Whether you live in the city or in the country, growing your own food can be an amazing experience. However, many people do not have the space to grow a vegetable garden.
For those with limited gardening space, there are many ways to grow a small garden. These 5 tips can help you get started.
1. Choose Plants That Grow Well in Small Spaces
Whether you’re trying to grow a garden in a small space, like on a balcony, in an apartment or on a tiny back yard, you need to choose the right plants for your situation. You don’t want to choose plants that underperform, take up too much space or are susceptible to disease pressure.
Instead, choose plants that offer good productivity and taste. Leaf lettuce, tomatoes (particularly indeterminate varieties), cucumbers, squashes, pepper, peas and beets are all ideal choices.
Another popular vegetable for smaller gardens is chard. This leafy green is low maintenance and easy to grow in containers, so you can enjoy it year-round.
Dwarf varieties of cherry tomatoes are perfect for growing in a small garden or in containers on a patio or balcony. They deliver big flavor in a compact package and need minimal attention. They grow best in full sun and should be watered regularly.
You can also find dwarf versions of strawberries that are just as sweet and delicious. These small fruits can be grown in containers and are a great source of Vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Plant them in fall, winter or spring and be sure to fertilize them regularly.
Lastly, you can use your small garden to experiment with new vegetables. You can even start them in a window box or a pot, so you can grow them all year round.
For a more dramatic effect, try planting multiple plants of the same variety in a cluster. A single clump of yarrow, for example, will provide a more defined look than a scattering of individual bushes. You can also try adding more perennials with multi-season interest, such as thyme, phlox or sedum.
2. Choose Plants That Grow Well in Containers
Whether you’re growing vegetables or flowers, plants that grow well in containers can make your garden more successful. They’re able to get the sunlight and nutrients they need, and they’re less likely to become rootbound or droopy as soon as you plant them. You might, however, needs some grow lights as grow lighting is a hot topic in indoor gardening now; you can get growing lights at Indoor Grow.
When choosing what to grow in your containers, choose plants that are suited for the type of soil and moisture conditions you have available. This is a good tip for anyone, but especially helpful when you’re working with a limited amount of space.
Vegetables are some of the easiest and most adaptable plants to grow in containers. In addition to full sun and a well-drained soil, your container veggies will need consistent watering and feeding.
To keep your vegetable plants flourishing, add fertilizer several times throughout the growing season. This can be liquid fish emulsion or organic granular fertilizer.
Many vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, squashes and cucumbers, for example, are very adaptable to container growing. In general, they need about 12 inches of soil to grow well.
A large container is ideal for larger vegetables, such as beans, whereas a small container works just fine for smaller vegetables such as lettuce and other greens. Bush green beans, for instance, work well in containers as small as 8″ deep and 8″ wide per plant.
Other veggies that do well in containers include kale, collard greens and mustards. These are some of the quickest to grow and they’re also very decorative. If you’re looking for a more ornamental vegetable, try eggplants, which are especially beautiful when grown in containers.
3. Choose Plants That Grow Well in Shade
If you’re growing a garden in a small space, it’s important to choose plants that grow well in shade. This will help your plants look their best and will increase their ability to bloom, if you’re not growing them in full sun.
When choosing plants that grow well in shade, it’s important to understand what full and part shade means. Full shade is a situation where there is no direct sunlight, or it only receives light during the morning; part shade is where there’s a little sun in the morning, but a lot of sun in the afternoon.
Plants that grow well in shade tend to be very adaptable and can thrive even in a small space with less sunlight. If you notice your plants starting to develop weak leaves, or if they’re becoming more crowded, you might need to move them to a spot that gets more sunlight.
Vegetables that do well in shade are also a great choice for a small garden because they often require less water and fertilizer than those grown in full sun. They also tend to grow slower and won’t bolt as quickly, which can make them easier to harvest if you have limited garden space.
One of the easiest vegetables to grow in shade is swiss chard, which can be sown in spring and will provide a harvest throughout the summer. It’s also great for adding texture and color to salads.
Root veggies, like beets, carrots, and turnips, can be grown in partial shade as well, although it may take them a bit longer to reach full maturity. They’ll also appreciate a spot that receives a little sun in the morning, as long as it’s not too intense.
4. Choose Plants That Grow Well in Full Sun
When choosing plants to grow in your garden, it is important to consider their light requirements. Some plants need to be exposed to full sun all day long, while others can thrive in partial shade or filtered sunlight.
Most vegetables and many flowers, including those that grow best for cutting, require six hours or more of direct sunlight each day to thrive. However, you can grow many vegetables in shady areas by placing them on a windowsill or in a container garden.
Herbs that like full sun include parsley, rosemary, thyme, and sage. These herbs are easy to grow and can be used in a variety of dishes.
Marigolds are also an excellent choice for planting in full sun because they produce a fragrance that deters rabbits and other garden pests. This flower is also relatively drought-tolerant and blooms in various gold, orange, yellow, and white colors.
Another low-maintenance flower that can thrive in full sun is the Black-eyed Susan. This perennial spreads quickly and features yellow petals encircling a brownish-black center.
The Purple Fountain Grass is an excellent choice for sunny borders and can even grow well in containers. It’s heat- and drought-tolerant and blooms in late summer and early autumn.
Fruit plants, such as blueberries and strawberries, tend to produce their best fruits when exposed to full sun. They also have an ornamental bonus in fall when their leaves turn bright red or orange.
You can also plant a few fruit trees and shrubs in your yard, including lemons and citrus. These trees will get about three to five feet tall at maturity, so they are great for small spaces. But be sure to plant them in airy, well-draining soil and keep them watered as needed.
5. Choose Plants That Grow Well in Cold Weather
If you’re planning to grow vegetables in your garden, it is very important to choose plants that will survive the cold weather. Luckily, there are many hardy perennials and shrubs that can withstand freezing temperatures without causing any damage to the plant.
Some of these cold-hardy plants will even produce beautiful blooms during the winter, making them a wonderful addition to any garden. Some of these include violas, snowdrops and hellebores.
Other cold-hardy plants that are perfect for your garden are beets, radishes, carrots and rutabagas. These vegetables are great options for a vegetable garden in the winter because they can be grown in cold frames or cloches and can be harvested in the spring.
Likewise, cabbage, mustard, kale, chard and lettuce can all be grown in a cold frame or cloche in the winter. If you plan to grow these vegetables, it is very important to make sure they get adequate ventilation so that the temperature inside the frame does not exceed 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
The best way to ensure that your plants will grow well in the cold is to buy them at a nursery that stocks cold-hardy varieties. Generally, the plants that are labeled with USDA cold-hardiness ratings of 3 and 4 are the most suitable for growing in your area.
You can also add some colorful foliage to your garden by planting holly and junipers. These evergreen shrubs will provide color and berries throughout the winter, which are an excellent source of nutrition for birds and insects. They can also act as a natural fence and will give your garden a more festive feel all year round.