How Does Your Garden Grow?

by Maggie Flickinger

It’s full blown spring in Boulder and the chill fingers of frost have (hopefully!) passed us by. We’re all starting on our gardens…expanding, starting anew, and learning from past seasons. Last year, I bemoaned the loss of my “in-ground” garden when I bought a rowhouse with the only ground-floor area being a lovely concrete pad.

Now, I am building a custom trellis to hang from the second floor deck, getting a looooooong (72″) box to live on the pad, and planting zucchini which will twist and curl their way ever upwards. This will not only give me yummy eats later in the season, but will shade my lower patio and give it a degree of privacy. A custom made 36×36 cedar planter for the upper deck will reunite me with the joy of digging in the dirt, albeit at a smaller scale than I’ve had in the past. The large planter is a better solution than small individual container planting as watering is more efficient and I can continue with simple guild planting (also known as kinship or companion planting), naturally discouraging pests and encouraging growth!

Nicole has enterprising plans for her back yard: a complete overhaul involving edibles, a chicken coop & scratch yard, and a spacious deck for socializing. Nathan is growing his Permacultural dream with the addition of new baby goats and a cousin studying Sustainable Agriculture who will be summering with his family and helping the farm along. Amy planted hers starts and then had to dig them up the next day after an unusually late frost threatened…they’re happily back in the ground now!  Sam has his front & back yard beds raked and primed and is ready to teach his little one more about garden planning and planting.


How Does Your Garden Grow

Closeby, over the past few years I’ve admired the handiwork of our studio neighbor. Their right-of-way (ROW) garden illustrates the potentially contentious issue of “guerilla gardening.”  A few years ago, city fines were threatened against a verdant ROW garden, with no clear conclusion to ROW gardens in the City of Boulder (as reported by the Daily Camera).  Our neighborhood curbside gardener is still going strong with herbs greening up after their winter dormancy, and lettuce, strawberries, and tomatoes getting their start.


How Does Your Garden Grow

Today, a New York Times article chronicled one writers journey to populate their parking strip ROW – aka “hell strip” – with greenery.  Why, oh why, did they not mention edible landscaping?  In my opinion, if you only have a deck, a planting strip, or other finite space for gardening, why not spend your time and use your water to grow something you can eat?  There’s nothing more rewarding than snapping into the first crunchy carrot of the season – and no matter how much space you have or how that space takes place, an edible garden can be yours.

We’ll keep you posted on our garden efforts as the season moves forward…especially that trellis project…phew!  We’d also love hearing any of your small space or otherwise unique gardening suggestions you’ve found!

ROLLCALL! A Few Boulder Gardening Resources:

  • Compost Tea from Ecocycle  Pick it up at the farmer’s market or they Pearl location and watch your 8′ tomatoes grow, grow, grow!
  • Organic Veggie Starts at the Farmer’s Market Swing by the Wednesday Farmer’s Market for fewer crowds and pick up some thriving starts from your favorite farms!  Last night I saw tons of heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, gorgeous strawberries, and more.
  • Western Disposal Compost While not certified organic, this compost is made from Western’s curbside compost program.  Sold for a STEAL in 1.5 cubic yard bags, this is a great rich soil solution for those starting a new garden.
  • Garden in a Box Center for Resource Conservation offers edible Garden in a Box kits for those DIY’ers who just want to plant and watch it grow….don’t forget to water! (sold out for 2010, sign up for 2011 waitlist)
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