We live in an older neighborhood not far from downtown: old Victorian homes, narrow streets, parks, big trees – lovely, really. Neighborhoods near us are similar, but many don’t have yards. We are lucky. Most homes near our downtown were built in an era when garages weren’t necessary and yards were just work. Only one block away from mine, large houses overlook a gorgeous ravine, but have no place to shelter the cars. My block doesn’t have a prestigious address, but it offers great neighbors, 2-car garages, and room to grow tomatoes.
I feel very lucky to have the space we do. True big city dwellers might have a balcony if they’re lucky, and it may or may not get sun. With a little square foot style gardening and a small section of rhubarb, we get a remarkable yield from our downtown piece of land.
In my own little corner, in my own little yard, we compost, use rain barrel water, grow tomatoes, herbs, and more. I always feel a little down in the fall as I bring the pots inside and start piling leaves on top of the garden plot. It’s a bittersweet time: lovely, colorful trees surrounding dying tomato plants and zucchini vines, picking tiny beans that never got enough warmth to fully mature.
This is the time I begin looking ahead. If my ankle heals sufficiently, I’ll spread compost on the new plot to help prepare it for spring. I’ll pull the boards that make the walkways and set them aside. Eventually I’ll drain both rain barrels and turn them upside down to avoid freezing and cracking.
Yes, small city and small yard, it’s a good place for growing. We do a lot on our small plot. Winter’s coming, but I still feel that life is good.