I’ve seen some pretty amazing gardens this year and I want to share some of them with you. The first garden we’ll visit is the Rellaford’s, a young couple, Matt, Mariann and their smart little 2-year old son, Henrie. Matt is a graduate student at NDSU studying agronomy.
The Rellaford’s live on the third floor of a typical Fargo apartment complex. But their garden is anything but typical. They have filled their small apartment patio with plants. They have used a clever variety of containers but most are 5-gallon buckets, a good size for tomatoes and peppers.
For watering, Matt has inserted PVC pipes into the pots. This ensures the water reaches the deeper roots and the surface moisture does not evaporate so quickly.
A Beautiful Balcony
Their garden consists of tomatoes (mostly cherry), peppers (seven varieties!), zucchini and herbs–basil (yeah!), rosemary, mint and oregano. The balcony faces west, and gives the plants plenty of exposure to sunlight. All are in 3.5 or 5 gallon buckets. Matt says he didn’t intend to create such an extensive garden. He started out with just a couple pots but it was so much fun he just kept adding them until his little veranda was filled to overflowing. (That’s an addiction I can relate to.)
Another Bonus: Henrie
Besides seeing such a lush garden in this tiny space, the most delightful part of this garden was watching little Henrie enjoy being a gardener. He has his own little watering can and loves caring for his plants. He also loves picking the fruits (although he hasn’t quite mastered identifying which tomatoes are ripe enough to pick!) And I loved the little chair in the midst of the planters–the perfect place for a little gardener to sit and admire his handiwork.
Matt and Maja say that they love what their garden teaches their son: a respect and responsibility for plants, a sense of wonder at how they grow and ownership of his food. What a wonderful path they are putting their son on!
The Rellaford’s patio garden is a great example of how anyone–even apartment dwellers–can garden and how gardening enriches our environment and our children’s lives. Thank you so much, Matt and Maja for giving me a tour of your garden!