Small Productive Gardens – How to produce lots of veg in your back yard

Last Saturday I went along to this course Small productive gardens – How to produce lots of veg in your back yard by Wade Muggleton and was truly inspired by it.

Wade had loads of ideas for getting the most out of a back garden.  Previous 1970s Good Life type Grow Your Own projects were focussed on the principle of having an acre or so of land (my parents tried this in the early 80s on a 4 acre small holding inspired by John Seymour).  This course showed us how you can really get a lot out of the typical Birmingham back garden.

Wade’s garden is a modest terraced house back garden, typical of the size of garden in Birmingham.  He really makes the most out of his space with raised beds, chickens, a small lawn and an orchard squeezed in.  He also makes good use out of the front garden by growing his potatoes and other veg there.

small veg patch

He got us thinking about what fruit and veg we eat in a typical week and what those items cost in the shops to help us decide what we wanted to grow.  Salad is surprisingly expensive but one of the cheapest and highest yielding crops that can be grown with little effort and not much space.  They don’t even need lots of sunshine, in fact a cooler summer can be better as they won’t be as eager to flower and bolt.

He had lots of ideas on using recycled materials and has a greenhouse raised bed utilising a corner shower cubicle.  Genius!

The day after the course I was really inspired with ideas for my own garden.  I started to think about how I can utilise the growing space in my front garden (which is north facing) and I am now growing some salad crops, mint, lemon balm and a potted black currant bush at the front of the house.  I also plan to sow some rocket, chard and mizuna in containers in my front garden but those are jobs for another day.

Claire Benson, Volunteer and Blogger at Urban Veg