Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Urban Homestead Photo Tour - Part 3, Back Yard, Veggie Garden and Greenhouse

Last but not least, here is the very back part of our .15 of an acre dedicated to the raised veggie beds and greenhouse.  It is also home to our bunny, Charcoal, and a few other fruit trees.  This is the most usable space we have on the property and we're planning to add more raised beds and another smaller greenhouse in time.

Our arbor leading into this part of the garden was made by Ron from Willow branches.  I got the cute animal garden flags at our local Co-Op, and if you're interested in where to buy them I can post the website for the company.

View from the arbor looking toward the greenhouse and raised beds.  My next creative garden project is going to be painting and doing a mosaic on the garden shed you can see on the back right of the picture.  Ron plants and builds and I paint and create!

We currently have about 10 active raised beds.  We added two large beds for raspberries for next year and another for grapes.  Once the garden was cleaned up this year we realized we have room to add two more large raised beds in the front to maximize space.

View from the back of the garden.

View from the left side of the garden facing the greenhouse.

To the left we have a Santa Rosa Plum and beds we're prepping for Raspberry plants.  Charcoal the bunny's cage is in the background. 

This is our squash raised bed with Zucchini, Cucumbers and Crookneck Squash.  The tepee climbing pole is made from bamboo.  Ron is going to do a demo guest post for me on these soon - can't wait!

Trellis Ron just made out of re-purposed redwood.  We plan to grow native grapes on it next season.  The raised beds to the left is where the grapes will be planted.  Our fresh garlic harvest is drying over there currently.  Does that shed need a face lift or what?  Oy vey!

The garlic harvest!  After much research we found out that the best way to preserve garlic is to freeze it.  So, we'll be having a garlic freezing party soon.

Our one and only fig tree, a Desert King.  It produced some fruit last year, but they didn't mature.  Hopefully we'll get some kind of harvest from this tree someday soon!

Our berry bushes - 5 Blueberry bushes and 2 Raspberries, and more to come.  The Raspberries are still in pots because their raised bed isn't finished.  We also have ornamental kale planted in this bed.  

We get a few ripe berries every day, yummy!

Sugar Snap Peas' raised bed.  My favorite thing grown in the garden!  There is nothing like eating these sweet peas right off the vine.

Carrots and Kale.  We have some other Kale starts that are just coming up in another bed.  I put Kale into my green smoothies, so I can never have enough of it. 

More carrots and poppies in between raised beds and my cute butterfly. 

Brussel Sprout greens.  This is our first try at Brussel Sprouts and they are doing really well.  I can't wait until it's time to harvest them! 

Green Onions, Shallots and Carrots.


Potatoes, not sure of the varieties, but we have purple, red and yellow colored ones. 

Lettuce bed

Red and white Bulb Onions and Broccoli

Potting table off the back of the shed.  Thanks to Harriet we now use the sink with a hose and bucket underneath for rinsing.  Ron got both the sink and the table from work for free. 

Our longest project yet, the greenhouse took one full year to complete from start to finish.  We took a lot of breaks, but it was still a very big task.  The framing is made from re-claimed lumber taken from a nunnery, and the large windows were from our remodel.  The other vintage wooden windows we've collected for our "someday greenhouse" over the years.  The door was actually our old front door from the house remodel.  The only new material on the greenhouse was the roofing, and it was given to us.  So, just goes to show you that with some patience and building skills you can have a free greenhouse! 

The main produce we're growing inside of the greenhouse is tomatoes.  We live on the Northern coast of California and most of our tomato crop last year grown in the raised beds were green, very, very sad.  This year we vowed to have a decent tomato crop and it looks hopeful so far. 

We're trying our hand at peppers and watermelons.  These are a total experiment, so we'll see how it goes!  There is no way either of these would grow in our climate without a greenhouse. 

Cilantro and Basil

Loads of blossoms and hopefully nice red tomatoes soon!

Charcoal the bunny:  He was in a very hoppy mood, so this was the best pic I could get of him at the moment.  He's very friendly and produces lots of fertilizer for the garden. 

Our garden kitty Derby with Justin.  He's sitting directly under the Cat Nip plant, which is up in a milk carton high on one of our trellises out of kitty reach. 

He's hard to see, but that's garden kitty #2, Head, pronounced "Heed" with Sarah. 

Last but not least:  The compost!  We have three compost bins all made from pallets which are made from untreated wood.  For our compost we use horse manure, garden clippings, kitchen compost, and soil.  We also make compost tea composed of manure, clippings, and water which we let sit for a few days to a week before fertilizing the soil with it.  I cannot tell you how big of a difference that compost tea makes in the garden.  As Ron says, "We're not growing produce, we're growing soil!"  'Tis very true, I would say the soil is the biggest investment you will ever make in your garden.

I hope you enjoyed my three part urban homestead photo tour!  If you have any questions about methods or materials please feel free to ask.  Until next time, happy urban homesteading!


  1. Gorgeous! I love the greenhouse, so beautiful. And the flags are lovely, will you post the company that makes them?

  2. Thanks! Here is the etsy store for the flags: http://www.etsy.com/people/WindsparrowStudio?ref=ls_profile

  3. glad I found your blog! we're urban homesteaders too & it appears we have a very similar thing growing ;) i look forward to gleaning from you...(note all the puns, they are entirely intentional.)

  4. Welcome Lacey! Glad to meet another like minded urban homesteader. Love the puns! :)