Urban gardening isn’t always easy, especially since space is often hard to come by. For those of us with less space than we’d like, it’s important to be smart when organizing your garden so we can get as much out of it as possible. I’ve learned some tricks, from experience and from friends, about how to manage a garden in a small space.
The first thing to consider is whether you have the appropriate amount of sunlight and irrigation in your space. For most balconies and window boxes, watering isn’t a problem so much as direct sunlight, so assess where the most sunlight is likely to fall. For smaller yards, be aware of where your water drains in case of flooding- use garden boxes if you’re dealing with standing water or soil issues.
The next thing to keep in mind is that you can’t expect to be able to raise corn and pumpkins in a small space. Choosing your plants requires a little discernment and an eye towards which plants grow vertically instead of horizontally. I use a lot of garden stakes, cages, and such to keep my taller plants growing in an orderly direction, but that can make a small space feel smaller, so use discretion for how high to build. Especially given that you’ll have very limited space for plant roots, be mindful of how cramped you want your plants to be.
Get the most for your space with these veggies:
One of the best ways to conserve space when gardening in the city, especially if you’re relegated to a smaller yard or even a balcony, is to erect a pole bean trellis. Trellises come in many shapes, but most take up space vertically, freeing up room for other plants. Beans are heroes of dietary fiber and, as a bonus, I’ve always found them to be rather forgiving when it comes to maintenance.
Tomatoes & Peppers
Tomatoes are space savers in much the same way that pole beans are. They like to grow tall and can be managed in a small space with the use of a tomato cage. Peppers are one of my favorite vegetables to eat. Like tomatoes, they tend to grow somewhat tall and they do relatively well in smaller planters.
Radishes & Beets
These root vegetables are more forgiving than others when it comes to space. In general, beets don’t mind cramped spaces and are hardy when it comes to limited amounts of light. Radishes are little treasures that grow exceedingly fast and take up barely any room at all. Especially if you have a compact box garden, these two should be considered.
A favorite of city-dwellers for their kitchen window boxes, herbs can be the simplest things to grow and to use in cooking. Even if you have a ton of space in your yard, you might find an herb window box is too convenient to pass up.
When designing your garden for small yards, balconies, or window boxes, keep in mind how much sun your plants will get and how accessible they are for watering and harvesting purposes. Just because you have a limited amount of space at your disposal doesn’t mean you can’t have a thriving garden.
What are your favorite vegetables for growing in a squeezed space? Let me know in the comments below. 🙂
[author] [author_image timthumb=’off’]https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-C1bqx6XOwFA/AAAAAAAAAAI/AAAAAAAAACM/TwdwQk-qflQ/s90-c-k-no/photo.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Mackenzie Kupfer is a writer and gardener. She’s raised gardens, small and large, in several climates across the US. [/author_info] [/author]