How to Get Started with a Small Vegetable Garden and Making the Most of the Space
By using creative gardening techniques, people are growing enough food in a small vegetable garden to sustain their families by producing high yields in small spaces.
Table of Content
The Small Vegetable Garden Plot
Using a garden planner is never a bad idea when starting a vegetable garden for beginners to get an idea about how much room each plant choice will need. You might be surprised at how much can be grown in small spaces.
The wonderful thing with vegetable and herb gardens is they can be grown anywhere. They can be in raised beds or wooden and plastic barrels, in galvanised troughs or a fenced-in garden to keep away the bunnies and other vermin.
Plants Will Require Regular Watering and Maintenance
Now you can decide on what you want to grow and whether you’d like to grow starter plants or seeds. You will find that plants deplete the nutrients at a quicker rate with small gardening than large-scale gardening.
Look for what grows best in your area and your available space for planting. It can be an exciting time planting seeds in the soil and watching your vegetables grow.
If you’re gardening in small spaces like container gardening, garden boxes and raised beds, you need to give extra attention to your soil’s nutritional needs. You can also add organic compost, top-dress soil and spray with compost tea regularly.
- Getting your soil tested and amended is good for optimal growth.
- You need to plant at the right time of the year.
- Growing from seeds can save you even more money.
- You can even grow vegetables indoors.
Know, too, that with vegetables, timing is everything. You’ll soon have a 4’x4′ raised bed divided into sixteen square foot cells can be used growing a year’s worth of vegetables for one.
The same technique can also extend the growing season for one type of crop, particularly fast-maturing edibles such as radishes and beans. Gradually increase the size of your garden beds, the variety of plants started each year, and the complexity of growing techniques until your happy with the results.
Vine crops like pumpkins or watermelons need space.
Besides being well suited for small yards, square foot gardening also requires less weeding, watering and thinning than a traditional vegetable garden. Your first attempts starting a vegetable garden as a beginner can get out of control, you’ll quickly learn that creating small is the way to go.
If you have got a lawn, building raised beds is the number one way to save space in your small vegetable garden. A raised bed will save time and guarantee a good crop – a must if you have a small vegetable garden and don’t want to waste any space.
Prepare the Soil in Your Small Vegetable Garden
Healthy soil will grow healthy plants, and healthy plants provide better nutrition and can resist pest and disease. After a season of gardening, you’ll have a better idea of any specific soil deficiencies to address.
Depending on the size of any garden space and the quality of the initial soil, amendments may comprise a good percentage of the growing material. However, there are a handful of simple things you need to have to grow a small space vegetable garden, sun, water, and good soil.
Potatoes Can Spread Blight to Tomatoes, So Keep Them Apart
When growing within the ground is not an option due to space limitations, poor soil, or lack of sun, containers and raised beds are great alternatives. For containers, you can use almost anything that holds soil, from grow bags to old metal buckets, but you need to provide good drainage.
You only add fertiliser and soil amendments to the planting area, which saves time and money. And you’ll find planting seeds straight into the soil where they will grow is the easiest and most basic method of starting vegetables in a garden.
The fertiliser should be covered with soil and watered immediately to prevent the much-needed nitrogen from escaping into the atmosphere. Large amounts of organic matter may be added to the ground using “green manure” these are grown to be incorporated back into the soil.
Should I Line My Raised Garden Bed?
You can line your raised bed to make it more durable and to prevent toxins from leaching into the soil. For lining, use landscape fabric found at garden supply stores or cloth fabric from clothing. Avoid non-porous plastic, as it can retain too much water and discourage beneficial insects and worms.
You can rake extra plant seed into the soil around existing vegetables, then water. This approach, which uses almost every square inch of the prepared soil, works well for most types of vegetables.
With planting directly in the soil, it’s a method of vegetable gardening used for centuries. As with ornamental container gardening, vegetable container gardening is a way to control the soil, sun, and growing conditions of your edible plants.
This can also be ideal for a slightly larger space and may be a great alternative to direct ground planting, especially if your soil conditions are not perfect. Don’t forget that many plants require well-draining soil, so placing rocks in the bottom of a raised bed to create additional drainage space below the soil is a sensible step.
Close spacing makes watering and harvesting more efficient.
