The Tasting Garden – Container Gardening For Better or Worse
Posted May 14 2009 1:15pm
Last year I wrote about my sorry excuse for small but cherished garden. In it I planted strawberries, carrots and a variety of herbs. After a lackluster harvest I promptly dubbed I the tasting garden.
Since it’s short, I’ll reprint the post below.
For the past two years we have attempted to plant a garden on a tiny plot of salt encrusted soil behind our house. Tirelessly we plant, fertilize, water and watch our crops grow…or not. Striving to grow an yields less than half that of conventional gardeners, we expected to lose 50% of our crop to various wildlife. But, we didn’t quite realize what that means.
Now in year two we understand low yield means 10-12 strawberries over the season, 2-3 tomatoes and savory bits of various vegetables. And with this knowledge comes freedom. Lowering our expectations we don’t expect our carefully tended crops to yield bushels. Rather than gathering our crops and storing for future use, we snip off pieces as they ripen and savor them in situ, in our garden.
Renamed, our tasting garden we gleefully now plant whatever comes to mind. Soybeans last year (we harvested two pods), corn (not a traditional plant for Southern California ) this year. Later in the season we’ll try pumpkins, while my DH watches for real bananas on his decidedly tropical tree. Who knows, perhaps he’ll be successful.
Meanwhile, we’ve cheerfully bought into the process not the outcome and that has been the best outcome of all.
I’m taking the time this year to report on how we are faring in year three.
Yes, we still have tiny harvest of strawberries and the corn never did come up last year, but we also have some good news.
My DH’s banana tree actually yielded a tiny bunch of small but sweet bananas, much to everyone’s amazement. We have not bought lemons in over a year as our harvest has met our needs. Tomatoes are plentiful and our herbs as well as our lettuce yields supply the table on a regular basis…all grown in pots!
Yes, we still buy into the tasting garden idea since we once again planted carrots and expect a similar harvest – that is tiny. We’ve also branched out to try to grow green beans (awesome in a pot) and even spinach. Those that come up plentiful we will eat. Those that don’t well…we’ll rejoice in the process!