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Small Garden Ideas: Different Types and Kinds of Plants

Updated on June 19, 2013

Small Gardening

Building your own small garden using a kiddie swimming pool
Building your own small garden using a kiddie swimming pool | Source

Home Gardener

Having a home garden can provide you with a good supply of vegetables all year round. Growing your own garden isn’t easy, and it will require some manual labor, but the rewards are great when the plants start to produce.

The initial challenge for prospective gardeners is how big to make your garden. If you have a good sized yard you will probably make the garden whatever size you want it to be based on what you want to grow, and want to take care of. If you have a smaller yard you are limited to what space that you have available.

Gardening Plants

The key to creating a bountiful small garden is being smart in what you plant. If space is restricted there are a few things that you can do to maximize the space you have.

The first thing to do is stick with plants that do not span out and take a bunch of space. Melons, cucumbers, squash, etc. are all major space consumers. Don’t let their small plant size fool you when you see them at the store, these plants will spread out and create a carpet of green in your garden. Not only is this spreading out inconvenient to walking around in the garden it is also difficult to actually locate the veggies because of all the undergrowth.

When selecting your vegetables to plant in a small garden pay close attention to the required plant spacing. Some plants can be planted around a foot away from something else while others require two or even three feet. Plants that can be closely planted together are good options when your overall garden area is smaller.

A solid option, when space is at a premium, is to get plants that grow up. Large cities already deploy this method when they erect tall skyscrapers because they cannot build anywhere else; going skyward (or vertical) is their only opportunity for growth.


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Grow Tomato Plants

Who doesn’t love the taste of a fresh, home grown, tomato? Fortunately growing your own tomatoes at home isn’t too difficult, even if you don’t think you have a green thumb. Another great thing about tomato plants is they don’t take up too much space and can be grown close to each other. The key to growing a successful tomato plant is getting a metal cage in early, right after you plant. If you wait too long to get the cages in you run the risk of the plant getting in the way.

Installing cage will help support and restrain the tomato plant. Without a cage the plant will actually struggle to support itself, especially when the tomatoes get near full maturity.

Since tomatoes are so popular many stores feature a wide variety of plants to choose from. The variety will go from big to small tomatoes, different colors and even different maturity durations. Feel free to mix and match them to give you the kinds of tomatoes you are interested in.

Green Tomato Plants

Green tomatoes still on the vine
Green tomatoes still on the vine | Source

Grow Pepper

Even though pepper plants don’t get too tall they are a great option for smaller gardens, as long as your climate is conducive for them. Many pepper plants only get a foot or two tall but they can be planted one foot away from other plants.

The variety of pepper plants is probably only second to tomato plants. Some plants will be sweet while others are spicier. The size of peppers will also fluctuate, my kids love picking out what they want to get every spring.

Growing Peppers

Some of our pepper plants, evenly spaced with room to grow
Some of our pepper plants, evenly spaced with room to grow | Source

Planting Corn

You might not think corn is a viable option for a small garden but it really is. Sure corn grows tall but that is where you want plants to grow when your garden isn’t very big. Corn can also be planted very close to each other, usually around six inches away or so.

Our corn usually provides around eight ears of corn, per stalk. If you eat the corn, right after plucking it from the stalk, you will experience something that you simply cannot from grocery store corn. Corn has so much moisture in it, the longer it is removed from the stalk the more moisture is lost. Be prepared to hold some of the heaviest ears of corn that you ever have before, if you grow your own at home.

Below is a photo of corn we have planted in a four foot by four foot square area of our garden. In this area we have approximately forty corn stalks growing; obviously we are in for a bunch of corn this summer!

Growing Corn

A patch of corn growing in our garden
A patch of corn growing in our garden | Source

Small Garden Tips


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    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Idaho

      idigwebsites - Good ideas about the use of recycled products, not everything has a final resting place in the landfill. Thanks for commenting.

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Idaho

      AudreyHowitt - Hopefully the ideas help get some small gardens going out there.

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Idaho

      vocalcoach - Thanks for sharing. Sometimes you have to do the best that you can with what land you have at your disposal, you don't have to have a huge area of dirt to grow some veggies. Thanks for your comment.

    • idigwebsites profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      Another great way about gardening is that you are able to use recycled materials, or materials that are not in use anymore. Very good work there my friend. Haven't tried growing corn yet but I might try. Voted up and useful.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      7 years ago from California

      Some great ideas!!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      7 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Wonderful ideas for small gardens. Will share and voted up + - thanks so much!

