You don’t need a lot of space to grow fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits. You don’t really even need a garden. Plant breeders know that after taste, home gardeners want a high yield in a small space, so they’ve been developing more varieties that can grow in a small foot print or even live in containers all year long.
Vegetable gardening used to be the poor relation of ornamental flower gardens.
Perennial borders reigned and large, messy, vegetable gardens were hidden in the back yard, usually the domain of the man of the house.
Vegetable gardens were about producing food, not beauty.
Now that vegetables have taken a more prominent place on the table, they are gaining more respect in the gardening world.
And with the increased interest from home gardeners, there has been a surge in the development of new varieties: colorful novelty vegetables, heirlooms, ethnic varieties and compact growers. For more amazing product for you gardens just click here: gardensonata.com.au
You don’t need a large area to have a vegetable garden. You do need good soil, plenty of sunshine, a water source and probably a fence.
If you think the deer love your Hostas, the entire woodland community is going to enjoy your vegetable garden. If you plant it, they will come.
If you have a small sunny spot in your yard, or even on your patio, you can grow vegetables. Here’s how to get started.
Vegetables need a good 6 or more hours of sun each day. Without sun, the fruits will not ripen and the plants will be stressed.
Even if you are sun challenged, there are a few vegetables that can survive in light shade, lettuce and other greens, broccoli and cole crops. Don’t forget to visit here: gardensonata.com.au
Vegetables also require regular watering. Without regular water, vegetables will not fill out and some, like tomatoes, will crack open if suddenly plumped up with water after struggling without for awhile.
You can’t always rely on rain. If you have the means, a drip irrigation system is a definite plus for a vegetable garden.
The new component systems are really quite easy to install and cost a lot less than most people think.
And you’ll save money on water, because it goes directly to the plant’s roots. Less is lost to evaporation.
If you don’t want to opt for drip irrigation, try and site your vegetable garden near a water spigot. You’ll be more likely to water if you don’t have to drag the hose out. You can also check Hydroponics:Alternative Methods for Gardeners. For more gardening equipment just click here: gardensonata.com.au
This final consideration is essential.
Vegetables need a soil rich in organic matter.
Soil is important to the growth of all plants, but more so with vegetables, because even taste is affected by the quality of the soil.
That’s part of why wine from the same grape variety can vary from region to region and why some areas grow hotter peppers than others.
If you can provide these three basics: sun, water and great soil, you can have a vegetable garden.
Granted, a small space vegetable garden may not be enough for subsistence farming, but it will be enough to grow great tasting tomatoes, some beautiful heirloom eggplants or an endless supply of cutting greens.
If you have limited space, consider what vegetables you can purchase fresh in your area already and what vegetables you truly love and/or miss. See also: Hanging Vegetables Garden
If you must have a giant beefsteak tomato or a row of sweet corn, the space for growing other vegetables in your small vegetable garden will be limited.
But even then, you can choose varieties that are bred to grow in small spaces.
Anything with the words patio, pixie, tiny, baby or dwarf in their name is a good bet. Just because a plant is bred to be small doesn’t mean the fruits will be small or the yield will be less. For more garden accessories just click here: gardensonata.com.au
Most seeds and seedlings will tell you the mature size of the plants you are selecting.
Knowing that, you can space things out and see just how much you can fit into your space.
More likely however, you will do what most gardeners do and squeeze in as many seedlings as you can fit into your garden, then deal with the crowding later.
That’s one way to get a large yield from a small space, but not the best.
If you are truly short of space, inter-plant your vegetables with your flowers. There’s no rule that says you can’t mix the two.
It can be a bit harder to harvest, but many vegetables are quite ornamental in their own right.
If you do opt for a variety of vegetables in your garden, we would recommend the compact varieties and also vining crops that can be trained up on supports.
Pole beans take up less space than bush beans.
Vining cucumbers and squash, as aggressive as they can be, actually take up less area than their bush cousins.
Companion planting is often touted for the benefit of cutting down on pest infestations, but it also serves well to conserve space.
Shade tolerant plants will benefit from being planted next to taller crops.
