You don’t need a garden to grow veggies.
My space is a concrete staircase leading to the entrance of my basement apartment. There is no soil but a guardrail and a fence separating from the main house front lawn as well as a small ledge. The solution for my space is container gardening.
As mentioned in the title, it is facing north east so the sun is only directly present in the morning therefore I play with the different level of steps so all plant can benefit from the sun.
I was quite lucky to easily source free containers as, here in Toronto, people leave their unwanted items on the pavement. What is useless for some can be useful for others. And since we are is a lovely residential neighbourhood, we walk around a lot (rather than taking public transport) so we came across a few plant pots, large & small and other zero waste options. I also use for the larger plants a few 10+ kg empty bulk food grade plastic containers I collected from my food Coop.
Fertilizer, yes. Chemicals, no way!
The first year, there was a cost since I had to fill in the buckets with soil. My trick to revive the soil is to top it with the fallen leaves from autumn as well as some newspaper and let the snow do the rest throughout the winter. In addition I experiment with natural fertilizers to nourish the soil at the time of planting and during the growing period. Whenever we eat hard boiled eggs, I keep the shells, dry them and reduce them into powder. Before planting, I put a good layer of crushed egg shells at the bottom of the hole. I usually top up several time when the plants are requiring additional calcium and nutrients. Hair and coffee work well too.
My food coop has a large vermicomposting bin and they share the produced compost with its members. Depending on the plants and the needs at the time, I either add some directly to the soil or make a nutritious “tea” with it.
This season, I plan to experiment with seaweed tea. I was given a rather large bag of Dulce from New Brunswick and we probably won’t be able to use it all in the kitchen.
Researching the companion plants is certainly not a waste of time. Toby Hemenway’s book Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture is offering many options and I intent to apply some of the techniques to my small urban jungle.
The furry monsters of the neighborhood.
Our biggest challenge is the high population of squirrel thieves. They ate (and wasted!) quite a few fruits/veg last year and I am not sure yet of how to repel them efficiently. I read about a Chili tea and will try that. I simply hope I won’t forget to wash my strawberries before eating them because I don’t think Chili strawberries is really a thing.
It is true that I face limitation since I am only a tenant in the city with no big space but I feel very lucky that my landlords are encouraging my green adventures.