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How to Create a Small Space Garden for your Deck, Roof, or container

Updated on August 12, 2009

Gardening in a small space or in containers

By Melissa Nykorchuk

If you live in a small apartment, or only have a small outdoor area, you have probably thought little about planting a garden.  If you love gardening it is possible to design a garden for virtually any space.  From balconies, rooftops, and outdoor patios a garden can be planted by choosing the right plants for your space and some creativity.

Growing Vegetables and Fruits

Start by choosing different fruits and vegetables that grow well in a small space. Some excellent choices are cherry tomatoes, radishes, snap peas, strawberries, and half-high blueberries. Herbs such as basil, cilantro, parsley and rosemary will not only grow well in containers, they will add a nice aroma to your small space garden.

Location of your garden

Prepare your growing location as best as possible by clearing out debris and removing all obstacles that may block your small space from the sun.  Plants will prosper with more than 6 hours of sunlight a day.  If your space has too much shade, you may want to invest in a grow light to help your plants along.

Choose the right soil

As with any outdoor garden, your small space garden should have adequate, healthy soil that will allow for water retention, proper nutrients and appropriate drainage.  Perlite, vermiculite and peat moss are all good choices to use for soil in a container or patio garden.  Compost can be purchased to add to the soil for your plants to receive necessary nutrients.  Standard potting soils do not work well in container gardens and you should choose a mix that is specially formulated for outdoor container gardening.

Small gardening techniques

For a small container garden, plant taller vegetables, fruits, and herbs on the north side of the garden, while keeping shorter varieties on the south side.  Sun is most abundant in the summer from the south and by planting shorter plants “in front” you will ensure that all plants receive as much sunshine as possible.

Keep your garden well weeded to allow for maximum growing space.  As seeds begin to sprout, allow larger plants to grow while pulling out small, weak looking seedlings.  Since your space is small and healthy plants need room to grow, you have to keep the garden clear of all unnecessary plants.

Pick herbs often and they will continue to grow abundantly throughout the growing season.  Picking the herbs before they get long and tall will encourage the herb plants to grow more dense and shorter.

Watering your garden

Since you have such a small garden space, watering will be an easy task.  A simple watering can should do the trick, although there are planters that are self-watering and they can be great if you don’t want to have to water your garden daily.

Keep the soil moist without drowning the plants.  Plants that are in containers are susceptible to mold and mildew if they are watered too often and there is not appropriate drainage.  Plants that are outdoors will need to watered almost every day, especially when the weather gets hot.

Gardening is an excellent way to relax and many homeowners use gardening as a form of therapy.  Everyone should have the benefit of growing a garden if they want to, including apartment dwellers.  A successful container garden can be created with some ingenuity and by following the tips discussed in this article.

Herb container gardening video

Container gardening techniques


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