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No Park Zone
How documentary producer Nancy Steiner turned a barren plot beside her garage into a lush, bountiful kitchen garden productive enough to feed her family.
Each vegetable bed shares space with flowers, including nasturtiums and zinnias. Steiner gave one of the beds to her 12-year-old stepdaughter to plan and tend herself.
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To save space, Steiner grows pickling cucumber vertically, on a wooden tuteur ("the orange color means they've overripened, but they still taste every bit as good," she says).
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On a Grid
Low stone walls frame the entrance to the garden, which is organized in a tidy grid; convenient paths around the beds make harvesting simple.
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Steiner's landscapre design friend, Leslie Needham, left, helps her pick beans near the purple gomphrena.
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This classic metal can holds a gallon of water and adds a bright accent.
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Sphere of Influence
Both decorative and functional, this 18-inch iron ball provides a form for plants to climb.
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The stoneware plant markers feature a chalkboard finish.
$15 for 4, williams-sonoma.com
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Made of hardwood saplings, this rustic twig tuteur spans five feet.
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The garden is bordered on one side by simple boxwood balls, which help define the space.
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Room To Grow
Two years ago, Steiner added additional beds behind the garage for squashes, melons, and more tomatoes.
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"When I pull up at the end of the day, I snip a few vegetables and walk into the house," Steiner says.
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Steiner grows enough to supply her family -- husband David Michaelis and her two children and three stepchildren -- with enough produce through spring, summer, and fall. ("When everyone's home, that's a lot of lettuce," says Steiner.)
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