I decided it was high time to post photos of my progress in my own back yard. This is my first year doing raised bed gardens, and just two months into the growing season, I’m continuously eyeballing my yard, deterining where I’ll build more next year.
I’ve had some interesting discoveries.
First, I think the vegetable gardens are gorgeous. I balked at planting vegetables in my back yard when we first bought our house, because I didn’t think they would be pretty. It’s incredibly ironic in retrospect. My back yard has never looked as good as it does now.
We have a very small yard, typical of a Chicago Bungalow. My husband built two raised beds, one along our house, and one along our garage. There’s no doubt that the vegetables there are growing more quickly than those in the yard. They’re thriving. The only down side so far is the illustrious dog vomit slime mold (yes, that’s its real name) that the mulch around one of the beds created. But really, the beds shouldn’t be blamed for the mulch, should they?
In the ground, I still love perennials. I’m working on ways to weave in both edibles, like the borage in the top photo above, with monarda, coneflower, artichokes, terragon (I have a monster-sized plant), chives and thyme. Next year, I’ll toss leeks and garlic in , too. I’m learning that when I add a few strategic zinnia, the whole bed lights up. I don’t have it perfected yet, but it is starting to look good. I can’ t wait until next year, when the monarda is tall, the iris I transplanted bloom again, and I have one full year of experimenting in that bed under my belt. I know it’s going to be gorgeous.
The concrete patio we inherited from the previous owners still demands that I have lots of terra cotta pots to camoflauge the concrete. I used some of the large, two-foot-tall pots to plant full-sized carrots. That’s been a great success, and I really wish I’d planted more. I also have mint, rosemary, thyme and lemon verbena in pots. My logic is that they make the seating area smell great when we’re sitting out at night, and that’s absolutely proven true. I’ve also discovered that I love munching on the chocolate mint any time I’m within arm’s reach of the plant! Having spent hours considering where to add more pots, it finally occurred to me that I can plant a new raised bed on top of the patio itself. That’s the beauty of raised beds: you can put them on top of just about everything. They cover a multitude of landscaping sins–like gratuitous amounts of concrete!
With this success comes an unquenched desire for more. I still want to find a way to make the conduit trellis more aesthetically pleasing. Of course it looks great once covered in beans, cucumbers and tomatillos, but when it’s exposed? It’s just ugly.
I’m also searching for more ways to plant vertically. I’m scoping out some iron terra cotta plant holders, so that I can have potted herbs hanging outside my back door. I’d also like to add window boxes for more herbs and lettuces. My logic is that it will keep them away from any potential rabbits, and they’d be easy to grab from the windows outside my kitchen.
Gardening is an addiction. Once you’re in, you can never get enough.