The past couple days, we've had hints that spring may be coming soon, with temperatures soaring into the 40s and snow melting like crazy. As a result, I find myself itching to get gardening. I can't even calculate how much money I've saved over the past few years with my modest garden, and I'm planning a much larger one this year! The first couple years I gardened, I only had two 4'x4' boxes to grow things in.
However, using the square foot gardening method, a lot can be grown in a 4'x4' box! This is one of my two boxes last year during its peak prettiness:
Last year, I decided that I wanted more gardening space, so I expanded to container gardening. The place we were living in was pretty strict about what could be laying around the yard, so I had to be creative with my use of space.
Here is my stairwell garden of sugar snap peas, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, raspberries, and blackberries (didn't get any raspberries or blackberries last year, but it was my first year with those plants, so that isn't really a surprise).
This year, I am really looking forward to getting my garden going, since I pretty much have the landlord's go-ahead to do what I want, turning the whole (although much smaller) yard into a garden!
I have friends that aren't so fortunate to have that kind of space, as modest as it is. My friend Zoë has a third floor apartment in Boston, and still manages an extremely impressive garden on her balcony.
As you can see from Zoë's beautiful garden and mine, with our eclectic pots, buckets, and other found materials being used as pots, you don't have to spend a lot of money to do this either. A guide to tell you what size pot, and I use that term loosely, you need is very handy though. Zoë recommends McGee & Stuckey's Bountiful Container and I prefer The Apartment Farmer (which also covers information about gardening inside, something I haven't attempted yet, but likely will sooner or later) for this purpose, but there are other books out there too, so you may want to look at a few of them to see what suits your needs the best. Zoë has a blog as well, so that will be another resource for ideas for extensive container gardening ideas.
Sometime in the next few days, I'm hoping the snow will have melted enough that I can actually see my yard well enough to plan what I want to do with it, so keep watching for more great ideas for getting the most out of a small yard!
Here are some books that might help inspire and inform you when it comes to your own unconventional gardening efforts: