Grow Vegetables In Small Spaces - (2023)

Small Vegetable Garden Ideas

18 Ways to Grow Vegetables in Small Spaces

High density or intensive gardening techniques are another method for improving the productivity of a small garden. These can be implemented when designing a small vegetable garden or adding to an existing plot.

  • Raised beds Rectangular blocks containing several closely-spaced rows of plants can increase the available square footage for growing veggies by reducing aisleways between the rows.
  • Companion planting Research shows that growing mutually beneficial species together saves space, reduces pests and improves pollination. The three sisters practice of planting corn, beans and squash together is one type of companion planting.
  • Interplanting In this practice, a fast-maturing crop is planted amid a slower growing one. Sowing spinach and corn seeds in the same space allows gardeners to harvest the spinach before the corn plants need more space.
  • Avoid overcrowding While intensive gardening methods are designed to grow more vegetables in less space, planting more closely than the plants minimal spacing requirements can lead to decreased yields. Overcrowding increases disease pressure as well as competition for nutrients, water and sunlight.
  • Resist overplanting Vegetable plants such as zucchini, pole green beans and tomatillos will continue to flower and fruit when harvested regularly. Be sure to limit the space devoted to these types of crops to avoid unwanted veggies.

Tips For Vegetable Gardening In Small Spaces

Do you have a small garden space that you aren’t quite sure how to fully utilize for your garden grown vegetables? There are many different ways to make use of smaller growing spaces. In this article, organic gardening expert Logan Hailey walks through her top tips for maximizing space in smaller garden areas.

By Logan Hailey Last updated: September 29, 2022 | 12 min read

You dont need a big backyard or a giant greenhouse to have a successful garden. In fact, some of the highest-yielding gardens crank out delicious fruits and veggies from a small space. This is excellent news for those who may not have room for a garden, such as city-dwellers.

Once you start thinking outside the box , everything from vertical gardening to intercropping can multiply your growing space right before your eyes. Even a small sunny area on a balcony or patio can make for a great space to grow plants.

You will be shocked by the diversity of deliciousness that can be squeezed into a small space! The secrets to optimizing a small garden include choosing the right crops and varieties, companion planting, and continuous seeding throughout the season. Lets dig into how you can grow more in less space!


  • 3 Final Thoughts
  • Plan For Better Yields

    Keep em comingKeep your small garden productive throughout the growing season by planting a series of crops in succession in a garden bed or container, starting with cool-season, early-maturing crops in the spring followed by mid-season and late-summer vegetables that will last until fall. The idea of succession planting is to not let valuable garden space sit idle, and to be ready to plant something new whenever a space opens up, says Bellamy. The same technique can also be used to extend the growing season for one type of crop, particularly fast-maturing edibles such as radishes and beans. By planting them in two- to three-week intervals they will reach maturity at different times.

    Choose good companionsInterplanting is similar in concept to succession planting, except that you maximize yields by pairing up different crops that are good companions and grow at different rates. For example, you can plant sugar snap peas in early spring and plant pole beans among them. By the time the peas are spent, the beans will be ready to take their place.

    Succession planting and companion planting and great ways to increase your yield when growing vegetables in a raised bedthe only downside is that they wont really work in containers.


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    Build A Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

    Raised garden bed ideas are a popular way to grow edibles as part of small vegetable garden ideas.

    Wood, brick or sleepers can be used to frame your bed, and there are plenty of kits on the market or you can follow Monty Don’s raised bed tips. Fill your beds with good-quality soil, and then add your fruit or vegetable crops.

    You may like to plant in neat rows or decorative patterns for a mini potager effect, mixing in some companion planting.

    Rotating the crops ensures pests and diseases dont build up, and also makes the nutrients added by one plant available to the subsequent plants.

    Sweet Golden Baby Belle Peppers

    Grow Vegetables In Small Spaces - (1)

    These lovely peppers grow in tight bunches of vibrant yellow, making them an ornamental addition to your gardening space, as well as a nutritional one. This particular variety only grows up to three or four inches. But, what they lack in stature, they make up for with big and sweet flavor. They grow in a bush-like pattern, so they are ideal for containers.

