My Great Outdoors: Sara and Sean's Back Alley Gardens

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Name: Sara and Sean Kiffe
Location: Missoula, Montana
Type of space: Side yard and alleyway veggie and flower garden (with chicken coop)

Tell us about your outdoor project and how you enjoy it: We have large shade trees in our front and back yards, so we had to be creative when we put in our garden beds. We use the side yard and the alleyway to do most of our gardening. We have four raised beds in our side yard and four beds and gardens in our alleyway. We grow flowers and vegetables in our side yard, and vegetables and fruit in the alley. In the summer, we eat salads and fresh veggies and fruit from the gardens. In the fall, we can, freeze, and make jam so we can eat our food all year long. We also have three chickens in our backyard, and we haven't had to buy any eggs for two years now.

How did you create it?: Sean built all of the raised beds and put up see-through fencing in the alley to allow the necessary light into our gardens. Then we used concrete that Sean jackhammered out of an ugly slab from a patio in our backyard to create the beds in front of the fence. Neighbors raised a few eyebrows when we first started putting gardens into the alley, but now at least four other neighbors garden in the alley. It is a great place to meet neighbors we wouldn't otherwise see and talk about our gardens.

Recommended store, site, product or resource? We get all of our starts from Benson Gardens (in Missoula) and the farmer's market; that way we know all of the plants do well in Montana. The seeds we buy from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, and the fencing we bought from Ace Hardware.

(Images: Sara Kiffe)

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