How to Grow Garden Vegetables In Small Spaces
How to Grow Vegetables in Small Gardens
Even the smallest of vegetable gardens can yield big returns. If you are limited on space but still want to enjoy fresh vegetables, you can use a variety of techniques to ensure a plentiful harvest all season long.
Before planting, create a plan for your garden on paper so you can see the space you have for different vegetables. To maximize space, select vegetables that come in dwarf sizes like tomatoes or eggplants, or vegetables that can be grown vertically like beans and squashes. Avoid choosing vegetables that take a lot of space to grow, such as celery or potatoes, or crops that take a long time to harvest, like pumpkins or parsnips.To learn how succession planting and interplanting can help maximize the harvest from your small garden, keep reading.
Choosing Your Vegetables
Pick vegetables that you like.To get the most pleasure out of your small garden, plant your favorite vegetables. Many vegetables come in dwarf sizes such as tomatoes and eggplants. Some can also be grown vertically such as beans and squashes.Some examples are:
Don't plant crops that take a long time to grow.You want to get the maximum amount of harvest from your small garden. You don’t want to plant crops that take months to grow. You want early harvesting vegetables followed by mid and later season crops. Avoid vegetables such as:
Avoid crops that take up a lot of space.You won’t have the space to grow vegetables that spread or need a lot of space to thrive. Avoid planting:
- Brussel sprouts
Choosing Your Planting Method
Select an area with access to water.You will want to choose a location that has water easily accessible to it. It will be quite burdensome to haul water a long distance to your garden. Make sure you have a spigot and hose that reaches the garden area.
Choose a spot with plenty of sun.Vegetables need sun, and you want your garden to get lots of it. Ideally, your vegetable plants should get approximately six to eight hours of sun a day.
Choose square foot garden.A square foot garden uses blocked off sections to separate vegetable plantings. These types of gardens typically measure 4x4 ft (1.2x1.2 m).
- Build a square foot garden by using untreated lumber. Cut four boards into 4.25 ft (130 cm) lengths.
- Nail or stake all four ends together to create a square. This will be the outline of your garden.
- Use strips of wood or string to divide your square foot garden into 16 equal sections. Each section will serve as a separate planting area.
- To use string, just drive small nails into the rim of the bed at one foot intervals. Then, tie string on each nail so that it runs across the bed. This will make a grid you can use for square foot gardening.
- Group the same type plant seedlings into one square foot block. For square foot gardening, it’s OK to plant more densely than normally. You could grow one tomato or eggplant per square foot, or 3 to 4 leafy plants per square. Each square within your square foot garden will yield its own vegetable planting.
Try succession planting.As soon as one crop is harvested, plant a new one. For example, group quick growing crops like radishes or black seeded Simpson lettuce together. Then, harvest these vegetables. You can then use the space for later plantings like beans or turnips.
- Break your planting bed into sections. Plan to grow one crop for one or two months at a time.
- Stagger your plantings. This will allow one crop to grow fully and make room for another crop upon its harvest.
Select interplanting.Alternate rows of late-maturing vegetables like peppers and cabbage with early season growers like spinach and lettuce.
- Plant each crop according to size and spread. Group smaller crops in between larger crops to save on space.
- Keep each row of planting within reach for harvest. You want to make sure you can pick your vegetables without stepping on or damaging other plants.
- You will have to weed by hand because the crops will be placed close together.
Try container planting.You can use any type of container to plant your vegetables in. Look for long troughs, wooden planter boxes, pots or other types of containers. They should be at least 5 gal (19 l) and at least 10 in (25 cm) wide by 12 in (30 cm) deep.
- You can create drainage in your containers by drilling a series of holes in the bottom of each pot. Drill four to five, ¼ in (1/2 cm) holes in the bottom of each container. This will allow water to flow through.
Create a plan for your garden space.Sketch out a plan for planting your garden on paper. Keep in mind the space you need for each vegetable plant. This will provide a good diagram of the different vegetables you have room for in your garden.
Planting Your Vegetables
Prep the soil properly.Break up the soil with a shovel. Remove any grass or weeds that may be present. Dig down at least one spade length (6 in) (15 cm) to ensure there is plenty of space for your vegetables to take root.
- Remove any rocks or stones.
- Add additional soil. Use bagged soil or compost. Manure is also a good soil amendment – in other words, it will improve your soil’s quality.
- If you have clay soil, you can add compost to improve the tilth.
- Raised beds and containers should be filled with soil as well. Use a mixture of compost, peat moss, and vermiculite.
Rake the soil to even it out.This will help smooth the soil and allow your vegetables to take root easier. Break up any clumps of dirt that could impede plant growth.
Plant your vegetables.Begin planting your vegetables based on the plan you have created for your garden. Keep plants that harvest often to the outside of the bed. Allow plenty of space to harvest vegetables in the interior of your garden bed.
- Spread seeds according to the instructions on the seed packet.
- Space plants accordingly to their maximum size.
Water the soil thoroughly.After you have filled your garden with soil and plant your veggies, you need to water it thoroughly. You might moisten the soil some before you plant, too.
Use mulch to reduce weeds.Adding a layer of mulch to your garden will prevent weeds from growing around your vegetable plants. Spread it evenly and approximately 2 in (5 cm) thick. This will save you time on pulling weeds to maintain your garden.
- Mulch will also keep in moisture.
- Natural mulch options include; grass clippings, peat moss, straw, and leaves.
- Prevent soil diseases by rotating your crops. Never grow the same vegetable in the same area for two seasons in a row.
Water your garden regularly.Your garden will need regular watering to ensure proper growth. Provide 1 in (2.5 cm) of water a week to your vegetable crops. When the weather is hot and dry, monitor the plants and water as needed.
Harvest your vegetables.As your vegetables begin to ripen, you should pick them quickly. Be sure to harvest your vegetables often to make room for new growth in your garden.
QuestionHow early can I start plants in the garden?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerLook up the last frost date in your area and plant after that. You can plant earlier, but you run the risk of a late frost killing your plants.Thanks!
QuestionIs it necessary to plant in raised rows as compared to level ground?CLARISSA SWEETLANDCommunity AnswerNo, not really, but a raised garden will prevent pathway weeds from overtaking your crops; provide great drainage, which is much more essential than you may think; and provide a barrier to bugs like slugs, snails, and some types of ground insects that could otherwise destroy your crops.Thanks!
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