Small Scale Gardening


Gardening here in Georgia has been a real learning experience for me. Each year I learn a little bit more about what I can grow and where I should grow it. Having only an acre here we really don�t have space enough for a large garden like we would like to have. I started with a small garden about 18�x 22�. I was quite pleased with what I grew that year even in such a small space but it sure wouldn�t have fed us for the year so I needed to add to that space. I kept all our used tires and piled them two or three high filled them with dirt and planted in those. I also had a kiddie pool with holes in it so filled that with dirt to plant in. The kiddie pool seemed to work fairly well but the tires just got to hot too soon. The plants grew great at first but as summer progressed they got too hot and the plants died off. Still I did not give up on them. I learned the next year that while squash in the tires did not do well, peppers liked the heat the tires generated and did quite well.

Still we needed more room so we I cleared a space and dug a spot for an even smaller garden on a hill by the house. Even the first year the greens did quite well in this garden. This was the first year that I had learned that when I harvested one thing I should replace it with something else. When the greens came out I replaced them with eggplants, cucumbers, peppers and a few tomatoes. Unfortunately the eggplants died though we did get some peppers and just a few cucumbers.

Each year we garden seems to be better than the last as I apply what I have learned and try new things. This year was no exception. The lettuce went in the kiddie pool and grew great. Greens went in the garden on the hill again and also in the other garden as well since they require such a short growing season I have learned to plant those first. Also the cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli went in. When those greens were harvested in the garden on the hill all the tomato plants went there. In the other garden when the greens were harvested I planted beans, peppers, squash and okra. Snow peas had been growing up the chicken wire fencing of this garden; now that they are gone I have planted cucumbers in their place. I also put other cucumbers in this garden instead of the one on the hill and they have done great this year.

Herbs that have been started in the greenhouse may be put in any space in the garden where they will fit or even in one of the tires (and then I�ll know if they can take the heat of the tires).

For next year I would like to get a couple of raised beds put in the backyard. The backyard isn�t being used and it has weeds but not much grass so right now it is just wasted space. Space I could be using to grow more food.

I still cannot provide our house with all the vegetables we need for a year but now when we buy vegetables it isn�t because we don�t have any vegetables but is because we want a certain type, which I don�t grow or don�t grow enough of.

Eventually I do believe I will have learned enough and have enough growing space even here to provide all our vegetables and we will be healthier because of it. The vegetables taste better therefore we will eat more of them. I will know exactly how they were grown and preserved.

Never think that because you have very little land that you can�t grow your own vegetables. If I can with just an acre even those with a quarter acre can have a raised bed and grow a good assortment of vegetables for their families. It is just a matter of time and learning to understand what grows best in what area of your yard.


                              Becky Whitford