The Garden Gods Have Smiled Upon Me
*UPDATE* Scroll down for a video tour of the garden!
I have to say, I didn’t think I’d get a community garden plot for a few years! Community gardens are so popular in my city that the wait list is easily 2-3 years long for ANY community garden. I still put my name on a bunch of the lists, even though I didn’t know if I’d be living in the same city when I finally got the call. Needless to say, I wasn’t hopeful.
That changed when I met someone in my local Toastmasters group who is as fanatic about gardening as I am. As luck would have it, she put her name on the list for the Pacific Beach Community Garden about three YEARS ago…and just got a call a few weeks ago. She was generous enough to share her plot with me and I can’t even describe how excited I am to get growing!
The PB community garden is an all organic urban community garden that follows the principles of permaculture. When I first got there there were so many plots overflowing with gorgeous produce that my head just about exploded. For someone who’s never lived in a house since leaving for college, the opportunity to have even a 6′x9′ space felt like I’d been given access to acres upon acres of space. It was time to get started!
For seeds, I went straight to the best source of organic, open pollinated and heirloom seeds that I know of: Baker Creek. If you’ve never gotten one of their catalogs or browsed through their site, take the time to do that sometime and I guarantee you’ll salivate all over the floor just looking at some of the plants you can grow.
After almost buying every packet of seeds they offer, I finally managed to calm myself down and settle on 9 plants:
- Purple Jalapenos
- Patisson Strie Melange Summer Squash
- Bronze D’Amposta Onion
- Ananas Noire Tomato
- Five Color Silver Beet Chard
- Little Fingers Eggplant
- Dragon Tongue Bush Bean
- Bianca di Maggio Onion
- Purple Podded Pole Bean
We were given a 6′x9′ space, which is half of a plot. I decided to install some stepping stones right down the center of the plot, giving us 2′ of room from any angle to reach in and tend to the garden. Making sure you have enough space to garden is an often-forgotten consideration that leaves many gardeners in a tough spot – they can either step into their plot and interfere with their plants, or neglect the parts of their garden they can’t reach. The simplest solution is to sacrifice a little of your growing space for working space. You’ll thank yourself in the end if you do!
I wanted to devote one long side of the garden to vining plants like cucumbers and tomatoes. By putting them all in the same area I’ll save space and create a “wall of green” effect on one side of the plot. I also wanted to build a creative trellis for the pole beans that we are going to grow, so I went with 6′ bamboo stakes that
My garden partner and I didn’t just want to grow delicious and unique fruits and vegetables…we also wanted our garden to look badass. I hit Home Depot and grabbed the bamboo stakes to make pole bean trellises, some stepping stones and a long trellis to place along one side of the plot. Here’s the final layout:
Bamboo Teepee Bean Trellis = Next Level Urban Gardening
If you’ve got a sharp eye, you’ll notice that there are already 4 seedlings planted. Those are two Copia tomato plants as well as two Japanese cucumbers that our garden neighbor generously gave to us as a welcome gift. Even better, she got them from Baker Creek too!
This is the first post in a series, where I’ll be covering a bunch of how-to’s, tutorials and creative gardening techniques for those of you with a bit more space for your urban gardening. Stay tuned and please let me know if you have any questions in the comments!