Basil likes a respite from hot sun and does well next to tomatoes.
Lettuce will keep producing all summer if shaded by almost any taller plant.
Early harvested vegetables, like spinach, radishes and peas, can be planted with slower growing crops like broccoli or peppers, which will not take over the space until the spring harvested vegetables are gone.
Companion planting is an art and it can be one of the more fun challenges of gardening.
Why limit it to the vegetable garden. Mix your vegetables and flowers.
Succession planting is a great technique for any vegetable garden large or small, but it is all the more valuable when space is limited.
Succession planting means reseeding quick growing crops every 2-3 weeks during the growing season.
By successively planting, you will have just enough produce for your family’s appetite and you’ll have it all summer, not all at once.
Crop Rotation is a great tool for keeping pests and diseases out of the vegetable garden. Rotating your vegetables so they grow in different areas of the garden each year is an excellent way to cut down on diseases and insect pests that over winter in the soil.
This really isn’t possible in small vegetable gardens. You’ll just have to be vigilant about not letting problems get out of hand.
If a large scale problem should occur, such as squash beetles or septoria leaf spot on tomatoes, seriously consider not growing the crop for a year.
It will be a sacrifice, but one year without is better than several years of a disappointing crop.
Virtually any fruit, vegetable or herb can be grown in a container, if the container is large enough.
As with ornamental container gardening, this is a great way to control the soil, sun and growing conditions of your edible plants.
It is also a great way to squeeze edible gardening into the smallest spaces, by siting them on your patio, front steps or driveway.
Here are some tips on specific vegetables in containers. For gardens accessories just click here: gardensonata.com.au
Growing edibles indoors on a windowsill is an easy, low space option for plants that are frequently harvested, like herbs and lettuce.
This idea isn’t just for gardeners with limited space.
Any gardener can extend their growing season by potting up some herbs for indoor growing.
If you have the sun, you can even grow some vegetable indoors.
I don’t have much space, what are the best vegetables to grow outside in my small garden?”
This has been one of the most often asked questions this year which is encouraging as one of the first pieces of advice is start small! Why? Because you’re less likely to give up growing your own if you don’t take on too much at once.
So you’ve installed a couple of raised beds, you’ve cleared a space for some veggies somewhere bright and sunny in your garden, or you’re even planning on planting vegetables among your flower borders or in containers; now you’re wondering what you might grow in your small vegetable garden that will give you the most return for your efforts. Don’t forget to click here: gardensonata.com.au
Grow what you like to eat– no sense growing spinach if you can’t stand the taste.
Choose vegetable varieties that are expensive in the shops– shallots, mangetout or early potatoes can all add a few extra cent to your weekly budget which means you may never buy them or they’re only ever special treats.
Choose leafy veg that you can harvest a few leaves off and they will keep growing (known as cut and come again), beans or peas that will keep producing the more you pick them, bulbs that will break up into smaller cloves or small vegetables that don’t take up much space.
Grow something different. Most supermarkets only sell the most popular vegetables with chards and pretty spinach varieties such as Bordeaux never seeing their shelves.
In no particular order, here’s a list of vegetables that have grown well in gardens I’ve worked with of all shapes and sizes.
Were not suggesting you grow them all at once, mix and match and see what grows well for you.
Every gardener plants sweet basil, and for good reason.
The tiny aromatic leaves awaken the senses, adding bright flavor to pesto, salad dressings and more.
There are more than 80 varieties of basil, including a few “miniature” types that are perfect for small-scale gardens.
A variety called Pistou is the most diminutive form of sweet basil, ideal for planters or window boxes. The tight green mounds can be used for edging in a larger planter.
“Cut-and-come-again” is a welcome quality in any garden plant.
Harvesting leaves actually encourages more growth.
With an upright growth habit and brightly colored stems, rainbow chard works well in tight spaces.
Because chard is in the beet family, it is easy to grow from seed, but note that the seedlings will need to be thinned to ensure proper spacing.
For small containers, it is easier to start with transplants instead of seeds — no thinning required. For more gardens accessories just click here: gardensonata.com.au.
