There are plenty of vegetable crops that can be grown in containers and have a small footprint in the soil. More importantly, you want to get as much food as you can from that small space and that requires making some tough choices.
Today we will look at more than just what to grow, but how you garden in a small space to maximize the production.
Choose Your Plants Wisely
You may love cauliflower but it requires a lot of space and a long growing season to produce just one head. In the same space that you grow one cauliflower, you could get 12 bush or pole bean plants, which will produce hundreds of beans throughout the growing season. Here are my five favorite veggies for small-space gardens:
- Salad greens
- Pole beans
Soil is Essential
If you want to make the most of a small space, then you need to baby your soil. Pamper it by treading lightly so as not to compact it. Mix in plenty of yummy amendments, and be sure to stay away from any harsh pesticides and herbicides that will hurt the microbe, bacteria, and critter crew who work tirelessly to provide you with nutrient-rich soil.
- Soil Food for Greener Gardens: Find the Best Amendments in Your Own Backyard
- Worm Plunger: a Brilliant Solution for Small Garden Composting
- Make Compost Tea With This DIY Home Brewer
Planning for Success
It takes some research to plan a garden. There are some who just grab a bunch of plants they love and plop them in the ground, but this can backfire an give them NONE of the vegetables they love despite a lot of wasted efforts. There is so much information available to help you do a little legwork and be successful as a gardener. When starting any garden, I like to sit down and write out a plan. Here are some resources to help with that.
- Designing the Vegetable Garden: How to Make a Garden Map
- How to Do a Soil pH Test at Home
- These Powerful Herbs & Flowers Deter Pests Naturally in the Vegetable Garden
Start Your Own Seeds
You can never be sure what started plants have been through when you adopt them. Did they have the best soil? Were they watered constantly and properly? Were they treated with pesticides? I believe that those first few weeks of germination and plant growth determine how healthy the mature plant will be. So start your own seeds to make sure they get off on the right foot.
Read more about seed starting in the Ultimate Seed Starting Series!
- Seed Starting 101
- Seed Starting in Mini Greenhouses
- Grow Light Shelving for Seed Starting Indoors
- Seed Starting Containers: The Real Dirt – Part 1
- Seed Starting Containers: The Real Dirt – Part 2
- These Easy & Economical Soil Blocks Will Change How You Garden
Location, Location, Location
Right plant, right place. That is the mantra of gardeners. If you plant a sun-loving tomato in shade, you won’t get much in the way of fruit. Sure, you will get a few, but it won’t give you a good yield-to-effort ratio. Don’t be fooled to think that sticking your lettuce in full sun will give you the same results. Well, actually, it will. The lettuce will be so hot in the sun that it will bolt quickly to set seeds, making it bitter. Since we want to eat the leaves (and not the fruit/seeds) keep lettuce plants cool with some shade for the best yield.
Do you have any more tips for increasing yields in homegrown vegetable gardens? Please share!