I am delighted to share a guest blog written by life-coach, Tina Martin, who offers us some great tips on growing a small garden, which nicely follows on from my previous blog on food security. From an historical perspective, the idea of having a small garden is nothing new. It is evident through ancient Roman literature and archaeological remains that it was desirable to have green areas in very small dwellings.
The Roman writer Martial (first century AD) exaggerated in his Epigrams (9.18) that his stingy patron, Lupus, gave him a garden that was the size of a window box. Martial was writing this for other purposes, but the use of the phrase window garden indicates that these gardens were something his readers would have known about and were likely to have been familiar with seeing them on buildings.
Many surviving houses in Pompeii, Italy, have gardens located at the back of the dwelling. However, small houses found at the site sometimes did not have space for a garden, but the archaeological evidence indicates that the people who lived in these structures attempted to create green areas. For example, some houses had small light wells that allowed fresh air and light into the home and archaeologists found planting pots in them. These spaces also had wall paintings of gardens to give the impression of a green space in the home. So the combination of living plants and a wall fresco helped the Romans mimic a larger garden. It is also likely they they were able to grow a few edible plants in the pots, giving them a small food yield.
Green spaces were understood to be healthy, the provided food, fresh air, and a place to escape the sounds and smells of the city. Today, many people still live in small spaces, but as Tina Martin indicates in her blog, we, like the Romans, can still make use of small spaces to grow our own food. Enjoy these great tips.
Besides serving as a rewarding hobby and a valuable physical exercise, gardening is a means to provide your family with fresh, healthy, and affordable food all year round. The best part? You don’t need to be born with a green thumb to produce delicious fruits and vegetables. Anyone can grow a productive garden! Getting the most out of your garden is all about optimizing your use of available space and employing tried-and-true methods to keep your plants healthy. Check out the following tips and resources to get your garden off to a great start!
Get Creative with Container Gardening
Whether you live in an apartment or you want to increase the yield of your yearly harvest, try container gardening! You can place containers on your balcony, in a sunny kitchen window, or use them to fill empty space around your yard.
● You can grow all kinds of herbs, vegetables, and fruits in containers.
● Make use of vertical space with tower containers, tiered plant stands, and hanging baskets.
● Pick the size and type of pots that best suit your plants and growing conditions.
● Choose well-drained, aerated, and pH-balanced potting soil for your containers.
Maximize Your Use of Garden Space
With limited backyard space, it’s important to plan your planting carefully. Pack as many plants into your garden as possible with companion planting, succession planting, and compact varieties.
● Invest in a land survey to determine the boundaries of your property so that you can use every square inch of available yard space without intruding onto your neighbor’s land.
● Get in the habit of succession panting by staggering your crops and replanting areas throughout the summer.
● Conserve even more space with companion planting.
● Choose compact plant varieties so that you can fit more vegetables into your available space without crowding and decreasing your yield.
Keep Your Plants Happy
The happier your plants, the better your yield. Keeping your plants strong and healthy is all about nutrient-dense soil, good watering practices, and natural pest control.
● Provide nutrients to your plants by amending your soil before planting.
● Install a drip irrigation system to deliver water right to the base of each plant, ensuring adequate and consistent soil moisture.
● Learn how to prevent garden pests through natural strategies, like attracting beneficial insects to your garden.
You don’t need a large property to grow a highly productive garden. With a little planning and creativity, you can feed your family with fresh garden produce regardless of your available space. Get out there and start digging in the dirt. You might be surprised by what you can do!
Tina Martin stays busy as a life coach and works hard to help herself and her clients achieve a healthy work-life balance. She started Ideaspired as a side project to reach as many people as possible, and encourage them to put their dreams first.