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Best Vegetables for Small Gardens

Updated on March 25, 2011

The size of garden you have can determine which are the best vegetables to grow in your garden. In larger gardens, it is often possible to grow things like artichokes, or sweet potatoes that would be impossible in a smaller back garden. Whereas in a small space you will want to restrict the vegetables to those that crop profusely, require less space, and which can feed crop more regularly than longer lasting crops.

My next tips are that you need to consider is the value of the crop produced. For example, a single blackberry bush plated against a fence takes up little space, but will return a large crop of blackberries that are hard to find and are also expensive in shops. Similarly a red or black currant bust will provide a really high value to the average gardener. As will fast growing salad seeds sown in an empty patch of the garden.

Growing upwards

There are some crops that you should consider because they can are climbing crops that produce a lot of value. For example, runner beans. With Runner beans you can grow six in a container, in tripods, either side of your back door. As long as you keep them watered, and crop them regularly they will produce all the beans that you need without using much garden bed space.

Growing within flower borders

There are several vegetables that are very decorative that you can grow in a flower border. Probably multicoloured lettice, endive, and chives are obvious choices. In fact, traditionally chives are planted at the bottom of roses, to ward off pests.

Swiss Chard is an unusual but elegant and colourful plant which would suit the back of a border.

At the front of the border you could plant strawberry plants.

Step-over apple trees

This is something I recommend for people who want apples but don’t really have the space. You can buy trained plants where the apple branch is around 18 inches from the ground. They are decorative, but also very functional.

Vegetable Garden Window boxes.

By selecting some low growing herbs, like thyme, spring onions, and salad leaves you can design your own window box. These window boxes will not take up your garden space, so you will be able to produce more vegetables without worrying about how much of your garden it takes up.

Container Garden

High value vegetables

I suggest that you decide which of the larger vegetables are your favourites, and which have great value for money. For example, tomatoes take up a great deal of space, but they are delicious. You can grow them in containers, so you don’t necessarily have to use all the space in your borders, you could grow them on a path.

Of course, everyone will have different favourites. I can’t tell you which ones you should grow, but I recommend choosing varieties that you know you want to eat.

Small vegetables

It is often possible to get really great value by sowing vegetables you will use as baby vegetables – for example, baby carrots, where you sow the crop in between vegetables that you plan to grow to maturity. By harvesting them before they are mature, you can eek out an extra crop from your small garden.

The other thing I would consider is reading up on one foot gardening. This technique means that you get several crops of different vegetables, by separating your main garden into seedling beds, and succession sowing. In some climates it is possible to get three crops a year out of the same ground.


For someone with a very small garden, salad vegetables are probably the best choice. By selecting a mix of spring onions, chives, herbs and salad vegetables you can get a lot of value out of one foot of garden. Most salad vegetables – lettuce, spring greens and so on – crop very quickly so you will be able to start eating your own vegetables very quickly in the spring.

One foot gardening

While I haven’t done this myself, a lot of the principals that I am talking about are central to one-foot gardening, which is probably the most intensive use of a small vegetable garden you could have. Planting vegetables in such an organized system does mean you will get the most for your limited space.

How to make your small vegetable garden a success.

The reality is that with a big garden, you can waste the space to a larger extent. But by paying attention to the vegetables you sow, inter cropping, succession sowing and making sure that you keep feeding the vegetable garden regularly with compost or manure, you will still be able to produce a decent garden.

Even in a small plot, you can produce enough food in a garden to have regular treats. While you won’t be self sufficient it is both fun and satisfying to grow your own vegetables. No doubt you will be very proud of your results.


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  • ThomasE profile image

    ThomasE 6 years ago from UK

    Thank you, Vinaya.

  • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

    Vinaya Ghimire 6 years ago from Nepal

    As a gardener I found this article interesting and useful.