The Great Suburban Farm Experiment: Planting over 100 plants around my backyard

Recently, Chris built me two raised planting beds, but it just didn’t feel like enough.

After we had our fence finally put in, I took a trip with Monkey to pickup just a few hostas. We went to a semi-local farm everyone raves about and I had never been to.

If you know Monkey, he talks constantly and it can be distracting to try to formulate a shopping plan. This trip was no less exciting.


I ended up coming home with two flats of fruit and vegetable plants, a flat of herbs, the hostas, and more! We bought over 100 plants, as each flat contained 32 plants each. It wasn’t a bad price for such a large experiment; around $100 and that included landscaping fabric, mulch, etc.

I didn’t realize what I had done until I started planting and found that I wouldn’t just fill the two beds (I decided to replant them), and a side bed, but I’d fill the entire backyard.

So, I now have 5 experimental spots for vegetable gardening operating all around my backyard. We get weird hours of sunshine around the yard, so this year we’ll see what area grows best. Also, I know it’s late to plant a garden, but it’ll be fun regardless.

I’ll either have an over abundance of food or go hungry! I was inspired by the Sustainable Living Podcast episode Chris had sent to me two days ago. Little did he know, I loved the idea and have been secretly planning more of a farmer’s backyard for awhile now.

The first section I planted mixed tomatoes and pepper plants with marigolds mixed in. This is the first time I’ve ever measured for planting. I’ve been no green thumb in the past, throwing out seeds on sheer hope they grew.

The area here gets around 5-7 hours of sunlight and was previously a row of dying shrubs being choked out by ivy. We laid landscaping paper after Chris dug it all out and then I planted and covered in mulch.

The second section is along my neighbor’s fence. It gets 8-12 hours of sunlight and I chose to plant a few pots of leftovers here. Two are peach trees as well. If this spot works out, we’ll be moving our raised garden beds down in this section.

Along our new fence I decided to try out corn and various squash, pumpkin, and watermelon. I’m not sure this area gets enough sunlight though, so we shall see how they fare.

This section was a mismosh from the lawn being torn up due to the fence installation. Basically, anything I couldn’t fit elsewhere went here. Chris was going to plant grass, but he can do that in the fall. I don’t know if this gets more than 5-6 hours of sun a day.

Whatever grows here I’ll consider a win.

These are the two raised beds. I redid the as they were overgrown with weeds and my seedlings weren’t taking. So far, this is a happy plant and herb space. A mix of tomatoes, peppers, and various herbs and strawberries in pots.

Lastly, this area doesn’t get a ton of sunlight at all. I planted plants that could tolerate a bit of shade, including several varieties of mint in the large pot. They’ll come back time and again and I don’t want them invading my yard.

I might be crazy, but what is life if not one big experiment. My plants have grown well in the Aerogarden, so now it’s time to take my knowledge outdoors.

Here’s a shortlist of plants I’m growing:

  • Tomatoes (several varieties)
  • Peppers (several varieties)
  • Zucchini
  • Pumpkin
  • Acorn Squash
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Corn
  • Mint (Chocolate, Pineapple, Sweet, Peppermint)
  • Garlic
  • Jalapeño
  • Broccoli
  • Dill
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Cilantro
  • Italian Oregano
  • Stevia (Sweet Herb)

In addition, I have marigolds, hostas, and citronella plants going with apple and peach trees. I’d love to add berry bushes next year.

Maybe I bit off more than I could chew or maybe I’ll be sharing tons of produce with family and friends. Here’s to a fun experiment with growing our own food.