With a lot going on in the gardening world today, you can’t let a little or no garden space keep you out of the fun. You know that’s why I’m here for you, and now that you found me on my page, I’ll share some of the top vegetable garden ideas for small spaces I have gathered in my years of gardening.
The truth is that we all have access to spaces around us, but it only takes a creative mind to identify the areas in no area. Vegetable gardening has gone beyond owning 10-acre farmland, but even on your narrow front porch, you can grow something fresh for your family.
There are different hacks you can try to make the best of your small garden space, and I happen to have some of these tips for you today.
If you are new to farming, I’m sure that sounds strange right? But in simple terms, what I’m trying to tell you is to make use of your small space by planting upwards in a vertical way rather than the traditional outward system. Vertical growing in a way helps you maximize your garden space effectively and, in another way, offers support to your garden plants. Vertical farming allows you to grow up and down instead of the traditional side to side method.
Pole beans and peas are natural vines and can grow vertically around support, but some plants like the cucumber, squash and sometimes tomatoes need your help to steer their growth towards the right direction of support, and other times, you may need to tie their stems to the poles for extra support until they are able to weave around the relief on their own.
To start a vertical garden, you need twines for tying your plants to support, poles, which are mostly available around you. You could cut down tree branches or bamboos to make excellent support but makes sure you have your gloves on, and if you want a more rigid one, fencing panels would be high. Some are designed as trellis while others are upright enough to allow vertical growth.
The benefits of vertical gardening to your garden plants include:
- Less susceptibility to diseases because almost all parts of the plant are exposed, and you can quickly identify an infected plant and take the necessary steps to stop the spread.
- Give room for more air circulation around the plants for fast-drying after the rains or daily watering.
- Reduce the risk of pest and insects attack as they are being raised from the ground to a close-up view. Most ground plants are easily prone to pest attacks and diseases because they are closer to the earth.
- Less damage primarily caused by moving the plants around while harvesting or stepping on spilling vines.
- The best garden crops for vertical farming are usually the uprising climbers and vine plants such as peas, tomatoes, pole beans, winter and summer squash, melons, cucumbers, fluted pumpkins, and many others.
How to set up a vertical garden
- Choose a perfect spot for the vertical garden. An ideal place being somewhere exposed to enough sunlight as your garden crops will be needing doses of sunshine for healthy growth. Also, ensure that the spot is close to the water supply for watering.
- Select an excellent vertical structure. There are different structures you can use for support in your vertical garden. Structures are ranging from tree branches, bamboo poles, fence panels, wire cages, walls, tripods or pyramids. Make sure you select structures pointing upwards and are strong enough to bear the weight of your vegetables as they mature. At this point of selection, you have to think long term, when your garden crops are fully grown and loaded with fruits and vegetables. Vegetables like cucumbers and tomatoes will need much support in maturity than peas which are lighter in weight.
- Set the support before planting. As a part of your garden preparation, make sure the support is set in place so you won’t have to do that when the plant starts to grow. Setting up before planting reduces the risk of damage that could happen if supporting when the tendrils are increasing. Let the plants grow to weave themselves around the support and not otherwise.
- Don’t let the support block the plant’s access to sunlight and also ensure that the vertical support is firm.
- Plant compact vine varieties. Instead of going for the bush varieties of your selected crops, there are compact vine seeds ideal for small spaces without growing so wild. Remember you want to maximize space. Pole beans are more adapted to small spaces than other beans varieties.
Asides the fact that this method of gardening helps you conserve space, there is also an appeal it adds to your any garden. So, if you are a gardener limited to small area or yard, you can get more from gardening in containers.
There are different pots or containers out in the market, but you have to know what you want and space you have before you make a purchase. The things to look out for before you start a container garden include:
The size of your area: you can choose the type and size of container fit for your yard depending on the size of space available for use. Garden pots are available in different sizes, though it is much easier to grow plants in bigger containers than in the small ones. Bigger pots can hold more soil and keep it moist for a long time regardless of temperature change while small pots are prone to drying and would require more watering to keep the plant alive.
- Pot drainage: make sure the container you’d use in your garden allows water drainage, and this is very key to keeping your plants alive. A pot without waste will be waterlogged, which is unhealthy for your plants.
The material of the container is also an important thing to consider. Garden pots are usually made from different materials. Each type of material has its pros and cons which you’d have to weigh before buying the pot. While a clay container can look very attractive, it can be easily damaged and cannot support the growth of hardy perennials or shrubs.
- A concrete container, on the other hand, lasts longer and is available in different sizes and shapes, but once filled with soil, you have to forget about moving because it can be very heavy. Plastic or fiberglass pots are lightweight and very affordable, but if you get the thin ones, they get fragile and stiff with age or exposure to weather.
- Metal pots are strong but heavy and conduct heat which is not good for your plant roots. Wooden containers are more natural and protect the root from temperature fluctuations, and polyurethane foam pots are lightweight, resistant to chippings and cracks and insulate plant roots against temperature change.
How to prepare your containers for planting
- Choose the perfect location. Containers can be heavy when filled with soil and difficult to move, so it’s best to place the pots in position before filling with soil.
- To fill the pots, block out the drainage holes with paper towels, so less soil pours out from the hole.
- Moisten the soil mix before filling into the pot. You can do this either by watering the soil or filling the pots with enough water and mix with soil, and this is to make sure that the soil is evenly dampened before planting. Remember, pot soil has to be light, fluffy, and should contain enough organic material for water and nutrient retention.
- Don’t overfill the containers. Always leave enough space for watering.
- When choosing the crops to plant, choose compact plant species whose growth is adapted to space, though almost any vegetable can grow in a container.
Benefits of container gardening
- Unlike other gardening types, you can change your garden location from time to time
- Space management.
- Controlled soil quality
- All year growing. You’ll have your plants available all year round.
- Fewer pest attacks. Though there is no total guarantee of no pest, because the crops are planted in a cleaner environment, their exposure to pest and diseases will be more controlled.
So now that you are all set, you might be wondering what kind of plants to grow in a pot. Here’s a shortlist of plants that grow well in containers:
- Herbs like Anise, cilantro, Oregano, Basil, thyme, Fennel, Mint, Chives or Parsley also do well in container gardens.
Other top vegetable garden ideas for small spaces are:
Succession planting which involves reseeding fast-growing crops like spinach such that as you are harvesting a batch, the new ones are coming into maturation. In this case, you only plant what you need or vegetables that are scarce or expensive in your area.
The raised garden bed is also a great way to maximize small spaces. You should also try to plant compact varieties; they grow well in small spaces.
Lastly, learn how to combine plants. This is called comparison planting. You can combine shade-tolerant plants with tall ones, and early harvested plants with slow-growing ones, such that as you harvest one, the other has enough space to complete its growth cycle.
There is no such thing as no space in the world of gardening because every little available space serves a bigger purpose only if you can see it. We hope you get the best from these vegetable garden ideas for small spaces you can use for your own benefits.
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