Backyard Garden 2015

Backyard Garden 2015

This spring I found myself with both the time and land needed to plant a backyard garden. With a toddler around, a baby on the way, law school around the corner and a 30′ x 25′ back yard I didn’t have much time or land. But enough of both that determination and ingenuity could bridge the gap.

I wanted to have a good jump things since I’d be starting law school in August, so I started my seeds indoors in late February. I watched the weather closely and on the first weekend of April decided that the frost risk was low enough to start moving things out doors.

It wasn’t much to look at in the beginning, but I knew with some hard work it could become out backyard garden oasis. Since we’re renting and the backyard doesn’t drain well I decided a container garden was the best route. After several iterations of transplanting and a few wood working projects, the base was laid. I put all of the containers on 12″ pavers to help with drainage.

Things were growing great, but there’s always room for improvement. When the annuals, mulch, and edge pavers went on sale at my local big box home improvement warehouse I was inspired to spruce up the herb garden area.

The patio was starting to get cluttered with extra plants, they needed to go somewhere. So I picked up some more pavers and moved some of them out between my tomato pots.

You may have noticed that the backyard fauna consisted of far more weed than grass. With so much effort going into our garden, I decided actual yard could use some work too. It was bad enough that starting a new lawn seemed from scratch would be better than trying to overseed. So with the aid of my little helper Bruce, we poisoned the weeds, broke the dirt, brought in new topsoil and sewed new grass seed.

I wasn’t prepared for how addictive it would be. It’s like every week the store gets new plants. Every salad and cup of fresh herb tea made me more excited about the possibility. So I ended up building some planters and expanding outside the backyard to have room for blueberries (the straw bale there has pumpkins in it).

Then I started seeing articles about a new, or at least resurgent, technique that’s great for backyard gardens, straw bale gardening. And I just had to try it. In the photo above you can see a straw bale near the corner of the garage, we’re going to see how pumpkins do in it. I also added a row of strawbales behind my bean bush and cucurbit pots.

The grass is finally coming in and almost everything is flowering, if not already bearing fruit (well, vegetables.. but you know). The only ones lagging behind are the new plantings of pumpkin, watermelon and honey dew. So two months after I started planting, here is where we are with our backyard garden oasis!

The current crop list is as such:


  • Zucchini (2)
  • Yellow Straightneck Squash (1)
  • Bush Beans (11)
  • Cucumber (3)
  • Watermelon (1)
  • Honey Dew (2)
  • Ichiban Eggplant (1)
  • Black Beauty Eggplant (1)
  • Bell Peppers (Orange 1, Red 1, Yellow 1, Lunch Box Orange 1)
  • Golden Cayenne Pepper (1)
  • Santa Fe Grande Pepper (1)
  • Tomatoes (Roma 2, Cherry 2, Slicing 2)
  • Pumpkin (Giant 1, Pie 1)
  • Broccoli (2)


  • Blueberries (4)
  • Blackberries (1)
  • Strawberries (21)


  • Buttercrunch Lettuce (7)
  • Red Romaine Lettuce (7)
  • Bright Lights Swiss Chard (11)
  • Spinach (9)
  • Arugula (4)
  • Cabbage (1)


  • Sweet Basil
  • Purple Basil
  • Bee Balm
  • Lemon Balm
  • Oregano
  • Pineapple Sage
  • German Thyme
  • Mint (sweet, peppermint, spearmint and chocolate)
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley (flat and curled)
  • Rosemary