Re: [gardeners] Downsizing Garden

Margaret Lauterbach (
Mon, 23 Nov 1998 07:44:34 -0700

At 08:59 AM 11/23/98 -0600, you wrote:
>    I am new to the Internet, new to the list, and new to our present
>home.  We moved from a 30 acre wooded home with a large garden where we
>raised the usual tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, and other vegetables, but
>we also raised sweet corn, broom corn, watermelon, muskmelons, luffa
>sponges, asparagus, rhubarb, and other garden crops that take more
>space.   We have retired on a two and a half lot residence in the woods
>on the shoreline of Truman Lake in Missouri.  I now have a garden that
>is forty feet, by thirty feet, and is surrounded by railroad ties to
>keep the soil in the garden area.
>    This space is very precious to me, now, and after having topsoil
>delivered for it, I got it tested and have added the recommended humus,
>and nutrients.  I brought my roto tiller from the country home, and will
>get it in this tiny garden this week, to do what I can to till all the
>humus, and the added nutrients into the soil. (It was especially
>deficient of phosphorus.)  I will have to avoid the one corner that is
>planted already with elephant garlic (48 cloves).  I planted them close,
>and there will be only room to grow, so that means weeding by hand, if
>any weeds dare try to grow.
>    I want to get some asparagus and rhubarb, to grow on the outside of
>the framed garden area, and I am making my list and drawing a plan for
>which plants get to grow in the small area. With all the gardening I
>have done through the years, while working full time as a school
>counselor, and working on a doctorate degree, I had never heard of
>heirloom tomatoes.  I guess my eyes never saw them on the pages of the
>seed catalogs.  I see them listed now, and I am sure they must have been
>listed all those years. I plan to try three varieties this next spring,
>along with the usual starter plants I get.  I first heard of "heirloom
>seeds" in the tomato digest list.   I will plan five to seven tomato
>cages, and will grow Kentucky wonder beans on a short, 8 foot section of
>the "tomato cage" type wire fence.
>    If anyone has suggestions for my down sized garden, please post
>ideas for me.
>Thank you.
Welcome, Marguerite.  I hope your railroad ties are sufficiently old that
any toxins have already leached out of them.  You can grow a lot of things
in that small area, especially if you train vining crops to climb (train
them by tying them to a scaffold with pantyhose, etc.).  Plan to succession
plant lettuces and any other crops that are suitable.  Chuck Wyatt has well
over 300 heirloom tomatoes in his collection, and sells seeds for $1 per
pack.  You get about as many seeds in a pack as you get from more expensive
commercial sources these days.  To get his complete list, write him at, and ask him to send it (there may be two lists
if he hasn't integrated his new varieties with the old).  It will arrive in
the form of an attachment, and that's an okay attachment to open without
fear of virus.  I hope Kentucky wonder beans suit your taste.  I grew them
once, didn't like them.  Good luck, Margaret