The No-Acre Homestead has been in a winter lull, but things are stirring, and growing season has never really stopped here. We woke up to some unexpected snow this morning, but the earth has already been warmed by the past few 60+ degree days. There’s no stopping Spring now.
Coolest crocus ever….and in more ways than one! Bursting through the snow, it’s sunny-yellow petals are veined with a unique purple color.
Early last year, we turned an awkward parking space into our vegetable garden. (“Potager“, I would prefer to call it, if I knew for sure how to pronounce it.) Growing vegetables in the shaded, north-facing backyard was always a struggle. The sunny driveway spot was too skinny for opening car doors, and always required juggling vehicles anyway. We decided to rip it up and put in some raised beds.
Our Driveway Garden succeeded beyond our wildest expectations. And, although a vegetable patch like this is not strictly to our local covenants, we received nothing but appreciative curiosity from the neighbors.
I decided to see if I could put it to work year-round.
The famed Driveway Garden at the No-Acre Homestead. Blanketed in snow, but still productive. An unusual use for a parking space, but far more useful to us.
My intention was to have actual cold frames constructed to keep temperature and headroom consistent for the plants. I designed the frames and got the materials. Unfortunately, my coordination weakened just at the wrong time for little projects like this. Plastic sheeting and bricks from the walkway were used for this season, but I plan on taking the time this year to make the cold frames in advance.
Despite the gerry-rigged shelter, the Driveway Garden is still producing food for us.
Red cabbage thrives through winter. It was planted into a raised bed filled with compost. The wire is to keep the neighborhood cat out.
Although I didn’t get around to transplanting two pots of hot peppers (unknown name), I did think to shelter them in the sunniest corner, and insulate them with a pile of dirt. These have been going into our chilis and stir-fries all Winter. Between these and what I intentionally dried in the fall, I hope to have enough hot pepper to take us through next harvest season.
Searingly-hot peppers may be creating their own micro-climate in this corner of the Driveway Garden.
This is the first year I have ever tried to save our own seeds. I did get a bit off-track, and I still don’t have a corner set up to keep seedlings. We’ll see how I do with this experiment in a few weeks, when things sprout (or not). In the meantime, I have garlic and potatoes starting. The garlic ‘could’ have been planted in December. But I didn’t get around to it. It looks like it is happy enough for now. The great part about raised beds is that the dirt has been fluffy all winter. I can go out with a spoon and plant a few cloves whenever I get a spare moment.
The garlic and potatoes seem happy to share a bowl on the windowsill. I plan on planting that garlic any second now…
I am completely in love with the ability to reach out the front door and grab some parsley or lettuce right out of the snow. Just wait til you see my plans for next year!
Buttercrunch lettuce and parsley, ready for picking. They’ve gone all winter without any human intervention under their plastic tent.
Does anyone else do small-space gardening? Sneaky front-yard gardening? What about starting seeds? I’m eager to hear your ideas and experiences!
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