People have many reasons for not starting a garden at their home:
I don’t have time.
I don’t have a green thumb.
I don’t know where to begin.
I don’t have space.
An enormous garden plot is not required to get fruits and vegetables fresh out of your own yard! On the contrary, I much prefer to let my property’s general landscaping work for me. Walking around my yard, you will find various corners of plants that people will often never even know are my kitchen workhorses unless I tell them. Many of you might plant various herbs as ground cover or accents like creeping thyme and lavender. But don’t stop there!
One of my favorite areas in my backyard is my corner of giant squash plants. They ended up in their space by sheer accident because I had no room for them in my garden. Squash like their space, for the air to be flowing around them and they will certainly bloom where planted! If I had stuck these in my garden, they would have blocked out many of my other plants.
These four squash pants, two yellow and two zucchini, were started from seeds I put straight into the ground and now all measure about four feet in diameter. I kept the soil constantly moist until they were well established. After that, moderate watering (when there is not enough rain), keeping an eye out for squash bugs, and watching for blossom rot are all you need for squash success! The bugs can be picked off by hand but I do have to occasionally treat the plants while they are small to keep the bugs out of the base stems of the plants. Blossom rot is easily avoided by pulling the squash blossoms off the fruit once they start to develop.
Yes, when you landscape with edibles, most often they are those that need to be planted each year, either via seeds or small plants purchased at nurseries. This means they will die back at the end of the season and you will need to clean the plants out of the yard and have an empty space left. However, this is no different than any other annual you might choose to plant each year. If you mix these edibles in with other evergreens and perennials, there will be plenty of plants left to keep your yard looking beautiful year round. My squash are flanked by several hydrangea that are still young, but once they fill in over the next couple years, there will be plenty to disguise my gardening area. Also, I have never had issues with rabbits, deer, or other animals messing with my squash plants, so they are a great option that don’t need to be enclosed behind a wire fence to keep pests out.
My four squash plants each produce a few fruits every couple of days. I would say we are at the height of our season, and this is a great representation of my harvest – about three days worth of squash.
Not too shabby! And one less thing to purchase at the grocery store! Of course, that means it’s time to start doing some food and freezer prep! Stay tuned for my favorite squash recipe – Paleo Balls and how I deal with preserving my abundant harvest!