While the spring and warmer weather may have just started making its way into some areas, here in California we start gardening a lot sooner. I started my garden last month and it’s making great progress. This year’s garden is a lot smaller than before since we gave our side yard a makeover. I planted a variety of easy to grow plants that work well in our mild semi-coastal micro-climate. Today I’m sharing my garden’s progress as well as some tips for growing a garden in a smaller space.
1. Figure out how much space you have.
If you live in a house and have a yard this will be a lot easier than if you need to make your owns pace. Most summer garden plants require lots of sun to reach their maximum potential, so keep that in mind when planning out your area. This year after our side yard makeover I went from having two 4×8′ garden beds to having two 30″ x 30″ beds. This meant making some choices when it came to plants.
2. Make space if you need to.
If this is your first year growing and you need to make space, keep in mind the lighting conditions throughout the day. If you live somewhere with a balcony, try to choose pots and planters that have some area for drainage or a water reservoir. Since my garden area is smaller this year, I’ve opted to put other plants like my blueberry and some herbs the kids wanted to grow into standalone pots that aren’t in the main garden boxes.
3. Choose your plants.
Think about your climate and what the average temperature in the summer is. I chose to plant a few of my favorites, like sugar peas, tomatoes, and strawberries, while throwing in some herbs like basil, African basil, purple basil, mint, thyme, and cilantro. I also planted a new favorite, hula berries! I know that my sugar peas are not a full sun crop and do not like the hot weather, so I planted them between my tomatoes and the fence to shade them from the hottest part of the day. Most of my other plants love full sun.
4. Set up a watering solution.
Be sure that there is an easy way to make sure that you garden gets water every day. We have an automated landscaping setup so that I can run water lines to my garden, but we haven’t set it up yet. It’s helpful for when we travel and can’t always water the plants. Since I’m also still working on getting the seeds to grow in between my pavers, it’s easy for me to water the garden daily too. If your plants are in pots they should have proper drainage which can be achieved by having a water tray under the pot, or filling the bottom third of the pot with filler so that the water can not pool up and cause rot.
5. Maintain your garden and enjoy!
Be sure to pull weeds and keep an eye out for garden pests. My favorite deterrent is organic neem oil because I don’t like to spray chemicals near food I’m going to eat. It’s easiest to check your plants when you water them, or when you go to pick your produce.
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Do you grow a Summer garden? What are some of your favorite plants to grow? If you don’t have one, would you like to?