I am almost done planting my backyard vegetable garden for fall. I specify backyard because I also grow vegetables in the front yard (I even grow potatoes and yams in the driveway using fabric Grow Pots!) and my community garden plot. Here in southern California, we garden year round, growing eggplants, tomatoes, squash and peppers in the summer, and broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and lettuces in the winter. So, one garden area almost planted out for fall, two to go.
This is an overview of half of my backyard. You can see that I’m not working with very much space. These three raised beds are from Gardeners Supply Company. My beds are going into their third year, and look as good as new. I just love them.
I added two bean towers and some black metal trellising and pea fencing from Gardeners Supply this past spring. They’re performing nicely as well. I particularly like the black coated metal trellising that I put into the raised beds for growing peas and beans. They are designed to fit perfectly, and the black coating is more elegant than the aluminum-look pea fencing that I have set up next to our deck.
The openings are closer together on the black trellising than on the pea fence, which the peas like better. If I were doing it over, I’d skip the zig-zag pea fencing in favor of the black trellises, even though the black ones were more expensive. The black ones just look better.
As for the bean towers, I just love them. I can grow a lot of beans and peas in a very small space with these towers.
You can see that I let that eggplant go a bit too long. It turned from glossy black to egg color. No worries. I picked it yesterday, pared off the tough skin, and made an eggplant Parmesan, using the last of my tomatoes for the sauce, plus homegrown onions, garlic, and herbs.
To make even better use of my space, I plant herbs and flowers outside the raised beds. This bed has allysum and parsley around portions of the exterior. You can see the base of the bean towers in back at the left of the photo. I have a few green beans remaining, but the season for beans is over. The other bean tower has some newly planted Super Sugar Snap peas that haven’t sprouted yet.
My only remaining task for the back is to pull out the spent tomato and pepper plants, add compost, and plant my six-pack of red cabbages. I’m hoping to find room to transplant some deer-tongue lettuce that I started from seed a few weeks ago. The texture of deer-tongue lettuce is fabulous, with great flavor too. I count that as my best new-to-me vegetable from last winter. It’s an heirloom, so I saved seeds from last year’s crop to grow this year.
October has been a surprisingly good harvest month for me, with about 34 lbs of produce. That puts my total harvest for the year up to 196 lbs, with more crops coming along. I’m certainly going to break 200 lbs, and hope to at least equal my harvest last year (without the community garden) of 224 lbs. Maybe my harvest poundage is as much related to the amount of time that I have to garden as the amount of space that I have. I tended to neglect my home garden this year in favor of working the soil in the community garden.
Harvest for the week ending October 23, 2011
7 oz lemon, Meyer
6 lbs watermelon
Subtotal FRUIT 6 lbs 7 oz
10 oz bell peppers
4 oz black dried beans
6 oz beans, green
1 lb carrots
6 oz chard
1 lb 13 oz eggplant
5 oz garlic
2 oz herbs
9 oz lettuce
1 lb onions
6 oz tomatoes
9 oz winter squash
Subtotal VEGETABLES (116 oz) 7 lbs 6 oz
TOTAL PRODUCE 13 lbs 13 oz, plus 4 eggs