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Tips for Saving Space and Time in the Vegetable Garden

Updated on February 12, 2022
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Cygnet Brown is a high school and middle school substitute teacher. She is the author of fourteen books and a long-time gardener.

Yes, You Can Find Time and Space to Garden

More families are considering starting a vegetable garden than in they have for years. There are many reasons that people have for growing their own vegetables. Some people garden because they know that by growing their own food, they are helping the environment. They are recycling their household garbage back into their backyard. They recognize that by eating what they grow, they are reducing part of their carbon footprint.

Others are looking to provide the best possible food for their families. They know that the fresher food is, the higher the nutritional value. Fresh picked from the garden offers the highest nutritional value. Still others are looking at gardening, simply for economic reasons. Their food dollars are not growing, but food costs continue to climb. A vegetable garden would provide at least some financial relief.

However, many of us In our hurry up Western culture we say we don't have time or space to grow vegetables in our backyard. We find our time spread too thin. We are simply too busy. We never seem to have enough time to everything we already have to do, not to mention having to add gardening to our to-do list. Perhaps we could eek out a little time each day, but we don't have the time that it would take to garden in a way that would make a difference.

In addition, who has acres of land upon which to grow a garden? Most of us have fairly small backyards. How can we make the most of what little space we do have? Here are a few tips on how we can make what little time we do have for gardening more effective.

The Dos for Saving Time and Space in the Vegetable Garden

1. Do plant in beds rather than in rows.

2. Do prepare the soil before planting garden beds.

3. Do put your garden beds far enough apart so that you can run your lawnmower down the path.

4. Do keep your garden path in grass so that you can run your lawnmower between the beds. If you don't already have one, get a lawnmower with a rear expelling grass catcher.

5. Do use the grass in the grass catcher in the garden as mulch. Put grass mulch thinly between the plants while its still fresh and green and covered with other mulch, the nitrogen in the grass will keep the other mulch from tying up the nitrogen in the soil.

6. Do successive planting.

7. Plant an early crop and follow up with a later crop to make the most of your space. Plant quick growing crops between slower growing crops to make the most of your garden space.

8. Do plant faster growing plants or seeds around slower growing plants.And harvest when ripe.

9. Do plant vegetables that are easy to grow in your area.

10. Do use vertical supports.

11. Do consider creating an adaptation of a keyhole garden design to save space in the garden. Consider creating several square cornered keyholes to fit your gardening space.

12. Do mulch and compost with whatever is available including aged sawdust and even newspapers.

13. Do plant vegetables that you can pick from again and again throughout the season. Especially when you have a small space, it makes sense to plant vegetables that you can plant once and harvest again and again. Think greens (lettuce, kale, collards, Swiss chard, spinach, etc.), indeterminate tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and summer squash.

14. Do put in a drip irrigation system rather than depending on a sprinkler system.

15. Do experiment with hugelkultur. Extra work that you put in when you create your garden bed could result in many years of less work and more garden enjoyment.

Some More Garden Space Saving Tips

The Don'ts of Saving Time and Space in the Vegetable Garden

1. Don't crowd your plants. Use package recommendations for plant spacing.

2. Don't make your garden beds so wide that you cannot reach into the center of the bed without stepping into it.

3. Don't Make the paths between your garden beds so narrow that you can't bring wheelbarrow or garden cart into garden. Consider making the distance between beds wide enough that you can run a lawnmower with a rear-ejecting grass catcher on it. Let the grass grow so you don't have to take the time to mulch between the beds.

4. Don't plant vegetable garden too close to the trunk of a tree.

5. Don't use herbicides or pesticides in grass clippings or yard wastes that you plan to put in the garden.

6. Don't make a bigger garden than you can handle. Remember start small and take care of what you have.

7. Don't neglect mulching.

8. Don't depend on sprinkler system to water garden.

9. Don't water every day. Water deeply once a week.

10.. Don't plant vegetables that your family does not like.

11. Don't put fresh manure on a garden bed unless its rabbit manure.

© 2014 Cygnet Brown


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