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How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

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How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by Farmfresh on Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:18 am

Several people have asked me to start this section, because many of us are trying to make the most use of the space that we have to work with. I have been city homesteading on a tiny lot for a very long time. I will be happy to share what I have learned with anyone interested.

Remember homesteading is not WHERE you live it is HOW you live!

Some of my neighbors are even trying it too. Very Happy 

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Re: How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by Rohn on Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:30 am

That corn looks good.
We have some corn planted here in the city and yesterday afternoon about 4:00 we had a really bad rain storm where it rained for about an hour very hard and our garden was like a lake. Our corn was laid flat. We have hopes that it will come back up again. After the rain the sun came back out and it was nice again. We have another place where we garden that one of our church people owns. The corn over there is doing good and ears are forming, the storm did not affect it.
I have never seen so much rain in such a short time.
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Re: How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by Farmfresh on Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:51 am

I thought so! That corn was planted by a neighbor of mine just down the street a couple of years ago. If you look closely you can see a tiny twig in the center of each corn circle. Those twigs grew into bush cherries! She said she planted the corn just to protect them from the lawnmower when they were so small. Laughing 

Did you stand your corn back up and bank the roots a bit? If you can do that it usually just keeps on growing.
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Re: How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by Rohn on Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:00 am

I did not do that but will have to see what I can do with it. That garden will be a mud hole, but I might be able to stand it up.
The same thing happened in our other garden while I was away at a Youth Convention, a storm came in while we were away. My friend Dave (the corn is planted at his place) said the corn there was flat but it stood back up by itself. That was a couple weeks ago and it is doing great now.
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Re: How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by Farmfresh on Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:11 am

OK I guess I will jump right on in. I will do my best to answer what you all want to know and if possible I will try to post some personal pics to illustrate. Before you think I live in a garden catalog I will tell you up front that while most of the pictures are of my garden stuff it is NOT from the same year. Some of the pics are old and some are newer. I have been doing this a long time and have lots of pics. Smile 

******
FF can you explain a bit more about how/where you are growing your fruit trees/bushes/vines? - PATRICE IN IL

FF, I would love more info on edible landscaping. That's something I've been working towards for my front yard. So far I have a couple of herb gardens I'm working on, blueberry bushes and a few fruit trees. Anything else you can suggest would be greatly appreciated. - Sonshine

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These were the first things that have been asked so I guess I will start with a bit of background for Patrice.

First of all I live in the KC metro area of Missouri. We are zone 5/6 here. That means on hot years we are a strong zone 6 and then other years we freeze into an icy zone 5. It is a little micro-climate pocket that is formed due to the city pavements and concrete and being surrounded by rivers and large streams. This area will keep you on your toes as a gardener! We regularly hit 102 in the summer around here with HIGH humidity, sometimes up to 95%! Last summer we made 107 and 108 on multiple days. In the winter we still have a lot of humidity and get hard prairie winds. Winter temps go down to -20 (actual) or lower sometimes with wind chill on top of that. Yeah buddy.

I have been small space gardening since I married my hubby in 1981 and we moved to townhouses. It was there that I realized that many people have never actually SEEN a vegetable plant. I ... on a whim... planted three pumpkin seeds just beside the front stoop on that first little apartment. Being a pumpkin it went crazy! It grew over the tops of the standard green apartment shrubs and the vine continued all down the side of that 4 plex apartment. Before long it was covered with blooms. Then folks in the complex started knocking on the door wanting to find out what kind of beautiful EXOTIC I was growing. It was fun to tell them it was a pumpkin!

I have to go to a doctor's appointment now... I will finish the story later. Cool 
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Re: How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by PATRICE IN IL on Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:32 am

FF that had to be funny telling them it was a pumpkin. Smile I bet they were amazed when it set fruit and grew into actual pumpkins. I'll bet you blew their minds when you cooked and ate those pumpkins. LOL

My other question for now is where you purchased your fruit cocktail trees from, locally or mail order?

