Can This Become A Vegetable Garden?

It's 26 inches tall, 22 inches wide and 42 feet long.
The top 6 inches is gravel.
Under that, a drip line.
Under that, clay dirt.
With a bit more good dirt on top, it's perfect, right?

Raising it 6 inches would cost $175 just for the blocks. Plus extra dirt.
Wondering if I can make do as is. I'm short, after all.

Gets morning sun, afternoon shade. But it's extremely hot shade (110 degrees June-October), with bright, indirect light.

That's a basketball goal to the left. We don't use it. Should I move it or grow kudzu on it?

All advice welcome and encouraged. Thank you.


  1. That's like cage match for vegetables, Kelly. Only the strongest will survive.

  2. From the guy who turned a swimming pool into a garden, as I recall. :) What are you saying? Too hot? No hope? Be candid.

  3. Maybe you get 42' of pots and do your garden in various shapes, sizes and colors of them - that'd be a cheery sight don't you think?

  4. Yes it can--you can do anything!!!

  5. To keep it cooler, you might try misters, but under a gauze frame to trap the cooling effect. Or go with heat loving veggies.

  6. That's a lot of space to plant. Have you considered espalier? I visited a home in San Clemente that had several trees growing in confined spaces along fences and walls. At one web site, there was this statement "But espaliers are especially useful today. They can provide an abundance of fruit in a small space--along a fence or a wall, in a side yard or a narrow planting bed. Even the smallest garden can easily accommodate several." Joanne L.S.

  7. Somehow I had envisioned planting directly in the gravel. Of course that was just a pre-coffee hallucination. "A bit more good dirt on top," she said.

    If you took out the gravel and replaced it with loam-manure mix (it wouldn't take quite as much as it did to fill the swimming-pool hole), you'd have an interesting little spot. And the water's already there, which is one chore off the list.

    I think you're golden, actually. Get a healthy young lad -- know any of those? -- to haul off your gravel. Take a pitchfork to loosen up the clay beneath. Fertilize the lower layer with some slow-release stuff. Then top off with decent dirt. You could mix it with the top layer of clay if you were feeling extra diligent.

    The suggestion of fruit trees is a good one -- imagine the apricots, peaches and cherries. Over time, though, trees might do funny things to your block wall. Worth asking someone at the nursery about that.

  8. Such great ideas and suggestions. Espalier! Misters! Pretty pots! OK, I'm thinking and pacing, thinking and pacing... will keep you posted. Thanks.

  9. Try this article in another cool online publication. . .
    . . .I see the reflected light as one of your toughest problems. Perhaps pots of ornamentals mixed with food plants on the concrete directly below the bed for a buffer zone? With the fence as an anchor point, you might also find shade cloth a workable alternative to growing only prickly pear and agave.

  10. Try advertising for a barter... trade some of that rock for some soil and/or brick.

  11. By the way, with the heat from all that concrete nearby, you might learn to love bomb-proof heat-loving vegetables. In my experience, okra and eggplants thrive when it's 110 in Redding. And fresh okra transforms a humdrum summer vegetable soup into a delicacy.

  12. I love okra and eggplant. Great ideas, everybody. Thanks.