Growing Your Own Food Can Be Very Rewarding
With the days getting longer and winter melting away, it’s no surprise that our minds have turned to gardening. Just because you have a small space doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the fun! With the right mindset and a little bit of research, you’d be surprised by how much food you can actually grow in a very small garden.
Knowing where to start and what to choose can be a little overwhelming, and there are many things to consider before you go running off to your local nursery. Start by prepping with this handy guide, and then get out there and start growing!
1. Herbs Are a Small Garden’s Best Friend
Herbs just may be the best place to start. Not only do fresh herbs save you money and time, but they also smell great and grow well in very small spaces. Choose herbs like basil and mint for their bright summer flavors. More savory choices, like thyme and rosemary, will add a lot to your grilling in marinades and vinaigrette dressings.
2. Go Vertical!
When you’re short on space, you have to start thinking in 3D. Using trellis and railings are great ways to maximize every square foot, even the space above the ground level! Summer squash, cucumbers, and green beans all thrive in vertical growing conditions. Use boxes to form different heights for your containers, and keep a lookout for places to use hangers.
3. Keep It Contained
Use pots and containers to maximize every inch. Stack short plants at ground level, and taller ones on shelves and boxes above and around them. Get creative and save money by using old containers and recycling out of use items from around the house.
4. Know Your Stuff
If your goal is to grow a ton of food, then you’d better start with the sun as your primary focal point. Pay attention to how many hours of direct sunlight your space gets, and choose your plants accordingly. Learn how much water each plant requires, and look into pruning tips to maximize your harvest.
5. Expand Your Growing Season
Research how long each plant will take to grow and cycle your harvesting throughout the season. Re-purpose containers after quick seasons to grab some fall veggies too. Another advantage to growing in planters, is that you can move your garden to different points in the yard or indoors as the year goes on. Move plants inside and squeeze out another few weeks of warmth from the autumn months.
6. Hang Out With Your Plants
Hanging planters are a great way to maximize a very small garden space. Plan ahead and hang them at an easy working height to make life easier when it comes time to prune and harvest.
7. Grow Greens
Loose leaf lettuce and greens are also perfect additions to very small gardens. They grow quickly and can be picked all season long. Some greens can grow from seed to salad in less than a month!
8. Window Boxes
Hang it out the window! The window box is a great size for all sorts of plants, and doesn’t take up any floor space either. Just remember to look out below! Dripping dirty water does not make for great neighbor relations, and can damage wood or other landscape elements over time.
9. Tomato, To-mahto
Ahh, the lovely tomato; every small gardener’s favorite. The tomato is so easy to grow and offers many diverse varieties that fit every sized space. Try small tomatoes in a hanging planter, or grow larger ones in a box to create shade for other, less sun-friendly plants.
10. Seeds or Seedlings?
When you have a very small space, sometimes it’s just easier to buy seedlings from the nursery. The advantage to this is two-fold: not only do you not have to germinate the seed, but you also shorten your growing season dramatically and get right into the fun.
Using seeds, of course, gives you the extra satisfaction of growing food from inception, but also allows you more control over exactly which varietals you’re growing. If you’re a beginner, start with seedlings. Work seeds in as you get more experienced in vegetable gardening.
Time to Get Into the Garden
It turns out that growing food in a small garden isn’t so hard after all! Learn about your space, plan ahead, and get those seeds in the ground! Before you know it, you’ll be eating delicious home-grown vegetables all summer long.