Question: What Can I Grow in a Small Sub-Tropical Back Yard?
The answer: Way more than you might think possible! All it takes is a little planning and some research on how big plants will grow.
Here is what I’m growing in my back yard in Northern Rivers, NSW, Australia! Below is a picture of my back yard garden that includes three raised garden beds. One is a herb garden and the other two are for veggies. As you can see the two veggie gardens have been mulched (after fertilizing) and are ready for planting out with summer vegetables. Also: in a cooler climate many of these plants can be grown in pots and taken inside during the winter.
I plant my strawberries in pots as they tend to spread prolifically and take over if planted in a garden bed. Of course planting in a garden bed is fine if you want heaps of strawberries. I mulch my strawberries with pine needles to create a more acidic environment that strawberries like. As the runners grow off the mother plant they can be placed in the new pots and they will grow and fill the pot. This can be endless, depending on how many pots you can fit in your yard.
I love my herb garden. It contains tulsi, echinacea, aloe, gota kola, basil, dandalion and oregano. In the pots nearby I have parsley, peppermint and mint. I use all my herbs for tea. I select two or three varieties each night to sip on after dinner. Lavendar, roses and a small teatree bush grow in the garden bed by the peppermint.
I utilise my fences. A abundant grape vine grows along one fence and a passionfruit along another. The grape vine clings onto the rosemary and camellia bushes for support which seems to work well as I’m running out of fence. Each year the grape vine comes back stronger, bigger and with more fruit.
I keep the loquat tree pruned back and it now produces lots of fruit. It is such a beautiful tree. Next to the loquat tree I have three baby blueberry bushes and a lemon balm in a pot (which makes a wonderful, flavoured tea). Unfortunately the grasshoppers like my lemonbalm as much as I do.
I have a dwarf avocado, dwarf mulberry and lemon verbena in pots next to one of the raised garden beds. The avocado and mulberry are small now but will eventually produce abundant fruit. I make sure I fertilise all pots at least twice a year. One of my favourite teas is lemon verbena. Lemon verbena is easy to grow, and although the bush dies back somewhat during winter, it comes back in full force at the beginning the summer. Reminder: Avocados do not like “wet feet”, therefore they need to be in a good size pot with large holes so that the soil will drain well.
I have a lemonaid tree next to a curry leave tree. I keep both pruned back so they don’t take up too much room. The lemonaid is prolific and always loaded with fruit. Next to the curry leaf is a pot with tumeric. Tumeric is so easy to grow and the rhizomes (roots) can be harvested and grated into food…great for arthritis and other ailments. As long as a small amount of rhizome is left in the pot, the plant will sprout again the next summer. Turmeric is related to ginger, and like ginger is a beautiful plant that will produce a white flower similar to the ginger plant.
Last but not least is my papaya. I have three papaya trees and they brighten up a yard while producing wonderful fruit.