Cream & Sugar: Our Garden- All Grown Up!

Our home is a small one. Okay, our home is…well…tiny, to be honest! And while there was a time after we moved in that we lamented the apartment sized stove and lack of a guest space, over the last year or so we’ve come not only to embrace our modest home, but to absolutely love it! Our location is ideal and we spend many a Sunday morning strolling down Main Street to get sticky buns at Isabella’s and many a Saturday evening grabbing a drink on the patio of The Broad Arrow Tavern and catching a movie in town before leisurely walking hand in hand back to our tiny abode. We wave to our neighbors and sit around the backyard firepit and bike to the waterfront to watch the lobster boats come in with their hauls. We’ve loved brainstorming renovations small and large to more creatively and efficiently use our home’s space and little by little we’ve saved our pennies and begun to execute a few of those plans!

One of the few areas we struggled to find a satisfactory solution for was where and how to plant a garden on our little tenth-of-an-acre lot! There is a decided lack of direct sunlight in either our front or back yards and I worried that my aspirations to learn to grow some of our food would be pushed to the back burner until the time came when we decided to move! But we circled the house and watched the sun and talked to the producers at the farmer’s market and googled ourselves silly and realized that the only place we could grow vegetables on our lot was {drum roll!!}…our driveway. Uhhh…

So we stood in our driveway and stared at it. A lot. And then we went back to the farmers and back to google and put our big ol’ creative brains to use and decided that the only way to grow a decent amount of veggies and herbs would be to (a) go up and (b) go mobile. The mobile part of the solution was simple- I’ve always had good luck with growing herbs in containers, so that’s what I would do! Then I could just chase the sun around the deck by moving my container herb garden to the section that was currently receiving the best light! Awesome.

The going up part was more complicated. We scraped away a section of gravel and built a single raised bed that would give us ten 1×4 foot rows. While likely big enough to start off with considering that our combined gardening know-how equals a big, gigantic ZERO, we were greedy and wanted more. And then I stumbled upon this lovely post and inspiration hit. A vertical garden! That was our answer! So we went to Home Depot and Hancock Lumber (check out a little of that here) and got our supplies together to build our garden up!

We discovered in the process that our dog doesn’t like to step on grass if there’s an alternative…what a diva!

Not that it kept me from snuggling all over her or taking more shots of her than of our project!

She doesn’t like grass, but the pile of sawdust os totally fine…again…awesome.

While I was taking photos of our dog, Justin was digging post-holes and getting prepped to put the entire unit up! We did run into a little snag when it came to putting it up, however!
So. We realized before we began building that because we wanted it so close to the house, we’d have to build it out completely on the ground (not enough room between the house & garden to fit the drill). Once it was all built, Justin and I went to stand it up and…nothing. It didn’t budge. We couldn’t lift it 6 inches off the ground much less stand it up, carry it through the gate, and then set it carefully into the two post holes that Justin had dug to the perfect depth. After a few cryptic calls to friends and neighbors (“Hi, Kurt? What are you up to in the morning? Want to come by for coffee and donuts? Oh, and if you wouldn’t mind, we have a super quick little project we could use your help with…yeah…it’ll only take like 15 minutes, we promise!”), Justin, our neighbor Peter, our friend Kurt, and I managed to inch our way from the back yard to the driveway and finagle that beast into place. We’re pretty sure neither of them will ever answer our calls again. {and no, I didn’t manage to take a photo of it since I was lifting too!!}

A bit-o-concrete to seal the deal and we were all set. (Ha!…concrete pun!…get it? We were all “set”…you know…like how concrete has to set? Too much? Okay…)

That hard workin’ man-o-mine!

The beast…

You thought that was it, didn’t you? Except that to grow things, you need dirt, I mean, soil (we have to use fancy garden vocabulary now!). While we did manage to build ourselves a killer 2-bin compost system out of recycled pallets recently, alas, our pile of food scraps and dead leaves still looks like, well, food scraps and dead leaves and not the slightest bit like compost! So we were going to need to buy it! We put our tarp in the back of the car and drove on over to Country Fare (you know, where you can pick up compost AND play a round of golf! What?). The people there were awesome and super helpful! It was actually quite hilarious…we said that we wanted to get a square yard of compost and she asked if we had a truck. We said no and she looked at our car and asked if we were really planning to take it in that. We said yes and she said okay, but we’d have to shovel it in ourselves since the backhoe couldn’t drop it in for us. We said alrighty…
(I forgot my camera, so bear with my iPhone Instragram shots…)

We also stopped by Wealden Farm’s farmstand on the way home for our first round of seedlings! Two kinds of lettuce, kale, broccoli raab, parsley, and carrot seeds…

I’d already started some herbs (rosemary, thyme, dill, sage, and chives) in containers…

Three weeks later, our first lettuce harvest!! We were ridiculously proud of our salad that night…

We’ve added a ton of basil, oregano, pepper & tomato plants, two 1/2 whiskey barrel planters, and have a few more slots to fill now that I think we’re officially past the last frost of the season!

Our carrots are peeping out…does anyone know how/when I should thin them??

I can’t believe how things are thriving…we are able to cut lettuce for salad several time a week! And the broccoli raab is out of control!

And I just had to share a few more shots of Miss Tessie since she got her summer haircut yesterday!! I can’t stop laughing…she looks like such a puppy!!!

I’ll keep you posted as our little garden area changes and grows!! Any big projects going on in your neck of the woods? Any advice for a couple of newbie gardeners?

Facebook Share|Tweet Post|Email Post|Contact Me
  • […] small space- talk with Corie at Shift and Martha at Wealden Farm about how to better utilize our vertical garden space┬áso that it’s more […]ReplyCancel

  • KelbJune 19, 2012 - 11:15 am
  • […] and veggie food scraps as I write, turning them into super-rich compost and liquid fertilizer for that vertical garden we’re so proud of! It may not be glamourous, but Justin and I are pretty game to try anything […]ReplyCancel

  • SaraMay 31, 2012 - 9:16 pm

    Cindy, your vertical garden is SO cool! What a fun and rewarding project, you guys did an amazing job! There is nothing better than being able to pick/cut the food you are going to eat for dinner- it is the best feeling! I have heard that thinning works best by just snipping the tops off the seedlings you don’t want; this way the roots of the thriving plants aren’t disrupted. Enjoy the summer bounty ­čÖéReplyCancel

  • Lindsay BybothMay 31, 2012 - 6:38 pm

    Wow! I am totally impressed by your garden project! It looks so tidy and convenient! Worth all the hard work, I am sure. Hehehe, and I see the pup is feelin’ sassy with her new doo.ReplyCancel

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *