Rita's Washington Garden
Across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon, is Vancouver Washington. In the mild climate the yards and gardens are an explosion of color. Flowers and vegetables often grow side by side, not just in the backyard, but often in the front yards or on the sides of the houses. With abundant rain and intermittent sun everything thrives.
Here Rita Islam and her husband tend a backyard garden with profuse flowers, shrubbery, fruit, ornamental, and shade trees, and vegetables tucked into unusual places.
The front yard of the Islam home is dedicated to flowers, but around the corner on the west side is a little Eden of vegetable, herbs, and fruit trees. This is the largest garden space in this productive yard. It is tucked between fruit trees and the house with a gravel path running the length to the backyard. The harvest is enough to make jams and jellies as well as dried herbs and frozen veggies for the mild winter.
Here chives and onions grow beside basil, broccoli, cabbage, marigolds, and lettuce. In each garden space, when one veggie is harvested, another is planted.
Are chickens, of course! Chickens can be an important item in the backyard garden. They provide excellent fertilizer for the plants. They can be fed on scraps, so much of the mulch goes back in the pen. They are often seen patrolling the yard, looking for grasshoppers to eat. Each city has its own rules about chickens. Vancouver only allows 3 hens, but that is enough.
And vegetables, tucked in here and there. There are no large in-ground gardens here, just raised beds, containers, and small spaces.
There are tomatoes planted in an alcove---
and in a large hot frame.
Vining plants such as squash, pumpkin, cucumber, melons can be scattered around wherever there is room for the plants to spread. These are tucked into little circles of rocks and behind other plants in the side garden.
The raised bed above seems to be last years garden with perennials and reseeded plants. Two stalks of corn grow in the side bed.
Four tubs, below right, contains lettuce and other spring vegetables. The screen on the ground protected the crops from bunnies and other pests as young sprouts.