Intensive gardening techniques that help you to get the most produce possible per square foot are ideal for small garden spaces. Experiment with all of the intensive small space gardening methods to determine which ones provide the best results for your situation. Don’t overlook container gardening, which is another way to increase your growing space.
Small Space Gardening Ideas
Vertical Gardening – Trellises, cages, nets, poles and strings allow plants to grow upward. These supports, which increase your yield per square foot, work well for vegetables such as beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons and summer squash or flowers like morning glories. The supports you use will create shade, so keep them on the north edge of the garden or plant shade-loving plants next to trellises, poles and other vertical supports. Plants growing upward may need more frequent watering because they are more exposed, which makes them dry out faster.
Raised Beds – Generally 8 to 12 inches high, 3 to 4 feet wide and as long as you like, raised beds concentrate your garden efforts in spaces narrow enough so you don’t have step in them. Fill raised beds with nearby topsoil and generous amounts of organic matter. Because raised beds heat up more quickly, you can get a head start on spring planting. Space plants equidistant from each other on all sides so their leaves will touch when full-grown. Close planting will reduce moisture loss, but you still need to monitor water needs because raised beds generally require more water.
Interplanting – Alternating rows of different crops within a bed, mixing plants in a row and distributing various species throughout the bed are all forms of interplanting. Common examples of interplanting you may have heard about include planting radishes, a cool-season vegetable, in the same row as carrots, a warm-season vegetable. When you harvest the radishes after about 25 growing days, there will be more room for the carrots, just as they need the additional space.
Succession Planting – Succession planting allows you to use the same space for planting first cool-season crops and then warm-season crops. In locales with a lengthy growing season, you can follow up with another crop of cool-season vegetables. For example, plant leaf lettuce, mustard greens or peas in early spring. After harvesting them, plant tomato or pepper transplants in their place. You could then plant radishes, broccoli or cabbage if your climate permits. Make sure to fertilize each crop to ensure proper growth.
Off the Ground – Even if the only gardening space you have is a sunny patio, balcony or set of steps, you can still grow flowers, herbs or vegetables in containers. Many flowering plants as well as vegetables such as beans, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, spinach, lettuce and Brussels sprouts can all thrive in well-tended 3- to 5-gallon containers. Use hanging planters if your surface area is extremely limited. If you have a bit of yard space, another option is straw bale culture, growing your plants in composting straw bales.
Gardening can be a fun hobby during the year. Having a garden takes little time while the plants are growing, but finding a place to put the garden can be a problem to many people. For people with little space for a garden, they must be creative in envisioning their own specialized garden. Most of the ideas for small space gardening simply require planning of the available space. From there it’s a matter of types of containers, and how high up you want to go with it.