For those of you doing some compact or urban gardening, or any sort of gardening actually, I’d like to remind you of my earlier article about some mistakes I did in 2015 in my terrace garden. It contains some tips that can be useful if you wish to avoid some common errors such as soil drying out too quickly, pests attacking certain crops or some plants just loving their living space so much that they completely take over.
Small garden adjustments for big results
I haven’t had the time to remedy all of the “mistakes” or “errors” (I’d rather call them points that need improvement) I brought up in the article mentioned above, but this is what I have changed so far:
1. Giant tomatoes
To avoid crazy big tomatoes that take over a full growing bed I switched for some lower heirloom tomato varieties. Not only do I expect them to taste better but hopefully they will also be more hardy and need less care. Let’s see what happens over the coming months.
2. Problems with cabbage butterfly
This season I’m growing less plants from the brassica (cabbage) family + hiding the ones I have between fragrant herbs and plants that are not that attractive to the small white (cabbage butterfly). Let’s see if that works out.
3. Too strong sun
I’m still on a flat terrace with strong sun hitting it during a large portion of the day in summer. I have worked a bit more on the layers in the garden to have higher plants shading lower ones, but I could probably do more in the form of getting some more shrubs and climbing plants to protect the layers below. I’m working on having the ground better covered planting low and fast growing vegetables such as spinach and lettuce. I also invested in some wood chip mulch to protect the soil from drying out too fast. So far it seems to be working rather well, but it hasn’t been that hot and dry yet. I have not bothered to raise the beds with just one layer of boards. Let’s see if the other efforts are enough.
4. Prolonged gardening season
This one I still have to improve on. I will re-plant some vegetables later in the season, but I must say my strategy isn’t 100% worked out just yet.
5. Cheap seeds don’t pay off
This one is the one that has shown the most success. Investing in quality organic seeds has proven to be a great choice. Not only does this mean more fun and not so common varieties (some of them will most probably taste a lot better than the commercial ones) but most important of all, they have sprouted much much better than the cheap supermarket seeds. All in all, the more expensive price has paid off. I ended up with far too many tomato & zucchini plants + had to split a couple of my strawberry plants and give away to friends. But that’s a “problem” that I’m very happy to have.
To avoid problems with diseases and the soil becoming depleted I have rotated the positions of some plants. I’m also mixing up leguminous plants such as beans and peas with some of the more nutrient hungry ones. When ending up with some extra seeds in my hands after sowing one garden bed I have been going a bit crazy in the pots where my apple, blackberry and raspberry plants are growing and just thrown them in. Let’s see what happens!