By: Tammy Pitts
Gone are the days when people thought they needed a huge backyard or acres of land to grow their own food at home. People have now realized they can start a garden anywhere, be it on a rooftop, patio, or kitchen counter. And while gardening in small spaces can be challenging, it’s definitely doable. Here are six tips to help you establish your small garden.
1. Choose your plants wisely
The first tip is not to choose a large variety of plants but to narrow it down to a few seeds that won’t crowd each other. Plants that are grown too close together can end up competing for nutrients and light. Plants that are properly spaced will give you a better yield versus trying to squeeze in too many plants in the same space.
For example, tomatoes and basil fare well together, but tomatoes don’t do so well when planted next to corn or potatoes. Also, take time to research which plants grow best in your region and which gardening techniques will work for you.
2. Consider the layout and light conditions
The essentials you’ll need for any garden to thrive are water, good soil, and plenty of sunlight –– and that means your garden’s layout is extremely important. Plants should be positioned in a way to receive the proper nutrients and sunlight. To maximize a small gardening space, choose a location in your yard that provides adequate sunlight.
3. Grow vertically
Vertical gardening is quite popular these days. It’s a great way to grow a lot of vegetables in a small footprint, and trellises are great for small-space gardening. Growing plants upwards not only saves space in your garden beds but trellised plants are exposed to more sunlight which helps fruits to ripen faster.
For example, green beans are a favorite of many backyard gardeners and can easily be planted on teepees. Cucumbers are another plant that will climb and prosper on a wide trellis.
4. Use containers
Containers are a great way to grow plants in small spaces because you can add them to patios, balcony areas, or even your kitchen counter. Herbs, for example, don’t take up a lot of space and will grow well in containers.
5. Say goodbye to rows and hello to pathways
Forget about growing plants single-file in long, straight rows. You don’t need straight rows –– especially since you don’t have the space anyway. If you plant in curves, your garden will look natural and informal. But do add pathways! This feature will make the space feel bigger. You can create a pathway simply by using wood chips.
6. Raised beds yield more produce
Another tip is to use raised beds. You can grow significantly more produce in the same space by using raised beds –– plus the benefits of raised beds are endless. You can keep weeds from infiltrating your garden soil, prevent water runoff and soil compaction, and you won’t have to worry much about garden pests like snails and slugs.
Don’t feel limited by the amount of outdoor space you have. In fact, many of us do not have acres and acres of land or even the time to have huge plots, but we can still enjoy eating home-grown juicy tomatoes from the vine or home-grown vegetables hot off the grill by embracing the space we do have.