Visit a Tiny California Garden With Lots to Taste

Visit a Tiny California Garden With Lots to Taste


(upbeat indie music) – [Elaine] I live in a
historic home in Palo Alto. You ready to plant? Here, hold your hand out. And I live here with my husband and two daughters who are three and five. – Everything can get a little water. – [Elaine] Everything. We’ve got a 3,000 square foot lot and a 1,500 square foot house, so there’s really not that much space. But we always knew we
wanted an edible garden, and we wanted to maximize
every square inch that we possibly could with
plants that we could eat, or, you know, enjoy for food. – [Mike] If you take the pollen off the bottom part, right here. – [Elaine] I think
that’s the beauty of it. Even the smallest space can
yield an amazing garden. (upbeat guitar indie music) And so when you take a
walk through the property, you’re gonna experience everything from low-level blueberry bushes to really, you know, modern
plant beds and salad bowls, and you’ll see all kinds
of different fruit trees. Some are kind of bushed
out and bunched out, and others are more
constrained and espaliered. And then you’ll see a
lot of different vines and plantings that kind of accompany the rest of the garden design. So you don’t have to constrain yourself. You can plant things
and have them do well, and grow lots of beautiful things, even in a little
postage-sized lot. (laughs) (soft electric guitar folk music) – [Mike] This is a historical home. Yeah, it was built, I think, in 1891. It was the first post office in Palo Alto, and, you know, we bought
it in decent shape. It had been a rental unit, and then we turned it into
a place for our family. (child singing) – We’re gonna plant some. So when you’re thinking about a design, it’s really just very
important to keep it simple. We really only have a few materials. We have the decomposed
granite, the pavers, the corten steel, and the river rock, and we use that material palette everywhere through the house, and so that really just
sort of unifies the design and ties everything together. One of the strategies was to have raised beds in our gardens, so we have two raised beds out in front and one really long one out in the back, and that takes care of
most of our veggies, and we cycle through that
between the different seasons. With the raised beds, we wanted to maximize every square inch, and so we looked at a bunch
of different materials but ultimately decided on the corten, both because we really
like the way that it looks, it has a really nice earthy feel, but also it’s just really thin, and it allows us to, you know, capture those extra few
inches along the edges, and have that extra growing space. Each bed is about 30 inches
wide by 60 inches long, and they’re raised about 24 inches high, so there’s a good amount of dirt. So this enables us to
get a lot of really rich, organic compostable matter into the beds, and we’ve got irrigation
line directly to it, so that we can, kind of, ensure
a good planting environment. (upbeat electronic music) Because our lot is so small, we also had to take
advantage of the side yard, and the side yard is
right off of our kitchen, and it’s basically our salad
bowl and our herb garden. And so that’s kind of our
area where if, you know, we want to go out and grab a quick meal, we can just pluck some lettuce
leaves and pluck some herbs, and we’ve got a ready-made
salad right there. It’s just an extension
of our kitchen, really. The corten gate is a pretty big statement. We felt that it was important to have, kind of a protective gate. It actually kind of creates a nice break and backdrop from the
front yard to the backyard and the side yards. (upbeat electronic music) So, in the backyard we’ve got
a main sort of fruit area. So we’ve got two trees
and then a berry patch. – [Mike] We have 38
different types of fruits. Blueberries, and blackberries, and citrus, and plums and peaches, and passion fruit and kind of all across the board. Mostly trees, but a very wide range. (upbeat electronic music) – [Elaine] Then along the
side we’ve got a grape vine, so we’ve got a couple different grapes, and in front of that is
actually our old bathtub, which we recycled from our renovation, and in that we’ve got some
strawberries and a Kaffir lime. (upbeat electronic music) We use vertical plantings
a lot throughout the yard, because our space is so small, you know, doing something flat
and that goes up a wall or up along a fence was pretty important. So, the first example is right here, just along the front porch, we’ve got the passion fruit. The back and the side yard,
next to the salad bowls, we actually have two kiwi
vines that kinda wrap around and it fills in the area between
the old part of the house and the new part of the house. And then in the very back
yard we have our berry patch, which just grows along an espalier, and it’s sort of flat and
snakes out along the sides, and the grape vine also
provides a nice backdrop along the side of the yard too. (upbeat electronic music) People are actually really curious about the ground cover too,
because it’s not grass. What we’ve got is we’ve
got some of the chamomile, and the yarrow, and a little bit of thyme, so there are a lot of
actually some ornamental herbs that are planted here that
give it a nice soft green look, but without being, you know,
this overly thirsty grass. (guitar folk music) (knife chopping) How are you Cutie? I mean, we really love to cook. We like to make things from scratch. We find comfort in it, creativity in it, and so it was just really
important that our garden kind of reinforce the way that we live,
and so having food nearby, and being able to shop in your front yard or in your backyard for
dinner every night is just, kind of, naturally how we want to live. I’ll take one and you take one. Okay, you do that one. And for our daughters, they
really get to experience a lot of different types of vegetables and lots of different types of fruits, and they really learn from an early age what it’s like to grow their own food. They were so delicious, right? They can walk out in the mornings and pick their blueberries for breakfast, or they can come home in the afternoon and get some cucumbers right
off the vines, and tomatoes, and have that for a snack. – [Child] You need to pick it off. – [Elaine] And for them to be
part of the cooking process, and to be a part of that
every night, and, you know, it just makes ’em feel
like they’re involved, and they got to make their dinner or they got to make their breakfast, and so that’s a lot of fun for them too. I mean, the most satisfying thing about it is that you have a palette now, like a garden palette that
you can repaint every year, and it’s actually kind
of fun to figure out. Oh, what is it that I’m
gonna plant this year? And start looking through
the seed catalogs, and, you know, remembering what works but also trying out new things, and that’s really kind of the joy of it. Once you’ve got the
garden structure in place, why not use it and why not reuse it, and make every year a little
bit better than the last? It was a nice project
because we got to combine a lot of the old and the new, but combine the new in a
way that was useful to us and keep all of the great
character and the charm that, you know, is the 1891 post office. (guitar strums)

24 thoughts on “Visit a Tiny California Garden With Lots to Taste

  1. was anyone able to catch the name of the material that the raised beds are made of? i've listened 3x's and all i get is "core-ten". ??

  2. MEUSTEL::England in the 40's We lived the same way My father planned the planting ,of fruit species that weren't already their He then had an older non employed old soldier to upkeep all through the war years . Daddy 's work kept him absent most of the 24 hrs . But we ate well because off all that grew All vegetables that grew in our rude climate

  3. I love, love, LOVE their garden and the adorable family. 💙 I especially admire how the children are being raised with knowledge of where their food comes from, in addition to how they're gently being taught about good stewardship. Bravo. 😊

  4. This garden is beautiful! So much good thinking about use of space.

    Also I love that 1891 is historical in the US. 😍😍

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