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Small Space Gardening: Make The Most Of The Space You Have

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Small space gardening options can be great whether you live in the flatlands of corn country or you live in a highrise. Sometimes there is this idea that gardening has to be this big production. Like you aren’t legit if you don’t have at least 25 tomato plants and a garden big enough to lose your dog in…

Whether you have acres or square footage for your living space you can create a garden no matter where you live.

Having a small space doesn’t mean you can’t have a great garden. The main pieces of a garden are simple.

  • Great soil
  • Sun Exposure
  • Water

Outside of these components, there are few restrictions on what a garden needs to grow and be a thriving garden.

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Sure, smaller spaces do present some limitations for gardening, but many of them can be overcome with some clever hacks and ingenuity. Try these small-space gardening options to create the right garden for your unique space no matter how small.

Container Gardening In Small Spaces

Whether your space is small, it doesn’t have adequate soil, OR you have pesky little feathered critters roaming about your property reaching havoc on your gardens…. containers offer a clever way to create beautiful gardens.

Containers come in all shapes and sizes and can be attached to railings, fences, and walls. You can even use old junk and turn it into a garden space. HOWEVER!!! Be careful not to use too many old things like boots or suitcases as an alternative garden because it could start to look cluttered and like a little granny garden. Sometimes those pictures look cute in a magazine but in real life… mmeaee not so much… Just saying…

small space gardening with a chair holding a flower pot
small tea pot with a geranium growing out of it.

If you don’t have adequate soil or you just don’t feel like dealing with amending the soil you can fill containers with soil perfectly designed for the fruits, vegetables, and flowers you want to grow.

Companion Planting For Small Space Gardening

Now I am no companion planting expert but it really is just thinking through the plan for the gardening space and the plants you have chosen before you plant your container gardens.

What I love to do is mix my favorite herbs with flowers or ornamental plants to make the pots look a little nicer. Because as the herbs grow they just don’t look as nice.

Some fruits and vegetables need more space than others to grow.

Also, some plants need more and less exposure to the sun. Planting fruits and vegetables that complement the needs of one another helps extend small spaces.

Tall plants can provide space and shade for low-lying plants that need protection. Plants that produce early can be put alongside plants that need more time to grow and they won’t compete for space.

small salad garden

Succession Planting

I am more of a flowers and herbs kind of girl. When it comes to planting herbs that you only use a few leaves of at a time like basil, plant one plant in early spring then another mid-summer. Use a dehydrator to dry what is left of the basil plant to get you through until the new plant start is strong enough to handle harvesting.

For things like spinach and lettuce for a salad garden you what to also do succession gardening. 

Vertical Gardening For Better Small Space Gardening

When you can’t go low, go high! It’s easy to create infrastructure to plant vertical gardens. Or to be honest you might already have something around your property that could work.

Last year I moved my pumpkin plants to a more poultry-free area on the OUTSIDE of our fenced-in backyard. I planted the pumpkins closed to the chain-link fence and they naturally started to grab the fence and grow up it.

So before you plant your naturally claiming plans have a look and see if you can find some outdoor spaces that would work. 

With some ingenuity and affordable hardscape, you can easily plant vegetables, flowers, and plants upwards, along fences, and buildings. This style of gardening is very effective in urban gardens where bare land or large yards are harder to find.

Choose Compact Varieties

Many traditional fruits and vegetables have hybrid varieties that are smaller than their traditional-sized cousins.

This means you can grow a wider variety of foods without taking up as much space. Cucumbers, tomatoes, and other vegetables come in dwarf sizes, but their flavor is every bit as big and tasty as the full-sized variety.

Spacemaster Cucumbers have short vines making this variety ideal for containers or hanging baskets. They grow slender, 7-1/2” long slicing cucumbers. Space plants 18-24” apart.

Baby Belle and Confetti Sweet Peppers: These variety of pepper plants are great for a small garden plot, containers, or even window boxes. They only get up to 18″ tall.

Small Tomato Plants

Tomatoes regardless of size need even watering and the smaller size container you use the more often they will need to be watered. If you start to see tomato leaves curling under but are still green and firm then they are getting too much water. 

If they are limp and feel easy to tare then they are not getting enough water.

Roma Tomatoes: these are some of my favorites because they will give you a larger tomato than the others listed. They’re great for eating on burgers, salads, canning, and making pasta sauces or salsa. 

If you cook a lot of Italian recipes it’s definitely worth planting a few Roma tomato plants in your garden.

A patio-type tomato plant is small and tends to grow bushier instead of growing tall and leggy like a normal tomato plant. They tend to only get 24” high and only need about 18″ of space. These are great container plants. I have grown them in hanging baskets and they have done very well.

You can often find some reference to a plant being suited for a small space garden design on the info tag that you find in the pot at the garden center.

New Big Dwarf Tomato: A great option for getting larger fruit in a small garden bed.  It is compact and only gets up to 2 feet tall. Its fruits grow from 8 ounces to 1 pound. 

Husky Cherry Red:This “dwarf indeterminate” produces large clusters of 1” fruits over a long season on 48” high plants. Space plants 18-24” apart.

Tiny Tim Tomato: A teeny plant for containers growing to about 18 inches tall. You can use a pot as small as 6-inches with adequate drainage. But with a small and mighty plant comes small but mighty fruit, the bright red cherry tomatoes come in at about ¾ inches. 

Small Tomato veriety

Small Space Garden Ideas For Planters

Plastic Planters

  • Elevated Plastic Raised Garden Bed Planter Kit for Flower Vegetable Grow Brown Set of 4 – See On Amazon
  • Planter Box – Decorative Outdoor Garden Box for Potted Plants – 14.75″D x 14.75″W x 13″H – See On Amazon
  • Classic Home and Garden Haverhill Bowl 12″, Antique Copper – See On Amazon

Terracotta Pots

  • Large Terra Cotta Pots with Saucer- 4 Pack Large 6” Terra Cotta Plant Pot with Drainage Hole, Terracotta Pot for Indoor Outdoor Plant – See On Amazon

Over The Railing Pot Holders

  • 8 Pcs Hanging Flower Pots Metal Iron Bucket Planter for Railing Fence Balcony Garden Home Decoration Flower Holders with Detachable Hooks, White, 4 Inches – See On Amazon
  • Metal Iron Hanging Flower Pots for Railing Fence Hanging Bucket Pots Countryside Style Window Flower Plant Holder with Detachable Hooks Home Decor,White,3 Pcs – See On Amazon
  • 3 Pack 8″ Railing Planter Holder Hanging Flower Stand Balcony Deck Fence Flower Plant Pots Holder for Indoor Outdoor Use – See On Amazon

Elevated Garden Beds

  • UPHYB Garden Bed Stand with Legs Wooden Elevated Planter Box Kit Grow Vegetables, Flowers Stand for Backyard, Patio, Balcony – See On Amazon

 Don’t let a small space keep you from creating a beautiful backyard garden. There are plenty of ways to overcome a lack of space and make the most of whatever you’ve got to work with. 

As long as you choose your favorite plants that can grow in the client you live in the gardening plot can be created where you need it to be. 

Get creative and enjoy the benefits of gardening no matter what size your outdoor space.

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