Designing a Courtyard Vegetable Garden
Even a modest corner of the garden can be enough to grow an interesting range of vegetables that will crop well over a long season. Here, cordon tomatoes and runner beans have been trained up the wall and fence to make the best use of the vertical space. Edging the path is a densely sown crop of cut-and-come-again lettuce. Red cabbage and sweet corn will extend the harvest into late summer and early fall, the zucchini in the pot until mid-fall.
The courtyard area should be approximately 12 x 6 feet (4 x 2 m) with fertile and moist, but free-draining, soil. Plant your garden in the corner of the area, keeping it sheltered by a wall or fence, but in full sun.
Types of Plants to Consider
- Tomato ‘Gardener’s Delight’
- Runner bean ‘Liberty’
- Zucchini ‘Burpee’s Golden’
- Sweet corn ‘Swift’
- Lettuce ‘Salad Bowl Mixed’
- Cabbage ‘Marner Early Red’
Planting and Aftercare
Prepare the area by digging in plenty of organic matter, ideally in fall. Buy plug plants or, where there is space under cover, sow tomato, runner bean, red cabbage, and sweet corn seeds in pots, harden them off, and plant out after the risk of frost has passed. Plant tomatoes in a growing bag because they thrive on the rich soil, adding canes for support and pinching out sideshoots as they grow. Give the runner beans wires to climb up. Plant sweet corn in a block to aid pollination, and direct-sow a few lettuce seeds regularly to ensure a continuous crop. Water young plants in, and continue watering and fertilizing regularly those in growing bags.