardeners.com for answering my amateur questions and Dan and Catherine at Farmscape for not only answering my questions but even doing some preliminary front yard fruit tree drawings for me – coming soon…

Are you into this idea? I know it’s not just me because so many companies are out of seeds when they never usually sell out, but I’d love to hear if you guys are also feeling this movement to grow your own food (if you can) and rely a little more on yourself during this time and hopefully forever?

Happy Earth Day, Lady. Hopefully, this break from our busy day to day normalcy (for those of us privileged enough to stay at home) gives us all more time to reflect on our impact and gives you (Mother Earth) a break from our abuse. And just in case you thought I’d leave this post on such a dark note, we went ahead and gave you the gift of “Homestead Emily and Brian”, a photoshopped art piece that represents this new era in our lives.

P.S. Sara, you are fired for giving me so many wrinkles a la American Gothic while young handsome Brian has the most perfect farmer Smize I ever did see.

Opening Image Credit: Brain Henderson🙂

Fin Mark

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Meg

I love hearing about this, Emily! Please keep us updated with your progress. I started my first raised bed about a month ago and we already have little seedlings sprouting up. My kids are really into it.

Rachel

My aunt just generously bought everyone in our family a subpod composting kit. We just moved in July and had a baby, so I am going to start small, but be thoughtful of ways to expand/build the garden in time. At my last house, I planted lots of lavender and rosemary and infused my harvest in vinegars which I used in laundry, homemade cleaning products, and a hair rinse. I’m very interested in this project. It was super empowering.

Anon

What a great gift from your aunt! Love your ideas for lavender and rosemary too. I’m inspired even more now.

Mara

Love the series! Keep us posted.
I chose vegetables for my garden that are low maintenance. If I neglected them for 3-4 days No one suffers and I still get to harvest and eat them!

StephanieZ

I do low maintenance veggies too. I know I won’t get out as much as I should for watering, pest control etc. I’m in Georgia and have found that kale, pepper, okra, and tomatoes are pretty low maintenance for me.

I used to get tiny yields of tomatoes when I planted them in pots, but now that I have a raised bed and the roots can grow super deep and find all the water I’m forgetting to give it I find that I get 10x the amount I did when they were in pots (even really large pots).

Bush beans are also super easy to grow. Just plant in a rolling wave so you can have them for weeks instead of how I did last year where they only produced for a short amount of time.

Lisa

Sounds great! We had tomatoes in large pots (or rather actual buckets otherwise used to mop the floors (we were students and I mean who mops really *hides face*)) and we had gazilliions of tomatoes – tomatoes can definitely be choosy though….

Love this post. Please continue. I’m all about a victory garden. I’ve already started pots with plants and lettuce seeds in a bed that would normally be for flowers. The planter ideas are wonderful.

Angelica

Love this! Let us know your progress. I am starting my own raised garden bed this year to and fear there will be much error. LoL it would be great to read a gardening series from beginning to end.

Kate

I love this! I’ve been gardening for a while, but I’m always looking for ways to make it more aesthetically pleasing. Plus, you have a great platform that might get more people hooked!

Karen T.

This is so timely!! I was just scheming and dreaming up how to plant a smallish garden this year. We are limited due to the deer/coyotes/foxes/raccoons in our yard (we back up to a prairie preserve) but those tiered planters would work out perfectly on my deck. Keep the gardening content coming–I’m here for it!

Natalie Sheridan

I’m here for it too! And also just here to say never ever use an organic fertilizer with fish as an ingredient because the raccoons and/or armadillos are very into the smell and will destroy your garden. I live in Georgia and also back up to a nature preserve, so we have tons of the same wildlife in our yard. I have a deck and grow blueberries, herbs, tomatoes and peppers in large terra-cotta pots. So far so good this year, but it’s only because I’m not using fish fertilizer and I have them closer to the house where I know the deer will not venture. Keeping an eye out for the pesky raccoons and hope to not need any sort of fencing around them. You can buy inexpensive wire fencing to go around them at any hardware store. It’s just ugly, so I’m not going there yet. Can’t wait to see what planters you choose! I’m very curious about the raised beds you can move around the deck as need be. Happy gardening!

