How to Get a Mini Garden to Produce Maximum Fruit

4 Materials
24 Months
We have a postage stamp sized yard, but we have more fruit and berries than we can possibly use. We share it with the wildlife, family, and friends. Our store house is full every winter.
We have always enjoyed a bushel of plums for eating and canning. For a mini-garden this means planting a dwarf plum tree. They reproduce without any other trees because the bees self pollinate them. Dwarf plums are a great tree for fruit. They are the first tree to ripen fruit in our yard.
When we purchased the plum tree, it was a stick about a foot tall. This is the third year and we expect some plums this year. Last year it had a few blossoms on it. Notice the tomato cage. We put them up for support on young trees due to the high winds in Wyoming. Later we stake them.
Another trick we learned from farmer friends in Iowa, is to wrap the new trees with plastic. This gives them an edge on warmth when they are young. We kept them wrapped on the tomato cages until they were large enough to be staked like the regular apple tree in the foreground. The picture shoes 2 crab apple trees and a plum tree besides the foreground apple tree. We also fenced off the yard to keep out neighborhood children who meant well, but can damage young fruit trees.
The green barrel next to the house is attached to the gutter and catches water off the roof to water the trees during the dry season. We seldom ever have to water trees from the hose. One thing many people forget is to water new trees in the winter if the day is above freezing and it has not rained or snowed in a week or so. December and January thaw days that are dry, we water from the rain barrel all the trees.
We raised our new cherry bush inside for 2 years.
This was the first spring it grew leaps and bounds inside starting in February. Due to our high plains climate, we did not put it out until all frost was gone in the spring. It was covered in blooms that year!
We planted the cherry bush outside in the fall. They are best planted in fall for best growth. It made it through the winter with lots of mulch and now it is growing new leaves. We were so thrilled to see it did survive our harsh winters.
This was the first time we planted rhubarb. It is growing right next to the chives. It is about time for me to dehydrate the chives. We were thrilled our rhubarb made it through the winter up next to the house on the sunny South side. A week ago it was the size of the smallest leaf you can see. Rhubarb is easy to freeze and save for pies or as a side dish.
We are excited to see we have apple blossoms and fruit beginning on our apple tree. We had apple trees in TN, but this is our first time in Wyoming.
We took the tomato cages off our crab apple trees last summer and staked them on three sides to brace them from the wind. There is one black rod and two wooden stakes holding it with an old soft hose on the wire so the wire does not bruise or damage the bark.
Here is a crab apple tree inside the tomato cage with the plastic wrap and it is beginning to leaf out. It was leafing early due to the warmth and protection in the cage.
This is the same tree after it grew all summer. We removed the cage and plastic cover after the end of the 2nd year and it went through the winter with 3 stakes (one rod and 2 wooden stakes) to protect it from the wind. Notice the old soft hose sections we cut for the wire to go around the tree. It protects the tender bark from wire damage as the wind blows and it moves a little.
Besides fruit trees and berries we grow potted vegetables on our deck. Here is a bell pepper. If your peppers bloom and do not make fruit, it needs calcium. We put a crushed egg shell in the hole when we plant them. We also give them a little Epsom salts and coffee grounds in summer. We eat peppers and freeze some for cooking with only 2 plants.
Cherry tomatoes do well here and we grow them in pots also. They do not like nitrogen but we feed them a little Epsom Salts in the water and crushed egg shell in the planting hole. They like coffee grounds for mulch too.
We grow all our own herbs in the house. If you water them, they grow like weeds. I dehydrate them and save them in jars. Many people use indoor herbs for a mini garden, but did you know you can grow vegetables from the grocery store? Cut off the celery about 2 inches from the root and plant the root in water. It will grow. This is the same for romaine lettuce, chard, green onions and other greens. Just save the root with a little stalk and plant them in water. Change the water about every 2 or 3 days. We grow mother onions outdoors that reproduce every year.
We lined some tires to prevent leakage of chemicals and planted potatoes in the tires. I spray painted them to make them look better in our back yard. After the potatoes came up, we added another tire and filled it with dirt.
We usually grow a good bushel or more of potatoes this way. The potatoes like the warmth from the sunshine on the containers. To recap, we have crab apples, regular apples, plums, mother onions, chives, rhubarb, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, and in pots: bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and aloe vera in our postage size yard and on our deck. Aloe Vera is great for stomach ails of acid reflux and many other ailments. It is good to share and trade with other gardeners too. If I can grow all this in one tiny spot, anyone can grow a garden and enjoy the fruits of your labors.

Suggested materials:

  • Trees   (local grower)
  • Vegetables and fruit   (free from a friend)
  • Seeds   (free from a friend)
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  • Wendy Wendy on May 02, 2018

    You are inspiring me! Such great tips :)

    • DesertRose DesertRose on May 02, 2018

      Thank you Wendy. Grandma used to laugh at me. She said, "You do everything wrong but you sure grow a great garden." I learned by doing and that included making many mistakes. I think she would like my yard now!

  • Ret Grant Ret Grant on Jun 16, 2019

    I love the tires and for potatoes and that would give me more room to grow carrots. Grew on once that was over a pound, it only took the one for a small stew.

    • DesertRose DesertRose on Jun 16, 2019

      Ret, you do have to line them to prevent leeching from the tires, I learned. Just a precaution. The warm tires did help them grow in our short growing season!