Growing food in small spaces

Growing some of our own food is one way in which we can reduce our ecological footprint but it can be difficult for people with small gardens or even be daunting if you have never grown anything before. Visiting fellow Sustainable Communities SA member Anne Wharton, I was impressed with how much edible food she is growing in the few sunny spots she gets in her garden.

Most of Anne’s garden is kept well shaded by 2 huge River Red Gums in a neighbouring garden. One way she has got around this is to install a raised bed on her verge (check with your council before doing this, and ensure you leave space for car doors to open). When I went, it was brimming over with tomatoes, herbs, zucchini, lettuce and the Australian native warrigal greens.verge

Not only is it a great use of space but it has also generated interest from neighbours. Anne mentioned that whenever people pass by they usually ask about the warrigal greens. When I went, there was a lovely sign in the garden bed encouraging people to help themselves to a cutting if they would like to try growing the warrigal greens. What a great way to introduce people to a hardy, nutritious vegetable they have probably never tried or even heard of before. Anne has also now added a similar sign to the Brazilian spinach in her verge plot.

warrigal greensbrazillian spinachAround the back Anne has also had a lot of success with growing zucchinis in styrofoam boxes. So much so that she is now pickling and giving away the excess zucchinis.zuchiniThe full list of what Anne is managing to grow in the 2 raised beds and an assortment of foam boxes and pots is amazing:

  • Verge: Kale, bush tomatoes, thyme, bronze fennel, Brazilian spinach, warragal greens (NZ spinach), purple sage, self-sown tomato (has a dozen tomatoes on it!)
  • Raised bed in front yard: Silver beet, tomatoes, zucchinis, potato squash, capsicums, baby spinach, perennial leeks, cucumbers, beans
  • Shed vegies: Foam boxes – zucchinis; as well as tomatoes, mint, sage, chives, spring onions in pots.side

All the more impressive considering Anne only started growing veggies a few years ago! So even if you have a limited space and not much experience in growing veggies you can always start small and see where it takes you. Books like One Magic Square by Lolo Houbein and The Edible Balcony by Indira Naidoo, are a great source of ideas for gardening in small spaces, as are fellow gardeners

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