In our tiny little town, we have tiny little backyards.
Our home sits on less than 1/5 of an acre, actually. Yet, we strive to grow 75-80% of our own food each year. It’s truly possible, you just need to know how to maximize your growing space. Here are 8 tips to help you get the maximize your gardening space.
Use succession planting.
I can’t say this enough. You should try and extend your garden planting by keeping the plants going all season long. For example, even though peas go from seed to harvest in 60 days, we start ours indoors about 4 weeks before would normally plant them in the ground. We start new seeds every three weeks indoors as well. This gives us a jump start on them and every three weeks, we are pulling old plants and planting new seeds. We are able to get over 300 plants in a season in one 16’x2′ bed this way. That’s the ONLY way we will ever get enough to be able to preserve some for later. You can use a hoop house to help you get more growing time, no matter where you live as well.
Think food, not lawn.
We gave up the dream of “the perfect lawn” and instead chose to grow food. Our backyard is 90% food…either for us, the bees, or the chickens. We have just a tiiiiiny spot with lawn chairs to relax and enjoy the beauty that is our garden, and watch our chickens peck at the ground.
You can make it pretty by planting lots of flowering vegetables, especially on the outer edges. I like to put purple beans, edible flowers, and peas on the edges. That just makes it look so colorful. Think of vegetables with gorgeous flowers like cucumbers, tomatoes or eggplants.
Think outside the bed and box.
If you have a fence, try hanging gutter or old soda bottles or even use buckets to grow plants in. Those pretty flower boxes that can hang on a deck? They are great for lettuces, carrots, or even radishes. Tom Thumb peas also grow great in these boxes, and you can get 2 bushing pea plants that can produce a lot of peas in one flower box. Chives, spinach or even strawberries grow great in boxes that can be lined up on a balcony or patio.
Use lots of containers.
If you don’t have a large lawn, or if you live in an apartment, you can get grow lots of veggies in containers. A 5 gallon bucket will hold a tomato or cucumber plant easily, and takes up less than 1 foot of space. You can also move them around, if need be to get more sun. Potatoes, green beans, swiss chard and even zucchini are also great in buckets.
Go vertical with your garden.
Instead of planting sprawling plants like zucchini, squash, or pumpkins flat, train them onto a trellis. You’ll get the same harvest with much less space usage. Another benefit of growing vertical is that you can get creative and create shade for chickens, ducks or rabbits where there was no natural shade before.
Think outside the yard.
Grow your herbs in your kitchen windowsill, or even lettuces. You can use an old colander hung on an old plant hanger to grow a salad garden that takes up very little space.
Use every space in your yard.
If you grow it for the root, or the fruit, you need full sun.(think potatoes, tomatoes, peppers) BUT, if you grow it for plants or leaves, you can put it in a more shady area. (think lettuces, peas, broccoli and cauliflower)
What are some ways you can think of to maximize your garden space? Be sure to pin this to your favorite board for later.