Monday, September 29, 2008

Fresh tomatoes!

I know that many tenants either don't have land for gardening or have limited ability to add gardens to their yards. If you can negotiate a lease that gives you responsibility for landscaping, go for it. Most landlords will probably be happy if they don't have to worry about mowing the lawn or shoveling snow. And, let's face it, a vegetable garden looks better than weeds.

When I moved in, there were six-foot-high weeds in the back yard. This year, the goal was modest, a small patch down one side of the yard, in which to grow a few tomatoes, some lettuce and chard, and some carrots. It's gone well. The large tomatoes haven't begun to ripen yet, but the three smaller tomato plants have been producing lots of delicious fruit. The picture above shows what I picked this morning. To put this in context, I last picked the ripe fruit about four days ago.

Lately, I've seen some great ways for tenants to garden. One nearby house has three old cooking oil buckets as tomato pots. They sit on a narrow concrete barrier on the edge of the driveway. They're stable and don't interfere with the lawn (some landlords won't let you pull up the turf).

Pots and window boxes are great for many smaller plants, such as radishes, lettuce, beets, even blueberries. Some vines can grow from relatively shallow soil or very narrow strips of exposed soil, too. So you could grow zucchini or cucumbers up your front porch railing or a trellis by the side of your house, without having to dig anything up.

If you've used innovative techniques to garden your rental property, let me know down in the comments section. I'm always looking for new ideas.


Anonymous said...

I'm an owner but I got some good results with container gardening: hot peppers! If you stress the plants when the fruit starts to form (say by not watering...) the peppers get much hotter. I had 3 jalapeno plants in one twelve-inch clay pot. The resulting peppers were the same size at you get in groceries, but according to friends were much hotter. I picked them green (tres chaud) and let others ripen to red (less hot but still tangy).

Craig Saunders said...

So maybe I should keep my hot peppers as container plants, then. I got a few peppers this year, though not as many as I'll want over the winter (they dry really nicely).

How on earth did you manage to stress them with all the rain we had this summer?

Anonymous said...

Oh, this was years ago. I haven't tried them in pots since then.