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Idaho

      Gail - I think it is all of the above! Everyone watches their grocery bills these days and more people are becoming aware of how our food is grown, and what is being put on it during the process. Thanks for voting and commenting.

    • Gail Meyers profile image

      Gail Meyers 

      8 years ago from Johnson County, Kansas

      Whether it is the toxins or the price, it seems like people who have never gardened before are even starting to garden. Thanks for sharing these helpful ideas. Voted up and useful.

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Idaho

      jainismus - I glad the information was useful, we enjoy our home garden. Thanks for commenting.

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 

      8 years ago from Pune, India

      It is a very useful Hub for everybody, one can get basic knowledge of home gardening from this. Thank you for sharing the information.

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Idaho

      Marcy - We have plenty of room for our garden but I know that some people aren't fortunate. Any small thing that can hold some soil can be a garden. Thanks for voting.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      8 years ago from Planet Earth

      What a clever idea - using a children's swimming pool! I might actually be able to manage a garden on this scale; anything bigger is way out of my skill set! Voted up and up!

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Idaho

      topaz blue - I'm glad the ideas were a help. Thanks

    • profile image

      topaz blue 

      8 years ago


      Great Hub with great content.

      Many thanks

      Topaz Blue

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Idaho

      TahoeDoc - It is tough in your area because many plants don't enjoy the cold nights, or snow! The planters are a great idea because you can move them inside on some of those bitter cold nights.

    • TahoeDoc profile image


      8 years ago from Lake Tahoe, California

      I wish we could. Our growing season is too short and the soil is so hard that it's tough to grow anything but some herbs in planters. I do like having those. I don't know of anyone here who has a proper garden.

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Idaho

      Mmargie1966 - The economic thought is a valid one. Produce can be expensive, especially the organic varieties. I guess we kind of do a garden for the cost savings too. Thanks for the comment.

    • Mmargie1966 profile image


      8 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      In today's economy, growing your own food is not only less expensive, but wholesome and free from artificial enhancers.

      Great hub! I'm anxious to try growing a small garden, myself.

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Idaho

      wayseeker - I can certainly sympathize with home much time can slip away from you when you have children. With our kids being older we engage them in garden related activities. Hopefully as yours get older they too will have an interest in developing a green thumb. Thanks

    • wayseeker profile image


      8 years ago from Colorado

      We tried a garden in our home the first few years we were here--carrots, beats, tomatoes, and some peppers. It was fun and it was great to have fresh veggies. It was definitely work, so when the kids came along, time got away from us. The garden plot is now a sandbox. Still, I may go back some day.

      In any case, this hub provides a nice basic foundation of ideas to start with. I think this one definitely has a usefulness factor to it that will make it a winner.

      Well done,


    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Idaho

      billybuc - Thanks. Our garden is pretty big too, probably in the 2,500 square foot range but we seem to fill it up!

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Idaho

      Nettlemere - I'm spoiled living in California because our weather allows so many different kinds of things to be grown here. Tomato cages are useful because they help support the plant, especially when it is weighed down by all of the fruit.

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Idaho

      cocopreme - I'm glad this will help you start your own garden, just be careful because it can be addicting.

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Idaho

      Robie - Thanks for the vote. Tomatoes and peppers are fun to grow. I'm not a big pepper eater but everyone else in the house loves them.

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Idaho

      picklesandrufus - Corn is super easy to grow. Just push a kernel below the surface of the soil and water. Just be warned that you will probably need some fertilizer if you use the same spot for corn because they consume a bunch of nutrients.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      8 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great ideas! I do nothing in a small manner, so I'm afraid our garden is a bit larger than these...quite a bit larger. LOL Very interesting hub with great suggestions.

    • Nettlemere profile image


      8 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      I've never seen anyone use a plant cage for tomatoes, so that's a useful tip. I've been put off growing them recently with the wet and sunless summers we seem to get in the UK, but they home grown tomatoes do taste the best.

    • cocopreme profile image

      Candace Bacon 

      8 years ago from Far, far away

      Great hub! I've been wanting to grow a small garden. This is a good starting guide.

    • Robie Benve profile image

      Robie Benve 

      8 years ago from Ohio

      Nice article! I grow tomatoes and peppers too, I ever tried corn in a small lot, but I've seen it done and it works great. Voted up.

    • picklesandrufus profile image


      8 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

      Enjoyed reading your hub. I am growing my own garden, and am growing these veggies, but have not grown corn. You have changed my mind and I will grow it next year.


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