Friday, April 15, 2011

How to grow the most in limited space

Most Urban Homesteaders Start out growing in the city with a sense of frustration, wishing they had more land and one day hoping for the time when they can purchase some land in the country. But as the journey begins to manifest itself, Urban Homesteaders quickly realize that the aspirations for moving to the country can't match the joy reaped from challenges produced in the city.

It's difficult to grow vegetables in the city, because the lack of space is the number one nemesis. Living and growing in an urban environment has forced me to challenge the very way I think about producing a harvest. The cool thing about this approach is that it is all unorthodox. You don't have to follow a strict set of guidelines. Growing under these conditions will push creative juices to flow, some result in total failure and others will result in bountiful crops. This year I took one of my raised beds and decided that I was going to do hay bale gardening in them. The picture portrays two hay bales inside of  3' x 6' raised bed. In this particular raised bed I am growing Bush beans, Garlic, Melons and yellow squash. The 1st hay bale has some miniature heirloom melons growing in them. The second hay bale has the yellow squash. Spaced evenly around the perimeter of the bed are garlic bulbs that are growing strong. Evenly distributed in between each garlic bulb  are highly prolific bush beans that don't require a trellis.

My motto is to grow veggies where weeds would grow instead. My opinion is unless you are trying to grow an award winning Swiss chard or some other fabulous plant, crop your veggies as tight as possible and reap the benefits. The tricks to growing the most in limited space is constantly being developed. If your reading this and your on the fence about not having enough room to grow. I challenge you to get a planting pot and see just how creative you can be.


William K. Jones said...

Did you have to prepare the bale?

ATW said...

William- Thanks for stopping by. Yes I prepared the bales prior to thier use. I purchased the in the winter and set them out in the garden. I sprinkle about a cup or two of ammonium nitrate or pea gravel on them and water them deeply for several weeks. My bales started to reduce in size which is a good thing because that means they are decompising which is perfect for the plants. This year I am growing melons, cantalopes, yellow squash, table squash and advacodo squash in bales. Some will do better than others. But the great thing about the bales is that it is little maintenance and you don't have to bend or till the soil. Just fertilze now and again and water frequently.

Carolyn said...

Actually, because I live on the dark side of an apartment building and face north, lack of space is not my biggest frustration ... lack of light is. But, I have a grow light inside to start the seeds off, and I know I won't ever get melons.
Anyway, thanks for the encouraging post, it's much appreciated. I really enjoy your blog.
Keep up the great work!