Sunday, August 30, 2015

Garden Share Collective - August Redux

The GSC has changed this month. It is now on the last Monday of the month instead of the first, so I've got my title as August again. Also it now has themes every month. This month is Size. For me I'll talk about the size of my garden. For me size of the garden is limited by the size of the yard.

Our shared backyard looking over the fence of the vegetable garden

I live in a fairly urban area in a townhouse that shares a yard. Officially our shared yard is 9000sqft (835sqm). It is landscaped with a mix of ornamentals and fruit. One apple tree is tiny as it just doesn't want to grow, but the other (on the far right) gave us about 30 pounds of apples this year. On the left are the raspberries which are grazed upon whenever anyone is out eating at the patio table.

Front yard in front of my door

The front yard has my two peach trees and just out of the photo are my three gooseberries, a juneberry, and a border of alpine strawberries. All except the juneberry and the one new peach tree has produced well over the years.

Since all of these are on our shared property, we share the harvests and upkeep too. Though in reality I tend to do more work than anyone else. No one else in the two townhouses is a gardener. Though they mow, edge, and weed, the reality is they don't always know what a weed or plant is. Occasionally things get left in that are weeds and things get pulled that aren't. Sometimes it just doesn't get done unless I do the work anyway. The perennial garden I wouldn't let them touch as it was just put in the spring and I didn't want them weeding out things I grew from seed.

What looks like a driveway across from the perennial garden is really a private road which dead ends here. Technically we don't own it, but those that live on private roads are responsible for the upkeep. Which means I get to upkeep the wall on the other side of the road. And when I say, "I get to", it means I have an agreement that the wall garden is all mine. I do all the work. I pay for anything I put in. But I reap all the benefits. In a way I like that a lot better, as I don't have to ask to change anything. I grow fruit trees there, with a front border of strawberries. I'm not sure how many feet it is, maybe 60 linear feet (18m) of useable space for my trees. It is about 2.5' wide. Though I've gotten plenty of strawberries over the years, all the trees are too young to bear yet. Maybe next year.

Though we technically share the yard, by agreement, the veggie garden is mine. Most of the vegetable garden is in the side yard. Much of it used to be paved, but we had the pavement removed to make more room. I have about 565 sqft (52 sqm) of raised bed. In the side yard there are eight raised beds, each 4' wide and 16' long.

Since the yard isn't that big, I made the paths between the beds very small. Just 19" (.5m). Sometimes the paths get so overgrown it is hard to walk down them. Especially when the squash grows big. There are a few small patches that aren't in the raised bed area. A small spot by the driveway fence has two of my currants and some cilantro and zinnia. On the left of the brick path are some mint pots (hiding the gas meters) and a plum tree. Also scattered in the corners are herbs like sage, rosemary, thyme, and tarragon.

August is all about cucumbers, zucchini, onions, melons, and corn in the garden. I have harvested other things like broccoli, chard, amaranth, and herbs. I know in most gardens solanums and beans are huge in late summer, but I can't eat those, so my harvests are more limited in scope.

Around the corner in the back yard by my back door is the circle garden. So named for the herb circle in the middle. I grow my heat lovers here. The sweet potatoes and the melons. The sweet potatoes won't get harvested until late September, but the melons are in full production right now. This space is counted in the 565 sqft of raised bed. On the left and out of the photo is my compost area. I have a four bin pallet composter. And two smaller black plastic composters that we use for composting kitchen scraps (the covers keep the pests out) and holding finished compost. A whole four foot deep section all along the back fence (maybe 30' long) is reserved for that and general storage and the very small garden shed. The compost gets the largest area as that is the most important. Compost keeps the garden growing.

August has seen a renewal on the preserving front. I've frozen about 11 cups of zucchini. I've cured, braided and hung the yellow onions and shallots. The red onions will follow soon. And I've frozen some cut up fruit for my morning smoothies - 2 gallons of peaches and 2 1/2 gallons of melon. Right now my favorite smoothie is a blueberry melon smoothie. I'll be sad when all the melons are gone. My biggest problem on the preserving front is about size. I really should have bought a larger freezer. I'm quickly filling up the available space. For some things size really does matter.

This post is part of the Garden Share Collective hosted by Lizzie at Strayed From the Table.


  1. My little chest freezer is so full right now (not all garden stuff) that when I went to look for butter to bake with today I ended up just taking what was closest to the top and changing my plans to casserole-making. I'm going to have to eat more frozen things this month or else dry/can garden vegetables instead of freezing them.

  2. I really enjoyed this post. So often we only talk about this section or that section of the garden and it's wonderful being able to see it in it's entirety. And are those sweet potatoes ever going crazy! Very jealous as mine are doing a whole lot of nothin'.

  3. So interesting to read about sharing the space ... good thing your neighbours are supportive and let you do your thing!

  4. Your garden may seem small to you Daphne, but it's huge in comparison to my tiny plot! My garden is very roughly 10 metres by 10 metres. No shared space either!

  5. I have 555 square feet of raised garden beds. Nearly the same size as yours. :) I have not been using it to its fullest capacity though. I've been reading blogs like yours and Mark's Veg Plot to show me what it's capable of. I live on an acre of land. I wish that I could actually use it all, but much of it is overwhelmed with wild growth. Our goal over the fall is to clear out as much as we can. Your garden is enjoyable to look at and read about. Thank you for sharing!

  6. it's really lovely to see the 'relaxing' part of your garden, daphne - bathed in all that wonderful sunshine! I think of snow when I think of your garden so this is really pretty to see. thank you!

  7. Amazing what you grow in your space!

  8. Really enjoyed your post, thanks

  9. Thanks for sharing this description and images of your garden. I have a much better sense now of what your garden is like.

  10. This has been wonderful to get a real sense of your garden. I love the set up and agreements you have established for the shared space. It is lovely. Thanks for sharing