Sonja

Here for the garden! And the American Gothic variation – amazing!
Have you looked in Lettuce Grow? I am seeing it everywhere and feeling very influenced. You haven’t steered me wrong yet EHD.

Karen

Yes please, continue!

Marcia

This is fun! We do large pots and grow tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and herbs on our back porch. We can’t plant in the yard, because we don’t have a fence – the deer would eat everything. I’ve thought about a really cute greenhouse, but we would have to clear it with the HOA. We tried pumpkins and sweet potatoes last year, but neither really worked in pots for us. Good Luck!

Gigi

My significant other and I started a raised bed about two or three years ago. We have had lots of failures, but many more successes!

You have to be careful when selecting locations for your plants. Not only do you have to look at how much sun is exposed, but also what kind of sun it is (morning sun, afternoon sun). Then, you have to consider companion planting. Some plants flourish when next to each other, while other plants tend to kill one another. There’s also the consideration of what type of veggie/herb/fruit it is because some grow tall, some like to spread like wildfire, and some send of tendrils that twist and wrap around your other plants. Finally, there’s bugs (and other critters) to worry about. Do you use organic pesticides? Do you use pesticides at all? What about using flowers and such to draw the bugs away from your other plants? Lots to think about.

Some of these things we learned the hard way. But we tried to do a lot of research beforehand. Gardens in general require a fair amount of maintenance, but when dealing with vegetables/herbs/fruits you have to continuously monitor them.

I was so excited to see that you’re promoting this concept — please continue the series! I’m a longtime fan who owns an organic juice business in Monterey that is currently on hiatus due to Covid, and we pivoted by building and delivering sturdy redwood planter boxes to our community. There is a huge need for relatable stories and encouragement around veggie gardening to help newbies feel less intimidated. Thank you for being a leader on this!

Kathy Dickey

DEFINITELY want to hear how this goes for you, I live in New York City, we rent the upstairs apartment and a two family home. My elderly landlords are downstairs and we have included them in our quarantine so that we can interact with them which I think is better for everyone’s mental health. They have a 60-year-old Italian kitchen garden in the back that they’ve asked me to take over this year, as they are having a hard time with it physically. I am super excited and daunted so bring on the content!

Susan

Your best teachers are downstairs – ask your landlords to teach you how to tend the garden!

Whitney

Yes pleas keep going!!! I have dreams of growing my own food but don’t know where to start!!! Thanks for the post – excited to see what happens and get motivation to do it myself!

Melanie

This is great!! Please do update us. And thank you for your round up of planters!!

Kel

I’ve been thinking of the same thing for our garden this year. Just as an fyi, the south side of anything will be sunny. For instance we have a patch of woods at the edge of our lot but our lot is on the south side of the woods so it gets lots of sun all day. So if you map out your lot, you will be able to tell what will be sunny without having to wait for leaves to come on the trees.

I love this! I do a ton of work with our local food community and work with our community garden network, am excited to see what you do! A fantastic resource that I love to follow is Kyle Hagerty (ig @urbanfarmstead) He has some really fantastic DIY garden resources that make you realize that you can totally do this! I’d definitely recommend that you think about starting a backyard compost pile, as food waste is one of the most pervasive sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the world (#3 only behind the US and China) and compost is one of the solutions as it sequesters carbon in our soils. I’ve used an Earth Machine for years now and love it!

Happy Earth Day!

MKW

We do a compost pile too. Beware. Vermin like it so keep it away from your garden. An elderly friend used to just keep her kitchen compost products In the fridge, run them through her blender, and dig a hole in her garden… skipping the compost pile! We also have a compost spinner. Before investing, make sure you have a very sunny place which it seems to need to be effective.

Suzanne

The blender idea is brilliant! I remember going to a Vitamix demo at the county fair when I was a kid, and they suggested this. You totally brought back that memory.

Alex

You could also just dig a low trench and dump yard waste and cover with soil. I do it a couple times a week and it only takes a minute or two. And then it just composts directly into your soil.

Renee

Love this idea! But could you please hire a proofreader? I love the content of your blog but the amount of grammatical mistakes is distracting.

