Vegetables, fruits or flowers? Pretty or practical? Tomatoes or carrots? Big or small? Indoors, outdoors, on a plane, in the rain?

Me? I always like everything different, so when I get seeds, I get the yellow watermelons, the Japanese baby corn, and the purple carrots. I'm a complete novice, but those are all in my plans for next year (As well as better soil and a truckload of deer repellent). I also like to call my garden a farm, despite the lack of livestock or vegetables that make it past the first stages of life. I have a decent size garden, but the soil is a bit... old and pretty bad. How do I fix that? <-- Off-topic, I know

What is the prize of your garden? For me, it's my banana tree! I haven't named him yet, but in the past couple of months he's grown so much bigger!! He's just a baby, but in three years I may have my own supply of tiny bananas.

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We're novice gardeners here, and this is the first year I've ever helped with the planting and upkeep of our plants. We do flowers, mostly, because my dad likes the way they look and the way they smell. Nothing fancy, just some petunias, snapdragons, and verbena. The petunias have really taken off this year and look great.

We decided to experiment with tomatoes for the first time this summer and it's going really well. We have a Big Beef plant (which we named Seymour Tomatoes) and we've gotten 3 off of the vine so far, and easily another dozen on the way. I don't know if that's good or bad for a tomato plant, but I'm pretty pleased. Homegrown tomatoes are so much better than storebought, and ours are organic!
This is a great topic for conversation! Your garden sounds interesting and fun.

At the other N corner of the country, it's been a mixed bag. Our biggest successes this year have been strawberries, cherries, and figs. And currently, eggs (not a "plant" but still a part of our kitchen garden). You have a handsome appearing garden, practical and attractive.

First it's the Petunias. Then it's the tomatoes. Then.... the crazy lady with no lawn, out in the yard in sweatpants and a headscarf! There is no turning back!

You are unusual in growing fruits. They make for great additions to the garden. I envy you a bit, moving to a more citrus-friendly climate. I really shouldn't - we have so much to love about the Pacific NW.

As for my garden style, it's organic, nonlinear, stream-of-consciousness, sensual, economical, experimental, and practical. The garden beds grow in the lawn like blobs, taking over more and more yard, leaving grass paths. There remains some lawn, but less than half of what we started with. I pile on compost, each year getting a couple of truckloads of composted yard waste. Our soil was hard clay/sand, and with 10 years of compost is fluffy and easy to dig. We have about 30 fruit trees, grape vines, and berries. Since most of what we consider 'fruit' is perrenial or grows on permanent plants, these require no digging once established. We mulch with fresh compost. The trees are trimmed to small size, a technique called 'backyard orchard culture'. This allows for extended crop, and losing one doesn't result in losing all. I'm thinking about a discussion topic on backyard orchard culture.

We recycle almost everything plant-based. Leaves get used for mulch. Weeds get fed to the chickens. Chicken bedding gets composted. Some trees branches and bamboo poles are used for structures.

To save space, we grow cucumbers on a tower that was intended for climbing roses. At this time of year, we don't have to bend over to eat cukes. The beans are grown near the house, with string trellises for climbing. They shade the south wall, a bit. The tomatoes are producing a more limited crop than last year, but enough to enjoy. They are also trained upright.

That's a bit about my gardening style. I like to thing of it as sustainable, environmentally friendly, and adaptable. It's messy, and I like it that way. There is always a new discovery around the corner.

I put this in my front yard last week:

It's supported by rebars through the shoes and into the ground - pine mulch to fill out the legs and soil on the top. Pineapple sage planted in the waist, squash seed in the left pocket, and black beans in the right. I've also planted nasturtium seeds in the waist.

My bosses like it so much - I'm going to have to plant up some of them around the garden center.

I love it!  A few ripped knees would give you more room to plant. ;-)  I had to look up where you live, as your house looks like it could be in my neighborhood, with the St. Augustine grass and the oak overhead.  Greetings from your "neighbor" in Gainesville!


And "Howdy!" Right back atcha!


I'm late to this conversation, but I was curious how things went with your garden?

Over the last few years, I've been moving towards edibles.  I pulled up the hedge in front of the house and put in 12 blueberry bushes instead.  Whenever something dies or the grass looks weak, I dig it up and build another raised bed or plant blackberries.  It's a slow process, but it's fun to watch the yard transform from basically ornamentals to edibles.  I still have many hybrid camellias- a gift from the previous owners that fill our yard with pink, white and red flowers in the winter months.

Your post was from a few years ago.  If you are still on AN, I'd be curious to hear how your banana plant is doing.


Not terribly great, and I moved away for college. My banana tree is still alive with my parents, pretty big but not growing bananas yet, and I have two dwarf apple trees here that are going well. I managed to grow a few strawberries up until my foster kittens decided the garden plot as a litter box.

For now I have to make due with limited urban space and vegetables that grow upright instead of sprawling.  My intentions in 5-7 years is homesteading with regional organic seeds including those from native plants.  And this all has to live in concert with my chickens and assorted small hoofed animals.  Just a dream for now. 

There are some great ideas for urban gardening- roof tops, balconies, yards.  It's also good practice for your homestead.


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