gardening

My Urban Vegetable Garden

Don’t let a small space stop you from planting a garden, it’s actually amazing what you can grow in a tiny urban yard!  Here are some things I learned from growing my own Urban Vegetable Garden.

I’ve never let living in the suburbs of a big city stop me from having a garden, whether it be flowers, herbs or vegetables, I love it all!  It’s amazing what you can grow in a small space.  Here’s a little look into my urban vegetable garden…

a side view of a raised garden bed with vegetable seedlings

My urban vegetable garden plans.

This past year with us staying close to home, I decided to put a lot of effort into my backyard garden. I wanted to create a raised garden to grow simple vegetables, and loads of them. I wanted to have pots and bins full of different fruits, vegetables and cut flowers. So with a little planning and rearranging I did just that.

a small urban vegetable garden filled with young seedlings. in the background are more pots of vegetables and trees

Follow the sun!

In the spring we built a simple raised garden in the middle of our backyard with plans to fill it with vegetables. We had to build the garden here because we were chasing the sun…it’s where the sun shines all day, so that’s where the garden had to go.  And I’m happy to report that this was a most excellent decision because my garden was SO happy and bountiful.

a small urban vegetable garden filled with young seedlings. in the background are more pots of vegetables, trees, an outdoor fireplace and chairs

Let’s talk about garden soil.

I think the biggest reason my garden grew so well was because of the soil.  I used a rich black garden soil that I purchased in bulk from a local garden centre.  No extra amendments were added to this soil because it’s already full of organic matter and drains well. I live by the “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” mantra.  And last year my garden grew beyond my expectations, so I’m going to leave it alone this spring.  I may lightly fertilize my plants as they grow though, just with vegetable fertilizer mixed with water in a watering can.

a side view of a raised garden with young vegetable seedlings

Fill it up.

For backyard vegetable gardening in raised beds and pots, I fill the gardens right up, with the goal being that little-to-no soil will show once the plants have grown. I always hesitate a little at the start of the season when I do this, as I worry about over-filling the garden and choking out my plants, but honestly, this has not happened. Filling up a garden means that the soil isn’t exposed, plants don’t dry out and they maintain moisture, resulting in happy and healthy vegetables.

a small urban vegetable garden filled with vegetables. in the background are more pots of vegetables, trees, an outdoor fireplace and chairs

My garden in July at its peak of fullness.

What I planted in my raised vegetable garden:

I kept the plantings in my raised vegetable garden very simple. My goal here was to grow as much of our favourite vegetables as I could, so I filled the garden bed up with these things:

  • 1 mound of Garlic Chives (from seedling)
  • 1 row of Yellow Onions (from bulbs)
  • 4 rows of Carrots (from seed)
  • 1 row of Beets (from seed)
  • 2 rows of Green Beans (from seed)
  • 2 Celery (from a celery root)

a small urban vegetable garden filled with young vegetable seedlings

Pots make great gardens too!

After filling up my raised garden with vegetables, I still had more vegetables that I wanted to grow, so I decided to create a container garden to accompany it as well.

a wooden box filled with strawberries and spinach

What I planted in pots:

Here is what I planted in different pots:

  • Zucchini (from seed)
  • Rhubarb (a perennial that comes up every year)
  • Strawberries (from seedlings)
  • Potatoes (from seed potatoes)
  • Tomatoes (both from seed and seedlings)
  • Spinach (from seed)
  • Lettuce  (from seed)
  • Swiss Chard (from seed)
  • Chives (a perennial that comes up every year)
  • Herbs(from seedlings)
  • More Beans (from seed)

a tin pot in an urban vegetable garden that is filled with zucchini plants

Container gardens can be so creative!

I actually really like the creativity that planting in pots and containers allows.  I like to grow different things in the same pots…things like spinach and strawberries together. Or basil and tomatoes.  Or big pots filled to the brim with chives.  Sometimes I will even add some flowers to the pots too.

a wooden box filled with strawberries and spinach

a pot full of chives with purple blossoms

Yes, you can grow Rhubarb in Pots!

A lot of people don’t realize that you can successfully grow perennial rhubarb in pots. I have had the same rhubarb plant in the same deep pot for over 12 years, and every year it comes up without fail. And I don’t do anything to protect it during our harsh winters either…it just keeps coming back every year and I’m so grateful for it. I think the key is a deep pot.

a top down view of a young rhubarb plant

a top down view of three pots of potato plants and one tomato pot

My Summer Bounty!

Now the best part, my summer bounty!  It still amazes me how much I was able to grow in my tiny little urban vegetable garden.  We ate beans, carrots, beets, beet greens, salads, tomatoes, chives, herbs and rhubarb all summer long!

me holding a bunch of fresh beets and carrots pulled right out of the garden

More than just a garden.

I was so proud of my garden.  Not only did it feed us for a short while, but it gave me a space to be. In this yard I was able to disappear into my garden…it was peaceful, the scary world couldn’t touch us here.  It was just me, the dirt and garden life.

a woman picking beans from an urban vegetable garden

My youngest actually said to me this winter, that one of his most favourite memories of our lockdown summer was the garden and how he felt being in it. Now if that isn’t the best gift ever, I don’t know what is.

a little boy holding a carrot just picked out of the garden

Fresh food from spring to fall.

Our garden gave to us from spring until fall.  In spring we enjoyed salads made with fresh lettuce, beet greens, Swiss Chard, spinach, chives, chive blossoms and tomatoes. I made dessert with my rhubarb, and we munched on fresh baby carrots right from the soil.

a top down view of a bowl of fresh beet greens, beans, tomatoes, chive blossoms and swiss chard

Then as the seasons moved along, in summer we enjoyed fresh green beans, celery, herbs, more salads and loads of tomatoes.

a top down view of a bowl of freshly picked celery, tomatoes, beans and flowers

a top down view of a bowl of green beans

Late summer gave us sweet carrots and beets. Loads of flowers and SO many tomatoes.

a top down view of freshly picked green beans, carrots, beets, sunflowers and tomatoes

Then as fall arrived, I harvested everything left in my garden…carrots, beets, potatoes, tomatoes and onions.  We had beets and carrots for months through the winter.

fresh picked carrots, beets, onions and potatoes laying on grass

My plans for my next summer garden.

I learned a lot from my garden…many things I will and won’t do in my next garden. It’s easy to see something that didn’t turn out quite as expected as a failure, but I’m choosing to learn from it.  Here is what I learned.  Zucchini need attention.  While I did get a few zucchini, I did not get as many as I had hoped. And this is because my plants got powdery mildew.  This year I will pay attention to my zucchini more and treat them as soon as I can.

a top down view of a zucchini plant in a metal pot

My potatoes didn’t quite give me the harvest that I had hoped for either.  I used cloth potato bags to grow them, and I will do that again, but this time I will try a different variety of potato…the plants were big and beautiful, but I didn’t get enough spuds.

a top down view of three pots of potato plants and one tomato pot

Other than that I will likely grow the same things this year, and may add a few more varieties to my garden. I’m looking forward to gardening season so much…I can hardly wait to get it planted!  You can follow me along on Instagram to see what I’m up to!

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Ideas and inspiration for growing an Urban Vegetable Garden.

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Have an inspired day!

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