Introducing My Small Garden

Gardening has always been part of my life, even while living in a flat at one stage many years ago, the windowsills became my garden - producing herbs, sprouts, and microgreens, interspersed with the houseplants. I'm lucky now though to have a small garden. Of course, I would love to have bigger grounds to work, but I enjoy learning what works for the small plot at the back of the house.

Ireland is in the growing zone 8-9, which means that we are quite mild all year round, with no major extremes of conditions. We can grow a wide variety of plants and crops depending on the soil type, position of the garden and the amount of sun and wind that the space will get. 

Collage of pictures showing mint growing, a beautiful pink rose and a vegetable plot.

My Small Garden

With that in mind, my small garden is north facing behind the house, which means that it gets five maybe six hours of direct sun in the height of summer. It is however, a quite well sheltered plot with a tall fence on all other sides.

The patio only gets around three or four hours of direct sun, remaining shaded for the rest of the time but it can still be useful too.

You can grow quite a lot in a small garden if you learn what suits your plot best, which some research, and trial and error will soon reveal. You can also experiment with planting techniques such as the multi-sow technique and square foot gardening to increase the yields. 

The Vegetable Plot

The vegetable plot is just six feet wide and nine feet long, I sometimes sow in rows in situ or use the multi-sow technique which are later transplanted out in lines across the plot width wise, this typically allows for a couple of rows each of five or six different crops. 

Currently Growing - July 2023

In the vegetable plot now, there are peas that are flowering and have some pods that are filling up nicely. Growing well are also a couple of rows of garlic, a couple of rows of onions - some red ones and some brown ones. Next to the onions are a few rows of carrots, at the end of the rows of carrots, in a patch that was bare after the neighbourhood cats had been digging before the carrots came up, there is now some radish, a quick growing crop. 

The spinach in the rows in front of the carrots has now been lifted. I managed to get one harvest from them but with all the rain we've had in the last few weeks - it drowned! 

There are some young bean plants nearly ready to go in to replace them but with the ground so wet currently I'm not sure if I'll put them in the plot or into containers. The first sowing of rocket is now used up with more seedlings on the way.

Where Are The Fruit Bushes & What Are They?

I make use of containers for gardening too, especially on the patio but also around the garden. Edging a lot of the garden, along the fence are containers full of fruit bushes. Fruit bushes are quite easy to grow and are usually quite productive with little effort from you once they are established. 

I particularly love to grow raspberries, and blackcurrants, but also grow gooseberries, red currants, and blue berries. While not a fruit bush there is also a crown of rhubarb growing and hopefully soon some strawberries, I've been promised some runners by a friend. 

That is a great thing about gardening - it is usually quite easy to exchange cuttings or surplus seedlings with family and friends. The one and only rose that is in the garden, I received as a gift and it's gorgeous, beautifully scented too.

Where Are The Herbs & What Are They?

Most gardeners (or their partners) cook - you must be able to do something with the produce! Many dishes taste better with the inclusion of herbs, and I grow these quite close to the back door making it easy to get them while cooking. Like many things you can grow, most herbs are easy and often re-seed themselves or grow easily from cuttings. 

The patio is full of pots of various types of mint, lemon balm, thyme, parsley, fennel, chives, oregano, marjoram, sage, rosemary, and lavender. While I don't eat the lavender, I do use it in homemade skincare products, but everything else is used in cookery or herbal teas. The holes in the cavity blocks, used to create the vegetable plot edge, made an ideal place to plant some herbs too.

What Else Is On The Patio? What About Flowers, Do I Grow Any?

The patio is also home to the seedlings, cuttings, and salad leaves, which can tolerate more shady conditions. That doesn't leave much room for flowers but of course I grow a few, you should as they help to attract the pollinators and give some colour to the garden. Along with letting the herbs flower and the rose bush, I usually grow some sweet peas, nasturtiums, calendula, geraniums and sometimes dwarf sunflowers giving a rainbow of colour, some of these are also actually edible too.

So, to conclude the introduction to my garden - it's possible to grow quite a lot in a small, quite shady garden. In writing it all down, I have been quite surprised at exactly how much! 

Thank you for reading my blog today, I hope you enjoyed it. 

Until the next time may your world be filled with love, peace and happiness.

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