With your soil, it’s always a good idea to do a pH test with a kit, to discover how acidic or alkaline it is. A first and essential tip about growing a tomato in a raised bed is the selection of soil.
Approximately one month prior to planting your garden, the green manure crop, if grown, should be rotated into the soil. Don’t forget your raised beds also since they are built on top of the ground and may require some enriched soil.
Growing Your Vegetables in Small Spaces
Benches, chairs, mirrors and garden art add design elements to any vegetable garden space. If you are fortunate to have the area required, you could create your vegetable garden by grouping together a selection of large planters.
Accessible rooftops make excellent spaces for growing plants, herbs, and vegetables. Usually, with the smaller garden, there is less weeding involved since plants will be closer together, and every bit of garden space is used throughout the entire growing season.
Soil Too Wet Can Cause Seeds and Roots to Rot
The aim should be to minimise walkways and maximise growing space. You could, instead of only digging up a patch of your lawn, build raised beds. These can save up to four times the area you have available for growing veggies.
By using the same space for two or more crops, it’s called succession planting. Other techniques, such as inter-planting and companion planting, are different ways to use garden space efficiently.
- Remember, the bulk of the work will only be done once.
- Growing a beautiful vegetable garden is possible.
- Consider raised beds for no-bend gardening.
- Grow vegetables in your raised bed garden.
As soil settles over time and becomes compacted in the raised bed, a layer of rock in the base ensures there is always space for excess water to drain away from plant roots. If weeds do find space, it’s easy to pull them from the loose, rich soil.
Really, the simple way to get a great harvest from a garden deck is to use raised beds. By following these steps, you’ll soon be on your way to a yield of vegetables, even if you’re short on space.
Purposeful planting makes sure you use the space for vegetables you’ll use and enjoy. This is a more easily achievable alternative to having several vegetable beds, which would require more space and more effort to create. If your area or time is limited, start with just one raised bed.
Summer and winter squash are the right choice for first-timers.
Intensive, high yield gardening uses growing space more efficiently than traditional methods. Since we have little garden space to work with, we also need to consider crop maturity dates and succession planting to help maximise our garden harvest.
One way to save space is to grow upwards instead of across! Beans are a sure producer and should be spaced four plants per square foot in small vegetable garden plans.
Getting Ready to Plant in the Smaller Garden
Though most vegetables you’ll want to grow will be started directly in the garden from seed, it’s often best to start with a plant, using plants usually shortens the time to harvest by a month or more.
With the garden beds, place plants in rows or a grid pattern. Work with companion plants also to attract beneficial insects and improve yields.
Some Summer Crops Don't Fare Well in a Cooler Climate
You can create a vertical vegetable garden by having pots against your walls or fences in which you can plant your growing produce. When you grow in pots, choose patio or dwarf varieties and shallow-rooted plants such as lettuce, radishes, garlic, and leeks.
You could even put them in containers on your front porch, patio or balcony or plant them in your backyard. After the plants are established, water less frequently but more deeply. Allow the surface soil to dry out between irrigations, which will promote deeper root growth, eventually making plants more drought tolerant.
What Months Are Best for Growing Vegetables?
Cool-season vegetables will grow their best in early spring or late summer and autumn when the weather is cooler. Warm-season vegetables grow best during the late spring, summer, and early autumn when the weather is warm. Cool-season crops must mature while the weather is cool; otherwise, they will go to seed.
When growing vegetables, herbs or fruits, stagger your rows, so a plant in one row is between two plants in the other row. Transplants are frequently used in cooler areas where growing seasons are short, so vegetables have more time to mature before the first frost.
Remember that saving money with vegetables usually means keeping the costs low while still growing productive plants. Cool-season vegetable beets, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, are planted in early spring and harvested by mid-summer.
Consider growing bags or containers to start your garden.
Boost your garden’s productivity with intensive cropping, so you space two or three plants close together in a bed about 4 feet wide. In cold regions, when the growing season can be less than 100 days, a tomato or pepper plant that you start in the garden from seed will not have time to mature before frost.
Some plants can be established in the garden either by direct seeding or by transplanting. Some plants love the cooler months of the season, and seeds can go into the ground as early as March, with continuous plantings for ongoing harvest.