A green space for urban gardeners

Even a small-space garden can produce an edible bounty

DSC00820DSC00894Thursday I harvested the first of my rosalita heirloom tomatoes — one bunch of five perfectly proportioned pink grape gems.

After popping a fruit into my mouth, I noted the flavor was softer and sweeter than the wild cherry tomatoes I’d previously picked. And, by-the-way, I plucked multiple clusters of that heirloom from its plant that day, as well.

While I love the intimacy of my small balcony garden, I must admit to occasionally indulging in some rather big dreams. I fantasize about living sustainably with a garden large enough for a fruit orchard and row after row of vegetables and other edibles.

For now, though, I have to admit I’m proud of the variety of edibles I managed to work into my compact space. Most had to do double duty and contribute to the aesthetic construct as well as provide their tasty bounty.

Besides the three heirloom tomato plants, I have nasturtium (top photo) with its edible flowers and leaves; my jalora jalapeno, which looks a little like a miniature Christmas tree with yellow bulbs; four different types of basil and multiple other herbs; flavorful chives, and my grand experiment — Thai eggplant (second photo).

That translates into numerous salads — from heirloom tomato to caprese to whimsical creations with colorful nasturtium blossoms mixed in; salsas with a kick of jalapeno; pesto, pasta sauces and herb vinaigrettes; seasoned butters and flavored oils, and ethnic-inspired entrees that marry my sole veggie (the eggplant), tomatoes and Thai basil (which I also grew for the first time this year).

And while it’s not exactly living off the land, what happens in this small space is enough to keep the larger dream fertile.


  Jo wrote @

I always think that veggies can look just as beautiful as ornamentals. You’ve done a wonderful job of choosing what to grow. I don’t think we ever have enough space to grow everything we want. Even now that I have my allotment, I could still do with more land.

  Stephanie wrote @

Avis, I like your closing, very well said!

Thank you for those encouraging words that you have dropped in my blog earlier. I appreciate it.

Your garden has really shown me how a small balcony could be transformed into growing edibles and flowers altogether. I totally agree that pleasing aesthetics is important. A beautiful garden would give lasting pleasure for ourselves as well as to others to be inspired to garden 🙂 And I hope one day your dream will come true!

  Miss Daisy wrote @

Very beautiful and healthy looking! My container gardens don’t look half as good as yours!

  ralyjoe wrote @

I really like your blog. It really is interesting and rewarding to see what can be grown in a small place or from a wheelchair!

  City Diggity wrote @

I like your blog, too. And it is fascinating to see how we can adapt our gardens to suit our individual needs. Cheers!

  Dawn/LittleGreenFingers wrote @

You’ve probably had more salads from your balcony than I’ve had from my substantial veg patch. You’re A+ whilst I’m afriad ‘must try harder’ will forever be written on my veg growing report card

  MrBrownThumb @ Chicago Garden wrote @

You know, I think I’m most proud of my little container garden on the back deck that yielded a few good peppers this year. I love my ornamentals, but those peppers really brought a smile to my face this year.

  joeltheurbangardener wrote @

Great job! I am always amazing what I can get from such a small space too. You are an inspiration to urban gardeners everywhere.

  linda wrote @

Hi Avis, I love this post! It truly is amazing what can be grown in a small space. My little veggie bed (about 4′ x 10’ish) isn’t even in full sun and I’ve been so happy with the harvest. With more tomatoes than I could use fresh I’ve made 10 jars of juice and frozen it. Extra jalapenos were pickled, as were 6 jars of cukes (bread and butter pickles.) I’ve chopped and frozen peppers, and blanched and frozen green beans, not to mention all the fresh stuff I’ve enjoyed since May when the first lettuce, radishes, and peas were harvested. I’ve had fresh salads and veggies every day from this small garden since May, fed guests, and given away some tomatoes, and will still be enjoying the harvest this winter.

I’m thrilled to finally once again have a veggie garden, even if it’s smaller than any other veggie bed I’ve ever had and doesn’t really get quite enough sun.

Like Jo said, I don’t think we ever have enough space to grow everything we want! Keep dreaming, and keep growing! One day I hope you’ll have your dream. (I have similar dreams myself. 🙂

  City Diggity wrote @

Your garden packs a lot of bounty per square foot! It proves once again that where there’s a will there’s a way when it comes to gardening.

  Liz wrote @

Brilliant! A great demenonstration of how productive a little space can be!

  Lynne Jordan wrote @

well done!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: