From My Urban Backyard "Garden"

When we moved into our rental home almost 2 years ago, my friend who owns the house told me, "I'm sorry, but nothing grows in that backyard."  And I must say, I almost agree with her; and you can see for yourself the sad state of affairs in my backyard "garden"! 

 (container herbs, fruits and ugly bare ground)

It is very shady most of the day in many places, and being surrounded on 3 sides by deciduous trees that cover the soil with layers and layers of leaves (that need more raking than I have energy or patience for) makes growing a challenge; grass or weeds won't even grow back there as you can see in the photos!  

I've resorted to container gardening, all except for my 3 sisters plus one garden in the round that I'll show you soon.  I'm hopeful that I can raise a little patch of purple pole beans, blue mini corn and butternut squash, with a few zinnias thrown in for good measure, in the one reasonably sunny spot I've been eyeing for some time.  I planted it today, and am praying for a bit of rain to get it off to a good start.  The drought conditions here haven't helped garden matters either. 

I have 2 plots in the city community garden where our family grows the bulk of our veggies. Photos of that coming soon, I forgot the camera yesterday and also missed out on a photo of a garden visitor- a turtle that we returned to the nearby creek (one of my girls' favorite spots to play).

More photos ...

 2 Patio tomatoes with basil seeds just sprouting, which are in need of more sun!

containerized comfrey

 Mystery plants growing in the compost bin, squash or melon probably. I can't decide whether to plant them in the garden or just let them continue growing where they are, they seem quite content in the compost!

My makeshift potting bench, which is really just 2 pallets that my hubby tossed out of the shed stacked together ... works for me! The chicken wire is to prevent squirrels from planting pecans in my salad boxes and to keep the kitty from using them as litter boxes! 

Once the tiny seedlings have grown a bit they'll mostly be planted in the community garden, all except for the stinging nettle which will have to be containerized like the comfrey so as not to get me into trouble with the other gardeners.  I was told we are not to plant anything permanent in the community garden, and from what I've read both of these herbs are pretty much invasive, not to mention the stinging that goes along with nettle!  Those are best kept under control in my own backyard, I think. 

The front yard does have more sun, but since it has recently been the gathering spot for the neighborhood kids and also home to a much used basketball goal, I think I'll hold off on digging up that area for just a bit ... though having a dozen neighborhood kids helping with the work  fun is a thought; and makes the term community garden all the more interesting ... we shall see what transpires. 

I'm also pondering some sort of shade-loving, drought-tolerant ground cover ... leaves just aren't cutting it anymore!  Any suggestions?  It must tolerate foot traffic, kitty cats, and well ... leaves! 

How does your garden grow these days? 

Jenny Matlock


  1. We have a container garden too. My son has allergies that keep us inside in the spring. I can bring the containers inside so he can help take care iof the plants.

    Your plants look good.

  2. I don't have a garden sadly but the hanging topsy turvy tomato planter looks pretty easy .

  3. I also don't have a garden since we live in an apartment on the 4th floor. I would love to have one though but then again, I don't have a green thumb and anything I've tried growing in the past all die within weeks of me planting them.... Hopefully, all your hard work will pay off! Can't wait to see the amazing results :)

  4. WE have planted some of our garden, but have gotten so much rain, I don't know if it is going to make it. I can't wait to have some fresh tomatoes :O)

    Have a blessed day!


  5. I love that you're not letting anything deter your desire to garden! You must have true soil under your fingernails!

    I don't know if your area has a County Extension office, but if they do they will have a wealth of information on what grows in your area in all situations.

    I love that you're part of a community garden. I've always wanted to start one, but here in AZ gardening can be pretty tricky AND I'm fortunate enough to have large gardens in the backyard.

    Thanks for a beautiful link.


  6. My backyard garden is something I'm proud of. The front yard, on the other hand, can't even grow grass! This year I gave up and planted a row of shade-loving flowers (begonias). I haven't killed them yet, but its only been two weeks...

  7. your garden is lovely.


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