Questions about growing herbs and vegetables

Joined Aug 21, 2009
This year I am planning on growing my own vegetables and herbs for the first time.  Our property is very small.. we live in the inner city and we have a very limited space for growing as you can see...

This is one half of our backyard:

and here is the other half: 

So as you can see I don't have alot of ground to grow in.  The dogwood and Japanese fire bush are going to be moved to our front yard as I am killing the front lawn this year and I have more space for them out front. 

I can use containers to grow tomatoes and beans in the alleyway (behind the gate is a private alley for our row of houses and we have common access to it with our neighbours.  and I can plant in window boxes on top of the fence as long as it doesn't interfere with my clothesline (I use it as soon as the high for the day is 5C with sunshine!) as well as on the porch railings. 

So I'm looking for suggestions on what I can grow in my tiny garden and what will thrive in our very loamy soil.  I'd like to grow carrots and I would be inclined to grow them in containers, just because of the number of cats that seem to roam the neighbourhood.  Mind you our dog is a good cat deterrent.. they seem to stay away from our yard but every so often a newbie wanders in...

Our backyard has eastern exposure so it will get the sun in the early morning and by mid afternoon it will be in shade, so I'm not sure if that makes a difference when it comes to the plants I choose to grow.

Any input you guys have I would really appreciate!  This is totally new to me so please excuse my lack of knowlege!
Joined Mar 3, 2008
Wow I would be lost if I only had that much garden, but the good thing is you can grow pretty much whatever you want with the light situation.  Somethings would take up way too much space unless they can be trellised( cucumbers, squash  melons).  However you could do radishes, leaf lettuce, beets or spinach for early crops, then when they are done  either more of the same or chard  and beans.  Or you could plant a broccoli plant or 2 early, with radishes and lettuce between them.  Broccoli gives off little sprouts after the crown is cut clear until freeze.You just have to keep them cut before they start to flower.  You could grow sweet peas along the fence.  Just experiment and take care of your soil.  Above all, don't get  worried about doing everything right.  Have fun and make it YOUR garden.

I love gardening.  It's my favorite hobby.  I have a 40x60 ft herb garden with arbors, walkways and benches.  The vege garden is about 3/4 of an acre.  Then there are many perrenial flower borders and natural islands.
Joined Feb 3, 2010
If the fence is sturdy enough I'd be inclined to attach those half-pot planters to it to increase the useable area.  Peas and beans planted in pots near the top of the fence could be trained to go around, kinda like a living wallpaper border /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif
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Joined Mar 4, 2010
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Leeniek, don’t worry if you are new to home farming.   I actually work for Triscuit, and on our site you can find step-by-step video tips as well as a Crop Guide that suggests which crops are best for your climate. Also, there are some useful fact sheets on many vegetable and herb crops to assist you in the crops you may want to include in your garden.   Let me know what you think.

Joined Feb 1, 2007
Leeniek, when surface area is limited, use the freehold above the ground. That is, grow vertically as much as possible.

Sometimes that takes a little creativity. For instance, if you cut the necks off of 1-liter bottles, and punch a few holes in the bottom, you've created individual pots. Mount them directly to the uprights on your fence. Then plant all sorts of things in them. They make lovely planters for herbs in particular.

The lattice-work fence, on the left in the bottom photo, is ideal for growing vineous plants: beans, cucumbers, gourds, even small melons (although you might have to provide additional individual support for them).

If you have as little space as that taken up by a car tire you can grow potatoes by using a tower method. Again, this let's you take advantage of the freehold over the ground.

Five-gallon pails also make great containers. You can, in one of them, easily grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, summer squash, and so forth. One tip: When drilling drainage holes in them, put the holes an inch or two up the sidewalls, rather than in the bottom.

BTW, loamy soil isn't a drawback. It's precisely the ideal to shoot for. Think of roots directly in that patch: carrots, radishes, turnips, and so forth.
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