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When you have a large backyard garden, you can easily plant whatever crops, vegetables or herbs you like. When your garden is small, you will need to be more creative if you want to get the most out of your garden.
Small garden spaces can still be utilized to maximize the output you can derive from them. Here are some tips on how to do that effectively.
1. Practice companion planting
Companion planting allows you to plant two or more crops in the same patch of land. Some crops do well together.
For instance, you can combine carrots and beets. Since beets have a shorter growth period, you will harvest them faster and leave the carrots to continue growing.
Tomatoes are also excellent companion plants as they grow tall. You can easily plant some other crop underneath them.
2. Consider vertical planting to get the most out of a small garden
Find ways to grow up! Vertical planting works better for vines or crops that crawl. Excellent examples include squashes and cucumbers.
Use trellis for support and train them to grow along a support structure, such as a fence. This will hardly take up any space at all.
You may even have space for something else to grow on the open space on the ground.
3. Attract wildlife to your garden
Wildlife is a wonderful addition to your small garden. Waking up to the sound of birds chirping in the morning is a beautiful feeling.
Some animals and birds also act as natural pest controls. Hanging squirrel proof bird feeders from the trees will attract the birds to your garden.
4. Plant what is not accessible to you easily
Find out what you cannot purchase easily in your local store and consider planting this in your garden.
You have to prioritize since you will not be able to plant everything in the small garden. Find out what is more valuable to you and then plant it.
5. Look for varieties that maximize space
Plants grow differently. Some grow bushy while others grow more constricted. Good examples of bushy plants include cabbages, cauliflowers and broccoli.
Example of plants that maximize space include carrots, onions or radishes. Prioritize those that maximize space.
And plant closely together – you can always thin some plants later after early harvesting. This will make room for the rest of the plants to continue growing.
6. Plant your seedlings indoors
Get a jump start on the garden season. Instead of creating a seedling bed outside, consider doing it indoors and then transplanting to the garden you prepare outside.
Meanwhile, get your garden bed ready by amending the soil if needed. Well composted manure or bagged compost will help build soil health.
You may also consider buying seedlings from a nursery and then transplanting.
7. Use railings for planters
We usually neglect the rails on our decks, balconies and patio. You can create good planter boxes on these railings and expand your gardening space considerably.
Make sure the railings are strong enough to hold the boxes. And make sure they are deep enough to hold the plants roots! Certain vegetables have much longer roots than others.
8. Prioritize high-yield crops to get the most out of a small garden.
Since you may not be able to plant everything you want on the small piece of land, you may consider prioritizing crops which will give a higher yield.
Crops like lettuce and radishes are perfect for this. They have a shorter growing span and they deliver high yields.
Seeding a new row every month will ensure you have plenty for the entire growing season. It’s a great way to get the most out of a small garden.
9. Make use of pots and containers
Pots and containers are an excellent way of extending your gardening space. You can prop them against the fence or place them on the patio.
Pots and large patio containers are excellent for growing crops and herbs that do not grow deep. We have grown lots of cherry tomatoes in large pots on a sheltered deck.
10. Use raised beds to get the most out of a small garden
Raised beds can actually give you more gardening area. When plants grow and need more space to thrive, they just fall over the side of the bed.
They will keep growing and producing and this results in more crops per square foot.
You can create raised beds using timber or steel. You won’t want to use pressure treated lumber to make raised beds. Chemicals can actually leach into the food you are growing.
Hopefully you’ve got some great vegetable garden ideas for small spaces after reading these tips for growing a small garden! This book on Square Foot Gardening will also give you lots of tricks for increasing your harvests.
Planting a small garden will enable you to eat fresh healthy food at a fraction of the cost of buying produce. Even if you are limited to a small patio, you can grow pots full of salad greens and tomatoes!
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