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Small space yields large rewards

I love my small raised bed dedicated to vegetables and herbs. It is steps away from my kitchen, making it convenient to grab a handful of herbs or a pepper or two.  The space measures about 4-by-24 feet and has proven large enough to satisfy my desire to watch things grow and supply my recipes with fresh ingredients.

This summer it provided tomatoes, squash, eggplant, pepper, basil, oregano and thyme. A few weeks ago I pulled up the tired squash and tomato plants. The eggplant, peppers and herbs are still going strong so they will remain until frost.

For fall and winter I planted black seeded simpson lettuce, multiplying onions, beets and dill.  All have germinated and are growing beautifully. It makes me smile when I look out my kitchen window and see all the freshness in my own backyard.

Each year I like to try something that I have never grown before. Sometimes it’s a complete failure, other times a delightful win. This year’s experiment is a three-dollar six-pack of celery plants. I know not to expect the big stalks found in the grocery store, but it would be nice to harvest the leaves and smaller stems for adding to soups and salads.   

It doesn’t take a lot of space to enjoy herbs and vegetables from your own backyard. Sprinkle them into your existing landscape or use containers or a raised bed as I have. I guarantee it will make you smile, too.

Rebecca Bates is an MSU Extension-Lincoln County agent, and can be reached at 601-835-3460 or by e-mail at rebecca.bates@msstate.edu.