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In My Garden: Becke and Paul Boyer

Anne Evans Anne Evans
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Becke and Paul Boyer have turned their backyard into a wonderful space that yields lots of food. They love having such a variety of foods available from their own yard. Some of the things they are growing include: raspberries, blueberries, black raspberries, blackberries, mulberries, strawberries, melons, zucchini, sweet corn, tomatoes, many herbs, swiss chard, carrots, squash, grapes, radishes, turnips, peppers, eggplants, collard greens and plans to add more in the coming years. This season they added a whole new area to their garden in a spot near their house where grass wasn’t growing very well. Now it produces lots of food! Keep reading to check out photos of their great garden space.

They have always had lots of herbs growing in containers. They fill in some of the space on their back deck. Also in containers are Sungold tomatoes. These are tiny tomatoes that boast a huge burst of flavor. Their pretty yellow color also makes them decorative. Becke was worried she wouldn’t be able to find them this year, but found some at the Clintonville Farmer’s Market.

The spot of grass that wasn’t growing well was on the south facing side of their house. They decided to invest in making it a Square Foot Gardening area. They have four plots that are 4′ by 4′ and one plot that is 3′ by 3′. The plots are 6″ deep and have a weed barrier on the bottom that drastically cuts down the time spent weeding the garden. The overall investment in this area was about $500, but it is one time and the plots are yielding great harvests.

The 4′ plots are divided into 16 squares. In the first one, the Boyers have planted 16 radishes, 16 turnips, 1 eggplant, swiss chard, sweet corn, green beans, carrots, midget cantaloups, green onions and collard greens. The plot is doing great, but the collard greens were taken over by aphids and had to be removed. Besides that and spinach not really growing, they haven’t faced any issues with their garden this year.

Another plot contains eight tomato plants and they have completely taken over the area and then some.

Another plot contains pattypan squash that is supported with a trellis, cucumbers, lots of zucchini and poblano peppers. Next year they would like to plant even more zucchini – it is doing really well and they use it in a lot of different dishes.

The final larger plot is filled with strawberries. They planted several different varieties so they will ripen in June, June and September and some that ripen all season long.

The Boyers like to use seeds and seedlings to get their garden going. They have found things at different Farmer’s Markets, The Andersons, Sutherlands and Carfangas.

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  • Manatee

    Nice! Looks like you are making your own little farmer’s market right in the backyard!

  • Thanks for the nice writeup, Anne! I enjoyed giving you guys the tour, and Desi seemed to really enjoy those tomatoes!

  • Very nice garden! This is my first summer using the Square Foot Gardening method, made famous by Mel Bartholomew, and I too would swear by it. Some plants still might be better in rows, but on a whole, the square foot method works very well.

    Question: Did you buy or build your raised beds? I built mine, but I’m looking to expand on them in the fall and next spring and looking into what options I have. You can read the trials and travails of it here.

  • We built the raised beds using 1’x6″ non-treated pine boards which were then painted with an exterior black paint to make them last a bit longer. They don’t look that tall because there’s 2″ of river rock laid down around them.

    There have definitely been some lessons learned this year (I’ve been doing it chemical free, so more than a few, actually). First is that I need to give the tomatoes more space (like 4-6 in the 16 square space instead of as many are there, and I need to use cages or stake them better. Right now, it’s just a jumble of tomato plants where I just reach in and pick if I happen to see something the color of a tomato.

    And next year, I’m buying ladybugs to help keep other pests away. Or eucalyptus oil. I was really disappointed to lose those collards. Eventually, I want to expand the space to grow in a much larger portion of my backyard. With the current setup, I get at least a CSA’s worth of veggies every week, if not more.

    I’m lucky enough to have had my mom’s boyfriend Joe to do the lion’s share of the work of getting it all together. Don’t know if I could have done all that heavy lifting myself.

  • dru

    i am curious about the trellis with the pattypan squash.  our white pattypan is coming in great, but of course the plants are taking over 1/3 of the plot.  Is the trellis strong enough to hold the weight of the plants when the squash blossom?  Did you have to tie it to the trellis as it grows, or does it naturally climb.  I might try this method next year. 

  • The squash isn’t actually trellised – the pickles and cucumbers are. I sort of have the squash overflowing forward and over the side of the corner that they are in – squash does best in hills, and the fact that it’s a raised bed mimics a hill enough for it to work. In front of the squash, we have peppers, which raise far enough above the squash leaves to not cause a problem – the height differential works for some reason.

    I do have my muskmelons on a trellis, though – but the melons are starting to get weighty enough at this point that I’m going to be making little hammocks with old t-shirt material which I’ll be attaching to the trellis – the vine, however, once trained upward, will automatically grow in that direction and attach itself to the trellis.

  • chrisgillespie

    That is one heck of a nice garden.  Especially love the first photo that really shows off the intensive planting.  Nice job!

  • whoops, sorry for the trellis confusion!

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