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    Grow Vegetables Over Your Pergola

    Vertical garden ideas are a great way to go when designing your small vegetable garden ideas. Traditionally rambling roses or the best flowering climbers are the natural choices for training over a pergola, however, you can also use them to support vegetable vines. The best vegetables to pair with your pergola ideas are cucumbers, squash, pumpkins and beans as these require a support system in order to grow.

    Growing your crops vertically will not only make the most of the available space but will also help to protect them from slugs and other pests they are also easier to care for. ‘When growing vegetables over a pergola, it is easier to reach the fruit as it grows,’ explains Lindsey Hyland, founder of UrbanOrganic Yield . ‘You’ll also save on your garden’s water consumption since the plant’s roots are confined to a much smaller surface area.’

    If you’re wondering how to begin growing vegetables over a pergola, then learning how to grow cucumbers vertically is a great place to start.

    What Kind Of Vegetables Can I Grow In A Small Space

    Herbs and leafy greens can grow in small containers or hanging baskets. Fruiting plants such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and cucumbers can be grown in larger containers if you have the space. If you want to grow your own herbs and greens, you can buy them from your local garden center or grow them yourself at home.

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    Should Tomatoes And Peppers Be Planted Together

    Tomatoes Although its usually recommended to not plant tomatoes and peppers right after each other in the same bed every year, they can be grown together in the same garden bed if the soil is well-drained and the plants are not too tall. Potatoes Potatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow in your garden.

    They are easy to harvest, and they are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, iron, manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin B-6. You can also use them as a vegetable in soups, stews, sauces, salads and other dishes.

    Make The Most Of Vertical Height With Hanging Baskets

    Clever Ways to Grow in Small Spaces: Container Vegetable Gardening for Beginners

    The best plants for hanging baskets aren’t just trailing blooms, in fact hanging baskets can also be used to grow a wide range of vegetables, helping to increase the productivity of your small vegetable garden ideas.

    Taking up no ground space, they provide a versatile growing platform for a wide range of vegetables, working particularly well with cut and come again lettuce, rocket, and spinach as well as being able to be used for growing tomatoes or as herb planter ideas. Since the vegetables are elevated above the ground they are inaccessible to slugs, snails, rabbits and other animals who may decimate your crops when grown at ground level protecting them from this helps to boost your yields.

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    Grow Vegetables In Small Spaces

    Spring is early this year, with growers busy in their fields planting spring crops.Homeowners, too, are busy planning gardens and buying plants.

    Unfortunately, many people with limited space forgo a vegetable garden. This need notbe the case, since many vegetable varieties can be planted in small spaces. Culturalpractices can also reduce the amount of space you need.

    Tomatoes are garden favorites many people think require a lot of space. But manytypes of tomatoes don’t need much space to grow. Often, size differences in tomatoplants are distinguished by the terms determinate and indeterminate.

    What do the terms mean?

    Determinate tomatoes grow to a certain size, then produce flowers and fruit. There canbe varying degrees of determinate-type tomatoes as well. Those that are stronglydeterminate are often called patio tomatoes because they can be grown in a pot on apatio or terrace. Some of these varieties will only grow 1-2 feet tall.

    Indeterminate tomatoes, on the other hand, keep growing and setting flowers and fruitthroughout the growing season.

    Watermelon and cantaloupe usually require a lot of space to grow. The vining nature ofthese plants will quickly cover some real estate.

    Fortunately, some varieties of both are “dwarf.” That is, they require less room togrow. Often these dwarf varieties are called bush or short-internode types.

    Beans and southern peas also have varieties that are bush types rather than vining. Theyrequire less space and offer excellent yields.

    Great Ways To Grow In Small Spaces

    #1 Growing In Containers

    Perhaps the easiest growing method of all for small spaces are with containers. Whether it is in large flower pots, decorative baskets, or simple 5 gallon buckets, containers let you grow vegetables on patios, decks or anywhere!

    To grow vegetables in containers, it all starts with selecting the right plants and the correct size container. Add in good soil, good drainage and good support and youre in business!

    One of our most exciting experiments at the farm this year is growing a small garden in our new 5 gallon bucket planter boxes. Our hope is to show just how much produce can be grown without a real garden space.

