Thursday, July 3, 2014

Driveway Vegetable Garden

We moved to our current home in 2009 and immediately inherited a list of improvements that needed to be made. Among them was the driveway. We had it paved and it is now gorgeous, but blacktop, though easily installed and maintained, did not erase the twelve years of gravel that had been plowed into the yard and flower beds. 

I've had trouble getting stuff to grow. There remains some debate about the place I call the end of the driveway. See it there in the distance? Beyond the disinterested shih tzu where the ornamental grasses grow? It wasn't so much the subject of this photo, but I call that area "the end of the driveway" because I believe the driveway begins at the street and ends when you can't go no further.

Others in the house are confused by this description. I mention the "end of the driveway" and no one knows what I'm talking about.

We'll agree to disagree.

At any rate, this end of the driveway flower bed has plagued my gardening efforts for many seasons. I determined some of the perennials that emerged in the spring of 2010 to be worthwhile. Knowing the hot asphalt would be tough on them, I carefully moved each little plant to another flower bed. Summer revealed I'd moved mostly goldenrod. In southwestern PA, goldenrod is a weed.

So that was a little disconcerting.

I moved perennials back after the driveway was done, picked out all the gravel I could see by hand, and filled in with annuals. It looked okay. Winter brought more gravel back to the surface and the following spring it was nearly impossible to dig a hole because of the rocks. Flowers wouldn't grow, but weeds flourished. It didn't look okay. It looked bad and it was frustrating.

Spring 2014 sprang after a long winter of mulling over the fate of the end of the driveway. Last year was a miserable gardening season and it became apparent that my usual growing spaces for tomatoes and other vegetables were not sunny enough. If only I could plant tomatoes at the end of the driveway, that delicious space where the sun shines almost all day.

So this is how the end of the driveway became the site of my brand new vegetable container garden. I've got three varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, basil, and corn. All in pots!

Existing perennials are interspersed because if something is growing against all odds, I'm leaving it alone!

Then, in an ultimate moment of irony, I moved gravel back to the area around the tomatoes. I even added several bags of pea gravel because it occurs to me that I'm never going to get rid of that old driveway. Not without some heavy machinery. This summer, the end of the driveway or the back of the driveway (if that helps you find it) is looking good. Plus these veggies are going to be tasty. I'm calling it a win.

I moved a bunch of leftover gravel from the side of the driveway to make a path to my tomatoes.

Julia started this basil from seed. It will be November before we have big enough plants for pesto, but the little guys are trying.

Burpee's "exclusive" on-deck hybrid sweet corn bred especially to grow in pots.
We have tassels. I expect corn to mature while we're away on vacation. The raccoons will
be happy.

The flowers seem happier now that their neighbors are potted vegetables and not monstrous weeds.

Look at those tomatoes! I think they might even ripen this year!

It's a thing of beauty I tell you. And I need to get out there and weed.