J

I was considering taking a shot every time Brian was spelled “Brain”, but I tend to read EHD in the morning and am not trying to become a quarantine alcoholic XD

Cant be best in all. Artists do write out fast and not hire proofreaders.
Your comment May even hurt artist.
Enjoy only and stop being perfect, nobody is anyway

Amy

I use Earthboxes for growing veggies on our deck and they produce amazing yields in a small space, have ports for easy watering, can be reused year after year, and they WORK! Check them out before you go with the railing planters, which are just going to dry out too quickly. Use pots for colorful flowers but please look up Earthboxes by name. You won’t be disappointed!!

Melissa

Yes times a hundred, I am very interested in this topic! Don’t hold back on the modern/minimal garden design elements, either. That piece is lacking in all the content I’ve found so far. Keep going and take us with you!

Stephanie

Yes! I would love to read more about this. We have two raised boxes in our small backyard, but are looking to add more this year.

Kelly

Yes, please continue! This is exactly the project I’m tackling 😁

Ela

I think this is an amazing idea and look forward to seeing how it goes. Despite growing up on a farm and maintaining a very large food garden, I’ve been trying and failing at container gardening for about 15 years now, so hopefully you fair better! I’ve tried grow lights (good for getting seeds started but all of the resulting plants were over straggly and produced little to no produce), planters (normal and self-watering – the normal ones were not enough even with morning and evening watering, and my plants have never liked the self watering kind, so think about some solid irrigation options), and I bought the Gardeners raised bed a couple years ago – extremely beautiful and holding up well, but again, plants like peppers and tomatoes etc did not succeed very well – mostly just use for herbs and flowers. Excited to read about your journey!

Carolyn

Yes! More gardening content please!!!

K

I’d love to hear about your progress with a backyard garden! In general I’ve loved your content about landscaping and I think garden posts would be awesome! It would be awesome to have to you inspire more people to grow food.

Margaret

I’m a gardener already so I like this content. It’s fun to do with kids, good exercise and good for your mood, and most of the time you get delicious food for your efforts! I definitely will relate more if you keep the stuff you buy—planters, etc, responsibly priced rather than aspirational.

karen

That picture is amazing! 🙂

Love the ideas – keep the conversation going!

Amy

Emily, this is the best post you have done in ages! Love this idea. I have too bee planning a veggie garden myself and started with some pretty hanging baskets on the weekend. Can’t wait to see the next stage. Happy gardening.

Jessica

I would love to read more about this process.

Jessica

YAS gardening content! I’m about to (knock on wood) buy an apartment in Brooklyn with a great rooftop space. I want it to be pretty and relaxing but my spouse wants veggies, so right now I’m super interested in: 1. Making edible gardens attractive, via planting with ornamentals or using cool containers or whatever. 2. How to not kill container plants in the rough conditions found on a roof (I am the “plant person” in the relationship but I tend to choose plants that can handle some neglect… not high-maintenance vegetables). 3. How to make outdoor “rooms” for relaxing and entertaining (once we’re allowed to do that again) that still feel like gardens and not just collections of furniture. I recently discovered the book The Less Is More Garden, which was absolutely fantastic and I took tons of notes. I’m looking into Outside The Not So Big House, which seems like it applies principles from interior design and architecture to outdoor spaces, but I haven’t pulled the trigger on buying it yet. And when I was a kid I read my Gram’s copy of Square Foot Gardening, which seems extra relevant for planing edibles in containers, so I’ll probably try… Read more »

Noa

I am SO into this! Have been trying to figure out how to grow my herbs and vegetables with a small yard. This is PERFECTION!

MKW

Few things we have found with gardening in Northern Iowa… pots work. So do raised beds. Both require quality/healthy soil (not dirt). Pots can dry out quickly. Too late this year. But next year put your seed order in to Seedsavers.com. Heirloom vegetables so tasty. We have grown peppers and tomatoes in pots (from starts). From seeds: basil, cilantro, and rainbow Swiss Chard. We put our cucumbers on a trellis. So easy to pick. We also plant climbing green beans for space and easy picking. Purple green beans are easier to pick (they turn green when cooked). We find it’s easier to buy organic carrots then grow. I don’t have patience to grow broccoli or cauliflower – too many bug issues. Zucchini will grow easily and it vines like crazy. Miniature gourds and pumpkins (for decor) will climb a fence or trellis. Beets, onions, -and peas are easy and bountiful. Also rhubarb, chives, garlic chives and dill… which may come back every year. Think fence as soon as young starts begin to pop up otherwise vermin will consider your backyard their salad bar!

