Small Vegetable Garden
Small Vegetable Garden
A small vegetable garden can prove to be a blessing - there will be a lot less weeding, less watering and less sowing and, if you are adding compost or other goodies to your soil (which I assume you will be doing), you won't need as much. You will, however, still need to plan your garden, preferably on paper or on the computer screen. It is much better to make your mistakes there than in your actual garden where there will be hard, heavy work involved and extra expenses.
Picture courtesy of cooee on morguefile.
Maybe your yard consists of a balcony or small courtyard. Don't despair. Many vegetables grow happily in pots. Even if you have no yard to speak of, you may still be able to grow some vegetables or herbs inside on a sunny window ledge.
Small vegetable garden design elements
1) Raised vegetable beds
Using raised vegetable beds is a great choice for a small garden because they will enable you to grow more vegetables in a smaller space since you can plant them closer together. It will also extend your growing season, since raised beds tend to warm up quicker.
2) Vegetable supports
Trellises, ladders and tepees will enable some creeping or climbing vegetables (e.g. peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, climbing beans) to grow up rather than spreading out and taking up a lot of horizontal space.
Three Panel Trellis
Flexible Garden Grids, Set of 4
- Make your own support for your vertical garden
This video shows the advantages of a vertical vegetable garden for a small space. Patti also shows how you can make your own support and attach it to a raised garden bed.
- How to train your vegetables onto your vertical supports
3) Mounted pots
Use your vertical space by using mounting pots and window boxes on a sunny wall or fence. Make sure you water enough!
- Vertical Gardens
Here are some pictures of what some creative people have done to use their vertical space for growing. Click each picture to see it bigger. Not all the plants shown here are vegetables, but I reckon you could use small vegetables or herbs (such as lettuce, strawberries etc) in many of these systems.
DIY Vertical Gardens
- Instructions for making a gutter garden or living wall.
- Instructions for making a free-standing vertical garden with four tiers .
- Make your own colorful garden wall from terracotta pots.
- See how one family mounted gutters to the side of a wall to create a vertical garden.
- A vertical garden made from a shoe organizer.
Vertical Living Wall Planter
Gronomics Vertical Garden Planter
Plant & Flourish Vertical Garden with Built-in Irrigation
4) Start seedlings indoors
Extend your growing season by using seedlings or by starting your seedlings indoors. This enables you to leave other crops in the ground longer (and therefore have a longer harvest) before you have to pull them out to make room for the next season's veggies.
Two foot wide stand with adjustable light for getting your veggies off to an early start. Also available as a four foot wide model
This heated germination station seed starting system is 11 x 22 inches and allows you to start 72 seedlings while controlling the temperature and humidity.
5) Hanging pots / hanging baskets
Grow strawberries or cherry tomatoes in a hanging pot or basket. Just make sure you give them enough water as these pots have a tendency to dry out quickly.
Practice intercropping. Grow fast-growing vegetables (such as lettuces, green onions and radishes) amongst the more slower growing varieties (such as cabbages and sweet corn). The quick-growing veggies will be harvested before the more slowly growing ones have reached their full size.
Choosing vegetables for your small vegetable garden
Because your space is limited in a small vegetable garden, you should avoid vegetables which take up a lot of space (such as asparagus, brussels sprouts, celery and pumpkins) or take a long time to produce their harvest (such as leeks, squashes, parsnips and some potatoes).
But your reason for wanting to grow your own vegetables should also be considered when determining which vegetables to grow. For instance, if you want to grow huge vegetables to enter into the show or county fair, you may want to grow a pumpkin or a squash and nothing else!
Please add your suggestions for small vegetable gardens here.