Grit Blogs > Another Kind of Drew

Looking Forward to a Tiny Garden

Planning the garden on the laptop 

Seed catalogs galore 

Our Tiny House will sit on the unofficially named Tiny Lane. There we will raise Tiny Goats and this year, have a Tiny Farm.

Unlike last year, we simply aren't ready to have multiple gardens full of organic produce and fruits. We will have to exchange the size of our 'salad bowl,' if you will, for something a bit more fitting for where we are in the move from Georgia to North Carolina. This minor setback (and I use the term setback very loosely) didn't mean we couldn't still have as much fun perusing through seed catalogues, mildly discussing exotic produce, and dreaming about the organic edibles we would one day enjoy from our own land.

So last week - at separate times, unfortunately - Crystal and I both spent time flipping page after page, comparing items from last in regards to growth success, growth potential, overall energy consumed to grow, and overall taste. With a wonderful cup of rasberry-peach tea on my desk in front of me I saw down and began with perhaps my favorite catalogue; Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

We still have a few seeds left from last year that are still quite viable including some cabbage, a bit of Carrot Chantenay Red Core, Lettuce Val d'Orges, and Cauliflower. While I had originally thought of giving them away in a contest, I have decided to save them and use them as a great way to begin some leafy greens anywhere I can find dirt worth sowing in.

Seed packets waiting to be planted 

Because we are limited on ready space this year we have talked about doubling our efforts by growing potatoes at Crystal's mom's house and even trying some sweet corn in the back field of her grandmother's place. Last year we we tried corn and had really mixed results. We had a case of ear whigs and many of ears came in small and lacking kernels. We're willing to try again though as it was our first time and we're bound to do better in a corn hotbed like the sandy soils of North Carolina.

We're definitely looking forward to doubling the size of our onion beds this year. Last year we harvested just at 124 onions and while they lasted up until mid-November we would love to have a supply that would take us into late-February or so. While the desire is there we are still trying to figure where we would get that size space for such an onion supply. We may have to resort to a bit of gonzo gardening and just plant bulbs all around being careful to remember when we have things growing.

I think the main focus this year though is going to be our beans and cukes. We serve early peas, snap beans, and bush beans all year round and while our cucumbers have done really well each year we can't seem to get enough to both eat and pickle. Crystal loves a good dill pickle and so we look to raise up cuke plants in every available vertical spot we can muster.

So what about you? Have you begun planning and ordering yet? If so, what is your favorite company to order from? Are you growing anything new and original? What are your old standbys that get planted year after year? As always if you like this post be sure to share it on Facebook or send the link out on Twitter. We appreciate you also taking the time to read the r(E)volution and be a part of the conversation! 

kay stover
1/22/2011 9:15:32 AM

I have been organic and square foot garden for 50 years and this year I'm setting up a new Permaculture Garden using every inch of yard around my home. I have never been happy with the bug problem or the kitchen garden looking mostly bare in the winter. I'm really excited working up the new design and trying to fool the bugs, at least it is keeping me going during all this cold and SNOW. On my FB site is the old garden I have already changed the layout of the bones of the new garden, it was square foot for fruit now its all together. Now its all together, flowers, fruit, veg., herbs, birds, bees, etc.

1/21/2011 9:59:06 AM

@Carolyn - Absolutely doable. But doable on the scale of an acre or more? Probably not. I would have to think about it. Thank you for the practical idea though!

1/21/2011 9:57:36 AM

ps- they kept the row covers on for the entire season...

1/21/2011 9:55:29 AM

Hi. I trained as a master gardener through UNH (University of New Hampshire) and I want to recount something that happened while I was going through the program. One of our instructors and another professor did an experiment to see if this particular integrated pest management trick could work on keeping bugs out of their sweet corn. They reasoned that since corn is merely wind pollinated they could create their corn beds in blocks and put a structures around (such as wood, PVC piping, large tree poles whatever you have available to create a skeletal structure to hang the material over and attach) them and then use floating row cover material over the structure (over the corn). It work! No pests, no pesticide and all the corn was successful. For the small home farmer this always struck me as so doable and brilliant. Any thoughts?

1/21/2011 9:01:52 AM

We do Square Foot Gardening and Baker Creek is our favorite catalog too, although we get a lot of our seeds from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. I like their business practices and in the past I've known people who were a part of SESE, not to mention their wonderful germination rate. The only things I'm ordering this year that aren't from one of those two places are Fairy Tale eggplant and Fooled You jalapenos :)

1/18/2011 11:57:34 AM

@Cindy - It sounds like you have figured out how to make due with what you have and that is great! Please do keep it up. I sure hope you get more of those OMG tomatoes. They truly do make it all worth it. Thank you for reading and commenting. Welcome to the conversation!

cindy murphy
1/18/2011 11:47:30 AM

Hi, Andrew. I'm a fellow tender to a tiny garden; tiny in comparison to a feed-the-family-throughout-the-entire-winter, anyway. Our garden's small size is due to a lack of sun, and I'm not willing to sacrifice any mature trees for a winter pantry of canned vegetables. I have learned though, how to stretch the sun we do have by planting herbs among the flowers, using containers and moving them with the sun, and having a couple small vegetable gardens in different areas of the yard, instead of one large one. My quest this year is for 'Kellogg's Breakfast' heirloom tomatoes. OH-MY-GOD!!! We only had one plant last year, bought on a whim as a seedling, and it wasn't the biggest producer (probably due to a rainy, cool summer), but these tomatoes were as golden as their color. Sweet, and extremely meaty, they are by far the best tomatoes we've grown. Enjoy the day.

nebraska dave
1/17/2011 6:43:15 PM

@Drew, congrats on going past the 1000 friend mark on facebook. I'm sure you will expand your garden by next year. I am in awe at reading about how you are building your tiny house literally from the frame up. It should be a house that will last for many decades when you are finished. I'm not sure I'd be taking on a task of such magnitude. I wish you luck in your mega project of the year. Have a great tiny house day.