Abby

Yes! Keep the info coming! I’m trying to plan my garden out as well. But I’m a total newbie who has only managed to keep succulents and house plants alive so far! I live in an apartment so I would be interested in your research for those type of spaces!

ME TOO. We’ve already started prepping some stuff for that post and I’m SO EXCITED to try some things out 🙂

Jill C

What about deer at your house? Even in the burbs we have to fence our garden-deer, rabbits, etc. (& even hungry birds eat our tomatoes!). We have a small garden but put in what we like & have room for -which sadly means no spreading squash cuz they take up too much room. We have herbs, tomatoes (big to slice, plum to cook & cherry for salads or roasting), eggplants, hot peppers (to dry & crush into flakes or powder), broccoli, Swiss chard & lettuces. Look into permaculture & other ways to grow organic-and start by composting right now. Good luck!

Erin

I want to hear more!

Tami Wooding

Yes please continue! I just started a raised bed garden on my roof deck. Thank you

Julie

Yes! Love this. We’ve been talking about expanding our herb garden into other edibles, as well. And, being in a townhouse with limited yard space, I’m super into all of the pretty, space-saving ideas you can round up! 🙂

YES YES YES! I love this content. We just purchased our new home in Redondo Beach, and the yard is a mess. I’d love to incorporate a garden into it. I hadn’t heard of Farmscape before. Thank you so much for the resource!!!

Susan

I’ve been back yard gardening since I bought this house 8 years ago. I’m a little put off by all the purchasing you are planning to do to get started. Makes it seem like gardening is out of reach for the average person who still wants to grow food. I was broke and recently divorced with 3 small boys when I started and it is ABSOLUTELY do-able to grow food without buying much. It requires resourcefulness at first but that’s the fun of it. The best piece of advice I can give is to start very small, only doing what you know you will tend to that first year. If that’s only 3 patio pots, perfect. It will be 3 pots you know well, rather than a full yard of dead things. Build on small successes. Befriend as many local gardeners as you can. They know what grows well in your area and what to skip. Gardeners are also generous people who will give you advice, free starts of plants (perennials that come back every year like rhubarb, raspberries, blueberries, asparagus, strawberries) or tell you secrets, like which local farmer gives free decomposed manure for amending your beds. Also, if… Read more »

Jenms

YES YES PLEASE CONTINUE THIS SERIES! I honestly am spending every free moment outside so I’m not really that interested in interior decor at the moment… PLEASE more posts on gardening, outdoor entertainment spaces, patios, decks, and flowers-flowers-flowers!

Jenms

A few comments about your plans – research how much depth certain vegetables need before committing to buying certain planters / pots. For example, root veggies need lots of space to grow down, so don’t try putting them in those over-the-railing boxes! You’ll have to water small planters & pots in full sun A TON, like every day (maybe 2x a day for the small ones if you’re growing veggies that need consistent moisture). You might want to figure out a way to protect your deck. If you have pots and planters on your deck and you are watering frequently enough, you will probably get some water damage on your deck. The solution isn’t to just put drip trays under the pots and forget about it, because then you’ll get root rot. If the pots are small enough, you could shift them off the deck for watering time, then heave them back onto the deck after they’ve had a chance to drain for a while. Doing this every day might get tiresome, though. Let me know if you come up with an ingenious deck-protecting solution — I want to put pots on my deck but haven’t figured it out yet!… Read more »

Katie

Please continue!!! But add some information for other climates too? I grow Tomatoes and peppers on my patio every year (and mint for mojitos) – but expanded this year to include some lettuce, carrots and beats. And in the ground… cut flowers for my wedding. Fingers crossed its not cancelled by covid.

Jordan G

I love this post! I have these same inclinations and although my Texas climate is way different than yours, I’d still love to watch your progress.