Oriental eggplants are known for their compact habit, making them a good choice for pots and planters. Choosing a favorite among the dozens of varieties is difficult.
Gwenael Engelskirchen, trials manager at High Mowing Organic Seeds, says Ping Tung Long eggplant earns a spot at the top of her list.
“Slender purple eggplants hang from compact plants of this lovely heirloom variety, ” she says.
“The plant stays small but has the potential of producing a lot of eggplants.” Because the 10”-long fruit is narrow, it’s ideal for slicing and cubing; skin is tender and the flavor is mild.
Sow seeds indoors and transplant to pots and planters when warm weather arrives. Tip: When starting seed for eggplants and peppers, use bottom heat for better germination.
Place seedling trays on a germinating mat set at 85 degrees F., or on top of the refrigerator, where the heat from the appliance will provide warmth.
Hot peppers are the ultimate ornamental edible for window boxes and compact gardens.
The plants are ornamental and the fruit is long-lasting.
“It’s hard to pick a favorite,” says Nina Burokas of Sustainable Seed Company, who admits that she is crazy about all hot peppers.
“Black Hungarian pepper is so colorful that it not only belongs in the garden, but on the patio in pots as well.”
Purple flowers highlight the emerald-green foliage. During the season, the fruit turns green, then black and finally red.
The plants can grow to about 30-36”, which makes them a little big for a window box, but fine for larger containers. For smaller plants, try their Patio Firepepper seeds.
The narrow fruit grows upward, resembling flames. Color goes from yellow to orange and matures red. For more amazing gardening product just click here: gardensonata.com.au
Fast-growing and prolific, cherry tomatoes can overwhelm a trellis in short order.
However, growers have introduced compact varieties that are tame enough for smaller spaces.
For instance, Cherry Cascade grows happily in a hanging basket and produces hundreds of tomatoes. The variety is recommended by Susan
Romanoff of Gardener’s Supply Company, who grows them in an elevated raised bed in her northern Vermont garden.
“Perfect scale! Slightly draping but not so long or heavy that they reach low to the ground,” she says.
Fruit ranges from the size of a marble up to a golf ball. It has good tomato flavor — not candy-sweet like some cherry tomatoes.
Plants are relatively tolerant of drought and the fruit is less prone to the cracking and blossom-end rot, which frequently afflicts the full-sized tomato varieties.
The word mesclun means miscellaneous greens, attributed to wild weeds once foraged by peasants in Europe to supplement their limited diets.
Many of the mixtures found today are made up of quick-growing arugula and mustards, and are not ideal for containers.
However, you can create your own container-friendly mesclun. Consider Italian endives and escaroles, which can be harvested leaf by leaf.
Or, try purslane, which has unusual, succulent leaves that are high in omega 3 fatty acids.
Seed companies offer mixes that are suited to the season, so you can start with a spring mix.
After harvest, replant with a blend that can withstand summer heat, followed by a third planting of fall greens, such as cold-tolerant kale and collards.
Seed for mesclun is widely available, including mixes such as Wrinkled Crinkled Crumpled Cress and Purple Rapa Pop Mix.
By the way, Purple Rapa is a cold-season salad mix selected for solid purple leaves, cold hardiness, and disease resistance.
Best color will manifest between the fall and spring equinoxes.
Lettuce comes in all shapes, sizes and colors, and the key to a great-looking container garden is to mix it up.
Plant different types of lettuce, starting with Little Gem, a mini romaine that forms a sweet, dense heart. See also: Lettuce in your Garden? Why not?
Add some Merlot, a striking red butterhead, and Lolla Rossa, a loose-leaf type with frilly leaves.
Lettuce typically grows from seed to salad in 45 days. Plan to harvest leaf-by-leaf to stretch out season, or have a successive crop ready to fill in the gap. Don’t forget to click here: gardensonata.com.au
Don’t forget that fruit, herbs and vegetables can be grown in containers too so if your beds are full of veg, why not consider growing some fruit outside your door or on your balcony.