3 Small Space Gardening Ideas

Live in an apartment? Or do you live in a house that doesn't have much of a patio? You can still grow tomatoes, vegetables, and aromatic herbs in any small space, such as a balcony, small patio, or even your rooftop! If you can find just a few square feet of space that gets some sunlight, you can grow your own fresh food.

Garden Towers

If you can't spread out... stack up!

This "Stack-a-Pot" option is perfect for the front porch, small patios, or little corners of the house that could use some natural color. Imagine walking over to your very own herb garden to clip some fresh oregano or basil for your special sauce. And when not in use, the pots stack into each other for easy storage.

BUY: Akro-Mils Stack-A-Pot

Earth Box Garden Kits

Although we now live on half an acre, I've come up against a few gardening challenges. Mainly, gophers. I've tried every natural remedy to get those little guys to go away, but they like it here. So I decided to use container gardens to grow my veggies in. There are plenty of options, but the one I've decided on is another great Small Gardening solution: The Earth Box.

Unlike other raised bed gardens and planters, the EarthBox is self-watering, easily moveable and portable, and can be used to grow indoors, as well. So even in areas of the country that aren't as mild year round as San Diego, you can still grow your own leafy greens and root vegetables through the fall and winter months. Earth Boxes also make it easy to garden in urban settings because they're portable and compact and allow you to grow healthy, fresh, organic food where it never grew before.

Another reason I decided on the Earth Box is because it's low-maintenance. (Can I get an AMEN?) The growing system controls soil conditions, and is supposed to at least double the yield of a conventional garden with less fertilizer and less water. With more land comes a higher water bill, if we're not careful. Being able to grow my own veggies while using less water in a concentrated area was a big plus for me.

AND BONUS!!! The gophers can't dig in. :)

Buy the Earth Box Gardening System.

Vertical Gardening with Pallets

I got this great idea from the author of Small Space Container Gardens. It's a really cool way to reuse the trendy pallet (if you can find one before another DIY'er snatches it up), and also a great solution for tiny spaces like an apartment balcony. Veggies, herbs, and flowers are so much nicer to look at than stucco or brick, don't you think? She has so many other great ideas for patio planting. If you're an apartment dweller that is in need of some foliage in your life, you've really got to check her book out.

BUY: Small-Space Container Gardens: Transform Your Balcony, Porch, or Patio with Fruits, Flowers, Foliage, and Herbs

And for more bang for your buck... or rather, to maximize your small garden's nutritional potential, you'll want to grab a copy of this book:

BUY: The Intelligent Gardener: Growing Nutrient Dense Food

Baby Chicks for Farmer Jones

We decided that it would be cool to have farm fresh eggs at home. Not the kind you buy at the store that say "Farm Fresh" but actually fresh from our very own yard. Apparently, I'm not the only one. Recently, there has been a run on chickens in San Diego. The country feed store near our home in The Boonies sells out of them as soon as they put a sign up announcing Laying Hens. They didn't have any when I went by there a couple of weeks back. They did, however, have a ton of baby chicks.

So I decided to bring a bunch home. Six, to be exact.

Here's one on her first day home:

[caption id="attachment_1309" align="aligncenter" width="560"] Miss Cleo[/caption]

Chicken Breeds

You would not believe how many kinds of chickens there are. Thankfully, the Country Feed Store only had three breeds of baby chicks, so that made the picking easy. They did have one of the breeds I wanted, which was the Ameraucan. Our neighbors have those and they have the prettiest goldish brown feathers. they also lay blue-green eggs. I pretty much wanted them so that I can serve Green Eggs & Ham for breakfast.

Would you like them in a box? Would you like them with a fox?

Beside the Ameraucan, they had White Leghorns and Wyndott. The Wyndotts will grow to be black and white speckled and will lay brown eggs. The White Leghorn is the white chicken you see in old Americana posters. Nothing fancy, but kinda cool.

Nesting

We bought a cage for them that they will outgrow in about a month. That gives us a little time to flatten out a spot out in the yard and build a coop and chicken run. We also had to buy hay. Do you know how many different kinds of hay there are? I won't bore you. Just know that if you raise baby chicks, go with the Bermuda hay. We made sure to buy a heat lamp for times when the temperature dips below 65 degrees. We used that for about a week before the heat wave hit. Better safe than sorry, right?

Eating and Pooping

Chicken also like to crap where they eat, so feeders have to hang from the top of the cage in order to avoid such behavior. Unfortunately, I didn't think they'd do that to their water feeder, but they did. I clean that out a few times a day. I found a water dispenser for the chicken coop, so I won't have to do that anymore. When they're not pooping in their water, they're just dropping it right where they are, so we have to clean out the little cage once a week. I use the hay and poopies in my compost.

Dirty birdies.

Right now, they're pretty much being babies. They're just eating, pooping, and sleeping. They start off with mostly fuzz and a few tiny feathers, but they're going to grow very quickly, and their feathers are getting longer. Every day that we watch them running around, pecking for food, and hopping around each other, we can see how fast they are growing. I'm glad I got some video of their first few days home. Wanna see?

Watch this video:

Friends that also have chickens have told me that they have got some serious personalities. They were right. I've been watching them for the last few weeks trying to decide what names I should give them. I've named Miss Cleo (above) and three more of the six chicks. The final two, the Wyndotts are rather bitchy. They stay to themselves most times and do NOT like to be held. I need to come up with some good farm names that hints at that personality.

Any suggestions?