Gardening in Limited Space and Other Gardening Options
small spaces and beyond
So you want to garden but your backyard is small or non-existent; well do not let that discourage you, if you have the will, you will find the way.
The first step, as in all forms of gardening, is to assess you existing space. How much room do you have? How much sun and shade does that space get?
Do not be surprised at the possibility of growing fruit in a small space. There are dwarf and small fruit trees that can be grown in containers on a patio, deck or balcony.
Does your family love salads? You can grow your own mesclun mix in a container or a wheelbarrow, for example.
Herbs, work well in window boxes or indoors in a brightly lit window, preferably in your kitchen, near where they will be used.
OK, you now have a list of what you want to grow, where you will grow it and how much sunlight the spot gets.
If you have a yard, then you may want to build or have built a raised bed for you vegetables, grow them in containers or use a no-till method to plant them in the ground. If the space you have for gardening is small, then containers are perfect.
Think up and plan vertically, trellises will support, peas, beans and even squash, as long as the support is strong enough.
This thinking outside the ground is vital when your space is small.
You might have a stairway or fire escape that can hold a few containers; basil and cherry tomatoes do well together in containers.
Assess every square foot of your property, you are looking for a space that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight per day, no matter how small.
You may have to accept that the space that is available to you on your property be it house, apartment or condo will not grow enough food to meet all of your family’s food needs but is big enough to grow something and that is what matters. You have taken a step towards growing your own food, celebrate and plant.
Now what happens if you do not have any space on the property at all; for whatever reason, if this is the case, then it is time to start looking a little further away.
Give some though to using someone else’s yard to grow your food. Do you have a friend or a relative who has space but is not growing any vegetables on it? They may be willing to let you use their yard for gardening and you can offer them a per cent age of your crop in return.
No relatives or friends who have the space well how about neighbours? Now is not the time to be shy; take a walk around your neighbourhood and see what is going on. Is there a senior living alone who may enjoy having someone grow food and sharing the yield?
Ask friends, relatives, neighbours, the corner grocer, and a minister, anyone you can think of if they know someone who might be willing to share their space. Remember try to keep this shared garden as close to home as possible; distant gardening puts extra demands upon your time.
The Community Garden:
Is there a community garden in your neighbourhood? Don’t know, stop by city hall and ask; they may be able to help. If you have a community centre or neighbourhood centre then stop by there and ask about community gardening. They may know or may be interested in starting one.
If you are living in an apartment complex or a condo, start talking with yoru neighbours. Ask them if they have any interest in growing their own food. If you get a positive response then bring people together to see what can be done. They may have fiends, relatives who would be willing to share or be aware of a great space that is just calling out for a garden.
If you identify an empty lot that needs a garden; you will need to determine ownership first, once you have done this, contact the owner and get permission to use the space as a garden.
This is a possibly risky business as you may not be able to get any long term guarantees over the land use, so consider that before getting too involved.
Let’s get back to your small space. One container can be a garden; you can grow, for example, tomatoes, cucumbers, salad greens and herbs in a single container as long as that container is approximately 3 feet wide and two feet high; you could build a box that size and have a mini-garden.
Think mobile. I mentioned a wheelbarrow garden earlier but a wagon or cart or a table on wheels can do the job.
Think minature. There are cherry tomatoes and miniature varieties of cucumbers squash and fruit trees that are ideal for small space gardens.
You have seen pretty flowers growing in window boxes and hanging planters well, vegetables can be grown in them as well. Now that you have read this, take a good, analytical look at your space. Think up, think small, let your imagination and your desire to grow food guide you.
Suffering from a lack of space? Plant a salad garden in a pot!