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Small Vegetable Garden

Updated on January 28, 2014

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

A-Frame 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.

  

  

  

  

  

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.

Jump Start 2' T5 Grow Light System (Stand, Fixture & Tube)
Jump Start 2' T5 Grow Light System (Stand, Fixture & Tube)

Two foot wide stand with adjustable light for getting your veggies off to an early start. Also available as a four foot wide model

 
Jump Start CK64050, Germination Station w/Heat Mat, Tray, 72-Cell Pack, 2" Dome
Jump Start CK64050, Germination Station w/Heat Mat, Tray, 72-Cell Pack, 2" Dome

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.

6) Intercropping

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.

Any thoughts?

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    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 3 years ago from West Virginia

      I found that I like gardening a lot more since I got a tiered garden.

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      Did you know you can grow tomatoes upside down in a 1 litre bottle? Just cut off the top and plant seeds or feed the top portion of the plant out of the hole.

    • yonique88 profile image

      yonique88 4 years ago

      Very informative lens. Some of the info. I knew about but some I was not aware of. This lens has very nice photos, too.

    • Carpenter76 profile image

      Carpenter76 4 years ago

      Never heard of that upside down tomatoe planter haha. That's a good idea!

    • profile image

      gin001 4 years ago

      Growing up my folks always planted a large garden. I guess this is one reason I love vegetables so much. That Topsy Turvey tomato planter looks really neat. Really enjoyed your lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks for the tips. I love small compact gardens.

    • profile image

      Iloveflowers 4 years ago

      I like ur lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Brill lens, really need to get one of those hanging tomatoes thinggies.

    • suepogson profile image

      suepogson 4 years ago

      Looking at all these lovely vegetables is making me really hungry! But my toms are still green... Lovely lens. Thank you

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      I did some balcony gardening years ago and it was fun. Small garden: great pleasure:)

    • Rosaquid profile image

      Rosaquid 5 years ago

      Dig deep and never walk on the soil!

      Thanks for the great lens.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I keep a small raised bed garden in the summer, but have put mostly berry bushes, rhubarb and strawberries in it. That means each spring it is ready to go with no planting needed.

    • TransplantedSoul profile image

      TransplantedSoul 5 years ago

      Sometimes planning and using a small space can get better results. I enjoyed reading this lens.

    • profile image

      RitaDern 6 years ago

      I wish I would have read this before I planted my very first vegie garden! Thanks for your insight.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      Now THOSE are really cute ideas!!!!! I would love to do that!!!

    • encouragingwords profile image

      encouragingwords 6 years ago

      It's that time of year; thanks for the advice!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Some really great ideas here for us veggie lovers! Blessed by a Squidoo Angel on 12/28/2010. Have a great day! All of your lenses are awesome!

    • WiscBear profile image

      WiscBear 7 years ago

      Nice lens with some very good information. we have a small, round garden (14-ft diameter) and it produced quite a bit last year. with this information, should be able to do better this year

    • Bellezza-Decor profile image

      Bellezza-Decor 7 years ago from Canada

      Great lens about vegetable gardening in small spaces. Lensrolled into Small Space Gardening!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 7 years ago

      I love to dig in the dirt!

      5* and lensroll to The Kitchen Garden

      Lizzy

    • profile image

      MarinaKuperman 8 years ago

      Wow that's a great idea... because like many of you i'm really concerned about what my family eats and this way i can make sure they have only tha best.... Great lens....!!! I fived you and fanned you :)

    • GonnaFly profile image
      Author

      Jeanette 8 years ago from Australia

      [in reply to TheShutterbugEye] It is probably not too late :-) Depending on where you live, you should be able to plant some vegetables. Check out my best vegetables to grow page and follow the steps to see if you can figure out what to plant.

    • profile image

      TheShutterbugEye 8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing. This isn't a suggestion as I don't have a vegetable garden but I've been thinking about trying a small vegetable garden but afraid I'd fail at it. I may just give it a go. Is it too late to start?