After a surprisingly successful gardening attempt last year, we’ve really expanded our ambitions this year. We have a small city lot without much space for a garden, but we’ve managed to garden on a few smaller plots. First, we converted a flower bed in the backyard into an herb and vegetable garden. Then, after removing some large cypress trees that were too close to the house, we decided to convert their vacated spaces into two mid-sized plots, which the trees had transformed from clay into rich soil!

In the fall, we got a giant load of leaves from the city and used them to build some fruit tree guilds and a wildflower patch. With plenty of leaves left over, I expanded the garden beds and covered them with a thick layer of leaves, mixed with some compost and manure — talk about building it up! I also set up a pallet compost bin which has been hungrily digesting leaves, grass clippings, and kitchen scraps. We’ve been using the partially cured compost as mulch in the gardens, letting it finish curing in place.

This season, we’re growing Asian sticky corn from seeds we saved (my wife’s favorite childhood snack, and baby loves it too), and lots of tomatoes, peas, and cucumbers (things we all enjoy eating straight from the garden). We’re trying summer squash and zucchini (mostly in containers due to space constraints), despite difficulties with mildew last year. Finally, we have a few okra plants going, which is entirely new to us.

-Toban Weibe