Debraj76

The only thing I’ve planted up in Lake Arrowhead is a hedge of GORGEOUS David Austin Old English Roses – Princess Alexandra of Kent. I wanted something showy (they look more like a Peony than a Rose – over 100 petals per 5 inch blossom), sturdy and fragrant. I get so much satisfaction from seeing neighbors stop at the hedge on their walks, and take a whiff. They are not particularly easy to find…I got them at a nursery in Riverside. As for edibles (I DO plan to use my rose petals for garnishing desserts, since they are organic), I’ve only done herbs in pots and railing planters. My issue is irrigation. Since rainfall is so sparse in the area, and because our cabin is a part time home, keeping everything watered would be impossible. I have automatic timed drip irrigation on the rose hedge, but don’t have the option for hoses running to potted items. I’ll be interested to see how you handle this! We are gone for a few weeks at a time, so really haven’t found a good solution!

Debraj76

I have a great guy up there who built us a large and very attractive stone, raised planter bed in front of the house. They brought the stone on site from a quarry, and chipped each piece, then mortared them into a low “wall”. I did not want the “Flintstones” look – no evenly rounded, smooth material! He did a great job – it’s one of my favorite features, and houses my lovely chorus line of pink beauties! I also felt he was very fair with his pricing.

Jennifer

Don’t stain the raised beds! I’ve heard it can affect the growth of the plants. Good luck!

Please keep us updated with how it goes!

Rusty

Ignore the typos as they come … I can’t see the comment box fot the video , yep, it’s baaaaack and blocking my screen, but I’m persevering, because…you guys! We’ve just harvested chard and perpetual spinach (that one keeps grows for ages and you get loads of leaves), radishes (so fast and fun for kids!). We always have sweet basil, parsley, sage, rosemary, oregano, and a few others. We have grown beets, pumpkins, strawberries, passionfruit, oh … soooo many things. Problem is … we haverats! 🙄 Well, not us, but a neighbouring big old double block that has overgrown sheds galore – a haven for rats. We started poisoning them, BUT, it’s a hideous way to die, dying of thirst and your blood vessels congealing … so we stopped years ago. It was an unwinable war anyway. We later fpund out that owls eat the dead and dying rats and then they can get very sick or die too! Yikes! Our yard is a quadrangle, surrounded by outbuildings, so that equals no sun – sun! – no sun through the day. We are in Australia which is very hot with mild winters, just like LA, only a bit hotter. We… Read more »

Rusty, are you using a tablet?

Rusty

Yes! I’ve commented and clarified this before. Latest Samsung.
Today, there IS a “close” button, so with great relief, I closed it. PHEW!!!🙂

Thank you 🙂

Margaret

I responded on your IG thread about altitude considerations, but if squirrels are bad there like they are on my mountain, and you do not fence in your plants you are going to have a real problem! Ditto for rabbits and deer.

milo

I love this! The scale of it is especially inspirational. It seems like even “beginner” gardeners start with four raised beds full of 20 different kinds of vegetables and it is just way more than I want to do when trying out something new. I bought a house about three years ago that already had landscaping too, so anything I change is destroying the existing landscaping (which for some reason, my partner is not that into ;)). So I love the approaches here! Maybe one day your whole yard will be the perfect garden, but for now, adding some pots, carts, and railing planter is a fun, low-investment way to start. I hadn’t thought about those mobile carts, but I could try to incorporate some into my yard. I also started out last year with an herb garden in pots. At the end of the summer, instead of composting the herbs (like I do with flowers in pots since they won’t survive the winter in pots), I transferred the herbs to the ground, figuring that I might as well see if they could survive the winter. We had a really mild winter this winter and they’re all back now! Starting… Read more »

milo

P.S. Happy Earth Day!! <3

Robyn

We started a garden when we moved to TX 5 years ago. It’s been amazing. We’ve slowly learned which vegetables will grow and which are sort of “meh.” We had so many cucumbers and tomatoes last year and that were giving them to neighbors. And our garden isn’t very big. I threw kale seeds in last fall and then didn’t even water it and that stuff grew like weeds. We’re still eating it and we harvest it multiple times a week for salads. Gardening is good for the soul!!

Ale

I’d love to hear more about this. I’m in a similar “motivated in theory but not in practice/have no experience” position so I’m excited to see how it does!

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