Up On Deck.
I’ve been growing herbs along with a few other pretty little things up on this narrow patio for the last three years. Mint, rosemary, oregano, basil as well as many others have lined the railing. Soaking up the sunshine, they’ve grown terrifically. Happy and dry here under the eves. Last year I added even more to this covered, 2nd storey patio. Replacing the flower baskets with tumbler tomatoes, we instantly increased our crop production. We blended flowers and vegetables on a narrow and previously little used space. With the help of the kids tending and harvesting, it’s become a thriving garden and a wonderful family project!
This year after a hugely successful run with seeds, our little garden boasts over 35 tomato plants! We are growing three main varieties: gardener’s delight, gold nugget and heirloom black cherry tomatoes. All of which bear small fruit and are easy for the kids to pick and handle. I am a firm believer that cherry tomatoes are a gateway vegetable. Fresh plucked peas rallying a close second. In our garden, grazing is highly encouraged!
This spring my tables are stuffed with containers of all sizes. We had hit capacity. We needed more growing space. So we’ve expanded once again with the introduction of our Home Harvest Farms 3 tiered garden.
What I love about the HHF system is that I am able to better use my space. Growing from three levels I can maximize my sunny locations while still allowing the plants enough separation to keep good air circulation and movement through out the planter. All of this accomplished while taking up less square footage!
What’s Growing in the HHF?
Gardener’s Delight tomato – Gold Nugget tomato – Heirloom Black Cherry tomato – Borage – Nasturtiums – Green Arrow peas – Swiss Chard ‘Bright Lights’ – Tri-Coloured Sage – Cilantro – Alyssum – Red Sails lettuce – Salad Bowl lettuce
I started this garden early in the spring from seed. All except the Sage were grown inside on a window sill or direct sown into the HHF. I kept it protected with a clear plastic cover. Giving it some extra shelter from the wicked cold and winds that often come with our wet west coast spring. The cover came off after the May long weekend, the official start of the gardening season here in the Lower Mainland. The plants came out happy and bursting with enthusiasm! In fact we’ve already begun harvesting. Lettuce and cilantro have both yielded excellent crops this spring, and are still going strong! I haven’t had to buy lettuce from the grocery store in weeks!
The Good the Bad & the Simply Brilliant!
Thus far I am very happy with my planting success. Having built the planter, sown seeds, and now reaping their bounty we are witnessing the first of the HHF plants going through their life cycle. After the peas form, and then are harvested, and as the lettuce reduces we will be planting more tomato plants and possibly a few other things into the empty spots. I would love to get a cucumber in here!
The benefit to intensive planting like this is a larger harvest and a garden that keeps going until fall. The soil will require regular rejuvenation. To take care of that, I fertilize the heavy feeders weekly with an organic fertilizer that also has a slow release component. I also add a light top dressing of sea soil when harvesting and planting. This will keep everything in balance and happy.
Living under the overhang this covered garden will dry out, so we must stay on top of the watering. I’m sure my neighbor’s scratch their heads a little when it’s been raining for a week and I’m still out with my watering can. 🙂 Oh well. It’s a small price that comes with a huge payout!
Despite my extra watering woes this garden has excellent drainage. There’s even a tube to direct excess water off the side of my patio where it drains into a garden below. So even if this planter were open to the elements it would have none of the water logged issues of many other planters. No mess, no fuss. Brilliant!
Be sure to check back in the weeks to come to see what else I’ve been harvesting from the HHF garden!
**Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. The terraced planter is currently on loan to me for trials and testing.**