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For the past couple of years, one of my neighbors has allowed me to use a 20' by 15" / 6m x 35cm strip of land against his garage wall. He had installed hooks on the wall so I've tied string around them as a trellis for peas and beans to climb.

Last year, I grew snow peas against the wall, with basil and parsley in a row to the front of the bed (the parsley is still going strong and I plan to leave it until it bolts). The previous year, I had green beans against the wall so I think I want to stay away from legumes this year.

Other information:

  • The wall faces due West, so it only gets sun for half the day.
  • The soil is quite gravelly, so root crops don't do well (I've tried carrots and radishes with no luck). Otherwise, the soil seems OK; I added some compost to it last year, for what it's worth.
  • I'm in USDA zone 8a.
  • I prefer to plant vegetables so my neighbor can take some to repay him for the use of his wall.

What would be a good crop to grow in that little strip of land?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

If your soil is rich, you might try a few celery plants. Space them out wide, harvest a couple of stalks at a time throughout the season. Between the celery, plant salad crops: start with spinach in early spring, replant to lettuce as you harvest spinach, start chard when you harvest the celery. If you start the lettuce and chard from seed indoors, you can have transplants ready to put in the ground as soon as you harvest the previous crop. Or you can direct-seed, it will just take longer to mature to harvestable size.

Spinach and lettuce mature quickly -- as fast as 40 days from transplanting, possibly less if you're harvesting for "baby salad greens". You can also plant the chard close (3") and then eat the thinnings as baby greens when you thin them to 12" spacing.

If you keep up on the successions, you can have fresh salads until the weather gets really hot. And then when it cools off again towards autumn, you should still have some chard and celery to harvest.

(I thought about recommending cabbage and possibly some other long-season cole crops, but I think a west-facing wall might bake them too much in the summer. Spinach and lettuce mature quickly so you should be able to harvest them before the baking heat starts. I think 15" might be too narrow for tomatoes or bush squash, though you might consider growing cucumbers up your pea trellis.)

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Thanks for your answer. I planted spinach and lettuce seeds at a few different times, but thanks to some terrible March and April weather, I only have a few sprouting. Maybe next year... I'll try some tomatoes (I follow the "no sideshoots" school of tomato growing so they should fit in the space) and cucumbers now that the weather seems to be getting warm enough not to kill them. –  Niall C. May 15 '12 at 3:53

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