That's for taking the time to answer questions and tell us about your homesteading experiences.
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Re: How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by Farmfresh on Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:58 am

PATRICE IN IL wrote: I'll bet you blew their minds when you cooked and ate those pumpkins. LOL

Right you are Patrice! What kind of maniac would eat a pumpkin? Laughing 

Basically what I learned from growing that pumpkin was to look at food crops in a different way. Those people thought my plant was beautiful and exotic. When I looked again at the pumpkin vine with its huge yellow orange blossoms I could see they were right!

So for Sonshine this is my best biggest suggestion for edible landscaping. Look at each plant differently.

Does your yard need a tall plant with lots of pretty flowers? Instead of planting a hollyhock why not plant an okra!

Privacy screen? Instead of an ivy why not a grape vine? Instead of an ceder tree why not an espalier fruit tree? Low ground cover on a hillside? Low bush blueberry or cranberry! Instead of a hosta under the trees plant kale or bok choy!

Lots of veggies are very showy. Let them show off! Don't be afraid to plant things in flower beds or boarders, mixed with flowers or alone. I am constantly getting compliments on my front yard and most of the stuff I grow is an edible. Very Happy 

As for the WHERE I buy...

I got my original fruit cocktail tree from Michigan Bulb. It died, but they sent a replacement. It was little and puny, but it did grow!

Fruit cocktail direct gardening

Stark Brothers has MUCH better healthier trees. They also carry multi-graft trees.

multi graft trees

I also have had great luck with Miller Nursery fruit trees

Be careful when you buy fruit trees because many of them require another tree for good pollination.

If your son wants a lot of cherries and doesn't mind having to cook them first Hanson bush cherries are a great producer. I planted one for each of my kids when they were little and we had tons of great cherry jelly and pie. They are so sour you will pucker in half if you try to eat one raw however! Laughing 
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Re: How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by PATRICE IN IL on Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:21 am

The Hanson bush cherry sounds right up his alley, he LOVES sour stuff. Smile

I bought my Braeburn apple tree from Miller Nursery, I'll have to check them out for the fruit cocktail tree.

Would it be possible to take a cutting from an existing grape and root it or start it from seed? My friend has a yummy grape that makes THE BEST jelly and I'd like one like hers. We don't know the variety as it came with the house when she moved in.
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Re: How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by Farmfresh on Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:44 am

I have never done it, but it is VERY possible to root grape cuttings. I have a friend that would know more about it. I will try to ask him how to go about doing it.
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Re: How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by 12acrehome on Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:27 am

I wouldn't be in too much of a hurry to get root cuttings from an unknown variety of anything. Much of what has been sold over the past 30+ years has been grafted. This includes grapes. Look for a swollen area just above the dirt. If the vine emerges from the dirt, swells out then reduces back in size it has been grafted. Try getting some new growth cuttings and using rooting hormone to grow a new plant IF it has been grafted.

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Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

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Re: How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by 12acrehome on Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:29 am

Great job FF, thanks for starting this.

How do you decide where to plant when limited to small areas? On larger properties it's a simple matter of just finding the best conditions.

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Re: How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by Farmfresh on Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:59 am

If it is grafted the main problem might be a weaker root system on the new plant or less disease resistance. The grapes would still taste the same, so I would go for it. Once you got the new plants going you could always graft some of them back onto a better rootstock if you were so inclined.

As far as deciding WHERE to plant, that part is easy! I plant anywhere there is not a house, or a side walk or a driveway or a garage! Laughing

You all on large lots find the best conditions ... we have to create them.

The most important thing to consider is light. Some plants demand full sun. That is the hardest on a small lot. Anything that produces a fruit (The scientific definition of a fruit is anything produced from a blossom that contains seeds. A green bean IS a fruit) requires full sun.

Veggies that are grown for their stalks (celery), leaves (lettuce, kale, collards) or roots (beets, onions, carrots) can often stand a little (or a LOT) of shade.

