A lot of people go out and buy new plants every year. This is something I want to avoid. Not only does it take extra money, but also extra time (two things I’m not exactly rolling in). So for the last few years I’ve been trying to create a low maintenance, but useful and enjoyable garden. After some experiments (and dead plants), I’ve had some success. This is still a work in progress, but here’s what I have so far..
Mint: This grows like a weed and comes back even after the winter. It even managed to survive being mostly eaten by something that obviously grew wings and flew off (to terrorize various other villages presumably). Even better, this plant does nicely in the shady nooks I have!
Strawberries: These do extremely well. Mine haven’t borne much fruit yet, but I suspect they lack sufficient pollination, so next year I will try pollinating them myself.
Arugula/rocket: This one took me by complete surprise. Thought I’d try it, since Arugula has such a nice flavor, but the plants went to seed quickly, very quickly. I realized then that this is one of the tricks to having a garden that costs little money, re-seeding. See most people who plant Arugula promptly harvest the leaves for salad. If you’re patient and grow one crop (or even half a crop, even one plant) for seeds, you won’t ever have to buy Arugula again. I will try planting some of the seeds I’ve harvested next year, but I’ll also let the plants die and drop the remaining seeds, and see what comes up by itself.
Baby Broccoli: Haven’t a clue about this stuff, just came across it in my local garden shop, saw it liked sun and had a good spot for it. Like the Arugula it has gone to seed wonderfully! Will try planting this again next year.
Greek Oregano: This has done well too, very hardy. It’s flowering now, so fingers crossed it will seed as well. Will see how it weathers the winter.
Plum tree: This is my little bit of luck, got this for cheap at a discount store (got a peach as well, but that was ravaged to death by the local kids). It has done so well! Every year I get some fruit (not a lot yet, since it’s still a baby, but enough to be satisfying), with minimal work. I know I’ve had the best of luck though, as evidenced by Tilly’s post on their plum trees here. I might have to cover it one of these years when the frost hits early.
Morning glories: File this under the inedible list, and in fact I didn’t even plant these, the former tenant did, and they just keep coming back, and coming back. Even though they’re taking over my garden (gotta watch them, they try to choke the other plants too, have to unwind them and give them something else to climb), there are benefits. For one thing they’re beautiful, and hardy, and better yet, they’re extra variety to attract the bees.You can read more about supporting the bee population here. Although the bees seem more interested in the clover that’s dotting the communal grass area…
Irises: If you’re looking a low maintenance pop of color in your beds, this is perfect! I personally love irises, they’re just so gorgeous and come in so many different surprising colors. The only word of warning on this one is that the roots tend to over crowd, so it’s good to dig them up ever two or three years and either give away, or discard the extra roots.
This year I’m experimenting with-
Radishes: This is from fridge to garden food, bought a bag for ninety nine cents, a few started sprouting before I could eat them, so I popped them in the ground. I’ll let them seed and see what we can do next year.
Parsley: This looks like a good indoor herb. Nice and simple.
And a few plants that haven’t come up yet…
So we’ll see how it all turns up!
What are your experiences with planting in limited space, with a limited budget?