Mother Earth Living


Pasadena Paradise: An Organic, Urban Vegetable Garden

A Southern California family adapts their back-to-the-land philosophy to an urban garden with astonishingly productive results.



Multi-story gardening allows the Dervaeses to grow at least four different crops in a one-square-foot area. Twining plants can grow on arbors, while lightweight plants grow in hanging baskets. On the ground, the family grows stronger, taller plants, such as broccoli, above smaller, lower-growing plants, such as endive.
Photos by Stephen Dabrowski
The family grows more than 300 plant species­­­, including several varieties of peppers, heirloom tomatoes, salad mixes, eggplant, pumpkins, kale, squash, lima beans, herbs and edible flowers.
Jules Dervaes tends his backyard garden.
Tangy, delicious elderberries from the garden
Chickens provide fresh eggs, organic pest control and manure for compost. For more on keeping backyard birds, see “City Chicks,”?page 62.
Not just for show, the Devaeses’ front yard contains nearly 95 percent edible, useful or medicinal plants.
The garden makes money through sales of some of its organic produce––edible flowers, mixed salad greens, eggs and unusual varieties of heirloom tomatoes––to local restaurants.

















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