Learning where the plant originated from and its preferred conditions is also very useful. For example beets came from England. Cool, moist cloudy weather is home sweet home for a beet. Soil conditions are something else to consider. Those blueberries some of you are trying to grow crave an acid soil. Peat moss would be a good additive as well as mulching with oak leaves.

Like a micro climate, in a limited space setting you try to match each plant with it's particular best location. Then you do what you have to do to make that plant happy in the location that you have.

Making any sense?

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Re: How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by 12acrehome on Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:14 am

It does to me.

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Re: How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by PATRICE IN IL on Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:13 am

Makes sense to me too. ;)Thanks for the responses to the grape question, I think I'll see about getting a cutting or two and some rooting hormone. I really like the grapes she has, the jelly was a lovely rosy/lt. purple color and tasted very good, and normally I don't even like grape jelly. Wink

FF you talk about micro climate and that is something I have to figure out here. My property backs up to a field that is mowed short with a farm field behind that. High winds are something I deal with on a regular basis here. The maple tree that was here when I moved in has a really bent trunk from not being staked against the winds.

I try to plant climbing type plants/vines on the back fence to break the wind. In my raised beds I've set up two rows, several rows part, to grow beans and cucumbers on rebar trellises which act as wind breaks for the tomatoes and peppers.
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Re: How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by Rohn on Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:26 pm

This is a good discussion and I am enjoying it. Thanks FF for starting it. I'll be following along.
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Re: How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by CryptidGirl on Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:34 pm

Thanks, FF! I've been wanting to do edible landscaping in our yard for a while. One of our biggest problems are deer. They like to come and eat everything! They have eaten flowers off of the rose bushes and most of the tomato plants. Is there a type of flower or something we could plant around the borders to keep them out of our edibles? Also, we have a French drain system under our front yard. Would planting dwarf fruit trees hurt that?
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Re: How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by Farmfresh on Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:42 pm

Deer shy away from several vegetables.

Tomatoes, potatoes, egg plant and tomatillo should all be totally deer safe. They are all in the night shade family.

If you look on line, deer are deterred by rotten eggs and by dogs. It might make your garden stinky to spread some raw egg around to repel the deer, but you might actually HAVE a garden if you protect it. Using dog feces around - NOT IN - the garden will also help as will tying net bags of dog hair or people hair around in the garden. Some folks also tie bags of a STRONG deodorant soap (Irish Spring) as a deterrent.

A final wild animal deterrent may seem weird, but is well worth trying... Human urine! Capturing your urine and then using it around the garden and even in the garden beds will not only repel wildlife the urine is great for your plants. Human urine is usually sterile ... unless the person is ill. To use it in the garden dilute it with water.
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Re: How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by 12acrehome on Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:13 am

the deer around my place didn't get the memo about not eating tomatoes

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Re: How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by Farmfresh on Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:13 am

Did they eat the plants or the fruit?
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Re: How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by 12acrehome on Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:04 am

both, not the stalks nor stems, but the fruits and all the leaves

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Re: How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by Farmfresh on Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:35 am

Weird. I have never heard of them doing that. Everything I have found says tomatoes and deer are a no go.
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Re: How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by 12acrehome on Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:15 pm

LOL somebody needs to explain that to these deer LOL The plants were too tall for rabbits to do the damage, and deer tracks were all around the remains. Also I had planted 10 pounds of sunflower seeds to feed the birds and squirrels with through the winter. The plants came up, and started forming the large bud that would open into a flower. A couple days after seeing 80% of the plants budded out, I checked and had only stalks. Every one had been nipped off about waist high.

Gotta get more fencing

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Proverbs 28:19  He who works his land will have abundant food...

Genesis 1:29  Then God said,"I give you every seed bearing plant on the face of the whole earth, and every tree that has fruit with seed in it..."

http://christiancountryramblings.com/
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Re: How to Garden Beautifully in a Small Space - homestead farmin' in the city

Post by Farmfresh on Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:06 pm

Yeah and make it electric!
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