Creative gardening

::  view from our living room window  ::
 We are currently living in a rental house until we are able to find a piece of land in our area that will be able to fulfill our dream of becoming as close to self sufficient as possible!  It's an old funky house perched on the edge of the ocean.  It's providing us with a lovely place to live with a fantastic view, it's just missing one thing....a garden!

So, we had to get creative!  We like to take many of our plants with us when we move from house to house, I guess that sounds a bit odd, but we get attached to them, they are like part of our family!  So we have a great collection of pots, planters, boxes and pails that they are currently calling home until we have some earth to plant them in.  Every spring we get a load of rich sea soil delivered and pull apart our compost bin and top them up with all the nutrients they need to keep them going for another year.

We often have neighbours walk past our home on their evening strolls and stop to comment on how much we are able to grow successfully in containers.  Here is a list of what we commonly grow in our 'gardenless garden':

- blueberries (11 varieties)
- black currant
- triple crown blackberries (a new purchase this year, I'll let you know how it goes!)
- strawberries (June and everbearing)
- rhubarb
- apples (we have 4 immature trees that have not produced fruit yet)
- tomatoes (bush, vine and tumbler varieties)
- cucumbers (english and this year we're trying pickling!)
- bell peppers
- beans (green bush, broad, pole and romano so far)
- lettuces (red, green, romaine, butter)
- swiss chard
- spinach
- patty pan squash
- zucchini (although the yield is not high)
- acorn squash
- green onions
- potatoes
- peas (shelling)
- green onions
- herbs (basil, oregano, winter savory, sage, rosemary, 2 kinds of chive, 4 kinds of mints, lemon balm, thyme, parsley)
- and several flower plants as well, but I'll just talk about fruits and veggies today!  I'm currently doing some research on edible flowers, herbs and teas so I'll leave that for another post!

Here are some photos...

:: peas, rosemary, sage, black currant and blueberries in between the roses that are planted in the ground ::
::  cucumbers and romano beans  ::
::  taxi tomatoes  ::
::  potatoes grown in barrel  ::
::  lettuces  ::
::  patty pan squash ::

So to be completely honest, we do have one strip of actual soil that we can use for planting that gets some sunlight (the sunniest area around the rose bushes has ground cloth and bark mulch there).
This is along the walkway in front of the house.  It's a strip that is about 24" deep by about 10' long.  Only thing is that it only gets morning sun BUT we tried anyways and planted a row of broad beans against the house with a row of cucumbers in the middle and a row of bush beans at the front along the sidewalk.

::  garden along walkway ~ early june  ::

And low and behold it turned into this by August!

::  garden along front walkway ~ august  ::

In that small space we harvested enough beans to fill our tummies and freezer and we had so many cucumbers we were giving them away to friends and family!

The food we grow tastes unlike anything you find in a supermarket, we know exactly what it has been exposed to (nothing but clean air, water and sunshine!), we don't have to travel anywhere to buy it and the cost is a fraction of what the stores charge!

Not to mention the fun we have as a family starting some of these plants from tiny seeds in our living room window or watching the perennials "wake up" at the beginning of the growing season and carefully tending them until they reward us with baskets full of fresh produce!!

My children eat everything we grow, they are excited and proud to harvest something that we have grown and bring it into the kitchen to serve it up!  They understand how food grows and what is needed for plants to be productive.  They know how important these fresh fruits and veggies are to their bodies.  These are the gifts that we knew that we wanted to give to our children from the time they were born.  Each year they learn more about nature and the seasons as we introduce new things to the space that we currently have to work with. 

We all dream of one day soon having a space to call our own that is large enough so that every one of our plants can spread their roots into healthy rich soil and grow to their full capacity.  We will make that dream a reality, but for now we are making do with what we have and are very pleased with what we can grow in our creative garden! 

::  fresh from the garden!  ::

If you have any questions please ask and feel free to share your garden stories and/or links as well!....
~ joey ~

Edit:  I'm so excited, this morning at our local market I found a dill variety that I can grow in a container as it only reaches 18"!  It's called Fern Leaf Dill if anyone is interested?!!  Yah!  :o)


  1. Ok, I need to do this. I just have one pot of onions. We too are just renting temporarily. But I think I need to take a trip to gather supplies for a gardenless garden myself! Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Joey,
    This is so utterly inspiring! I'm going to put it up in my sidebar so that anyone wondering how much they can grow in a tiny rented space will have YOU as their frame of reference. Wow! Wow! Wow!

  3. Luz: You go girl! It's really not that hard to get started and we find that the rewards inspire us to continue and expand!

    Maya: Thank you, you are so kind! I'm always up for helping others take that leap into gardening!

    Your comments have made my day!
    Thank you!
    ~ joey ~

  4. Wow- this is so inspiring! So much food from a little space- What a green thumb you have mama! I never would have thought of potatoes in a barrel!

  5. Hi Tai,
    Yes the potatoes were an experiment but worked really well in the barrel, not one bug or blemish! And it was so easy to dig them out!
    The biggest green thumb in our family belongs to my daughter! She can get anything to grow!
    And if I may say your little ones are SO adorable, I really enjoy visiting your blog!
    All the best,
    ~ joey ~

  6. WOW!! you really have container gardening down to an art, every sense of the word! how beautiful...and I am just loving the view from your window! can I come over? You can teach me how to garden so beautifully!! xoxoxo

  7. I clicked over from the link on Maya's blog... glad I did! My hubby and I also drag our plants from rental to rental. We bought a Triple-Crown blackberry this year too... can't wait! Your potatoes in a barrel are blowing me away... definitely going to try that!

  8. Superbly written article, if only all bloggers offered the same content as you, the internet would be a far better place.. pruning shears for arthritic hands

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I really enjoy reading your thoughts and ideas about the posts that I write here. It's nice to just say hi too!
~ joey ~