Small Space Garden but LOTS of Beautiful Plants

small space gardening-rhodieEven though we have a fairly small back yard, the person who lived here before us owned a concrete business and we’re fairly sure he’s the one who put in the pool, and he also put in brick planter boxes all around the outside of our back yard. This makes for some beautiful small space gardening all year round!

You can see there is a rhododendron blooming, as well as a few small trees. And Jeff has really started to get into the Hellebores because they have beautiful spring blooming flowers and last a long time. He’s buying a few every year and strategically placing them around this planting area.

He also has primroses all around on the left side of that area (which you can’t see very well), but there are a few yellow ones visible at the bottom of the statue. He has a LOT of primroses because with his green thumb, he’s been dividing the ones I’ve given him for his birthday over the years and now he has so many they’re almost like ground cover. I didn’t even know they grew back year after year.

Anyway, these are just a few pictures to show off what’s happening in the spring at our house. He’s been re-arranging a few more things in other areas of the year, so I’ll try to keep up with him over the next few months so you can maybe get some ideas.

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Growing Lettuce From Seed is Easy

Now, to you this picture may not look like a lot, but to me it looks like fresh lettuce all summer long. It’s our first lettuce crop of the year and we’ll be growing lettuce all year long!

Growing lettuce is not a hard thing to do, although, this year he did use a seed starter kit.

Lettuce is an early crop, so you need to plant it before the first signs of spring This year Jeff planted about five different varieties and they make a very yummy salad all mixed together. 

If you’re planting lettuce outside, you’ll need to use a cold frame for about six weeks before the last frost. The soil should be loosened for about 10 inches. Then use an inch of good compost or well-rotted manure.

Plant seeds 1/4 inch deep and 1 inch apart in rows or in your square foot garden. You can also just throw them into the bed if you don’t care for symmetry. When growing lettuce from seed, it should sprout in 2-8 days when your soil temp is between 55 and 75 degrees.

If you’re planting lettuce indoors with a seed starter kit, like we did, put them under fluorescent lights around the same time. Then put the containers outside when the lettuce is about three weeks old for a couple of days before planting. After planting give them some shade for a few days to get them used to the outside and get their roots stabilized; then you’re good to grow!

Some of our lettuce bolted early, so we just pulled it out – mostly because he had some spinach he wanted to mix in and needed the space! But if you wanted to grow more lettuce from seed next year, you can let the yellow flowers bloom until they turn into seedpods.

Our lettuce is planted under a tree in our back yard.  Since our back yard is mostly filled with concrete because of the pool, he has to get creative when gardening. I really don’t know where the zucchini vines are going to go, probably over to the right a little. Its container gardening at its best!

He also has a trellis just to the right of this tree on the back fence where the pea plants will eventually climb. We’ll also have tomatoes soon too!  I’ll post a picture of them when I get the first red one (they had to be planted in containers). 

Oh, and did I mention the potatoes are also in. We had such good luck last year with our potato harvest that he planted double the amount this year. Again, they are under a tree, but who cares as long as we get to eat!

I’ll post more photos as the sun begins to shine and things start to bloom in our backyard Garden of Eden!

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How to Grow Moss in Small Space Gardening

We have a space on the side of our house where Jeff’s is slowly growing a sort of secret garden. There are currently a lot of plants, a stone walkway, and then a space between the walkway and the fence. He used to have grass planted in that area, but it was hard to mow because it’s only the size of a couple lawn mowers. And weed-eating it didn’t exactly give it the most groomed look. So he decided to grow moss.

At first he asked the neighbor if he could use some of the moss from his back yard, so he planted patches of that in the area. But that looked like it was going to take a while to fill in the area, so we figured out how to grow moss for this small space garden. Here’s the “recipe” to grow moss:

You will need:

  • a blender
  • some moss
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • can of cheap beer (or buttermilk)

Put about a handful of the moss that you want to propagate in the blender along with the rest of the ingredients and blend just long enough to break down the moss.

Then spread the “soup” over the ground or on rocks where you want the moss to take over (use a spatula for rocks, a small shovel would work for larger areas). Then wait and watch your moss garden grow! I’ll put pictures up when it looks a little better.

Note: The first time Jeff learned how to grow moss he broke my good blender! This time he went to a thrift shop and bought a cheap blender to mix up his concoction. This is a MUCH BETTER idea! And, of course, that cheap blender mixed up about 10 batches of this moss soup and is still in working order.

I wonder if I could still make Margareta’s in it? Hum. . .

Our Grand Potato Harvest of 2010

Well, here’s our potato harvest for this year.  Only a few of the plants had turned brown, but once Jeff got the pitch fork in hand and started digging, he got a little excited about his little potato harvesting adventure and just kept harvesting.

It might look small in the picture, but actually this little potato harvest filled up one of those small plastic shopping bags – so we’re very happy since we only had about six plants, and they were all in a small space garden.

Only Jeff could get a potato harvest like this from potatoes planted under a tree, in the shade, in Seattle Washington!  He’s really got a green thumb! We’re going to boil up the baby reds for dinner – I can’t wait!

If you don’t like to eat potatoes, perhaps you would like to learn How to make a Potato Gun?

Avalanche Clematis and Azalea Golden Lights Pictures

Clematis_AzaleaThis time of year I always have to brag about what’s in our garden, specifically our Avalanche Clematis and the Golden Lights Azalea. 

We picked the Azalea up at a nursery about three years ago and it has never disappointed us!  Right now, it’s the perfect plant for our medium container garden setting. The larger container gets to hold another favorite of ours, the Avalanche Clematis.

Both of these plants are doing especially well this year!  They are the perfect plants for late spring color.  And, even though they both lose their flowers after a long blooming period, they both keep beautiful green color on their leaves throughout the summer.

The Golden Lights Azalea seems to last forever.  It blooms slowly, with just a few flowers coming out at first, then it goes into full bloom, as it is in the picture.  Then, the flowers die very slowly, while more flowers continue to bloom.  Overall, I think we get at least two full month of color out of this plant.

The Avalanche Clematis also blooms for a long period of time, but its flowers, for us at least, start out with  just a few, the BURST into a gorgeous plant of white flowers.  They last a long time too – probably as long as the Azalea, if not longer.

I haven’t found the Avalanche Clematis sold on-line lately, but you can find the Golden Lights Azalea at Wayside Gardens, as well as a lot of other types of Clematis – and you should definitely check out plants to get now for your summer garden.

There’s just nothing like having a container garden setting full of color – Good luck with yours!

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