    The inexpensive boxes can be made with basic 2 x 4s, and can grow up to four large plants each for a big harvest. And at 32 wide and deep they can fit on decks and patios with ease.

    No matter what container you choose, growing vegetables in pots is a perfect way to grow a little of what you love, and have it nearby!

    #2 Simple Raised Beds

    Simple raised beds are another great way to grow for those limited on space. But what makes them even better is they dont have to fancy or expensive to look and work great!

    With just a few 2 x 6 common boards, you can create an attractive raised bed growing space that works. Raised beds not only fit in small spaces, they also have serious advantages over traditional gardening. Like fewer weeds and easy maintenance.

    #3 Growing In Straw Bales

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    Can You Use Tomato Cages For Squash

    Growing summer squash vertically in tomato cages helps to save space, encourages air circulation, and allows the squash to be more visible in the garden. If you are growing squash in a greenhouse, it is important to keep the temperature as low as possible during the growing season. This will help to reduce the risk of root rot, which can be a serious problem in summer.

    Preventing Pests And Disease

    Grow Vegetables In Small Spaces - (2)

    Unfortunately, smaller gardens can be more susceptible to pests and diseases. Rotating crops fights against fungus and pests, but this practice isnt always possible in small plots. If you have an infestation or a serious fungal problem, its best to not grow that crop for a year.

    Water the soil instead of the leaves to prevent fungal problems, and water earlier in the day so the leaves dry out again in the sunshine.

    If you do have pesky insects, pick them off by hand, or use one of the many natural remedies that deter bugs, like diatomaceous earth, aromatic herbs, neem oil, or a spray of dish soap and water. To keep out other pests like rabbits and deer, surround plants with chicken wire or fencing, and push it at least 6 inches below the soil so burrowing animals cant get underneath.

    Linnea graduated from Skidmore College in 2019 with a Bachelors degree in English and Environmental Studies, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Most recently, Linnea worked at Hunger Free America, and has interned with WHYY in Philadelphia, Saratoga Living Magazine, and the Sierra Club in Washington, DC.

    Linnea enjoys hiking and spending time outdoors, reading, practicing her German, and volunteering on farms and gardens and for environmental justice efforts in her community. Along with journalism, she is also an essayist and writer of creative nonfiction.

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    Favour The Fast And Furious

    Choosing faster-producing and more abundant plants will generate a higher yield from your space. Rocket, English spinach, radishes and lettuces will provide something to munch on in about four weeks. Sprouts produce within about five days and microgreens within 14 days. Another tasty but fast bunch include buk choy and other Asian greens, kale, broccoli, mustards, mizuna, shelling peas, snow peas and parsnips: ready for harvest in up to 50 days. Your next-fastest growers include baby carrot, cucumber, beetroot, beans, squash, zucchini and cherry tomato. Herbs, including parsley, coriander and basil are also relatively fast growers. Just be aware that plants grow more slowly in winter due to lower sunlight and therefore less photosynthesis.

    If youre lean on space, avoid planting cauliflower, cabbages, celery, onions and asparagus. These slow-growers hog three to eight months of bed space. Asparagus can take two years to mature. However, if you love the idea of these foods, dont let that deter you. Another idea is to plant onions between lettuces and in the meanwhile enjoy faster-growing alliums like garlic chives, spring onions and shallots.

    Prolific croppers include lettuce, rocket, basil, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, chilli, okra, potatoes, beans, kale, shallots, peas and rhubarb. High-yield fruit and nuts include mulberry, guava, apple, avocado, blueberry bushes and blackberry and in tropical regions jackfruit, breadfruit, banana, papaya, coconut and macadamia.

    Use Trellis For Compact Small Vegetable Garden Ideas

    A super-smart small vegetable garden idea is to try vegetable garden trellis ideas, to make the most of the space by using vertical surfaces to grow crops up this is particularly useful if you are looking for ways to incorporate vegetable plants into courtyard garden ideas.

    Add in some herbs, which make excellent potted plants and can also be beneficial for companion planting, and you could have all you need to rustle up a delicious homegrown meal at your fingertips.

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    Embrace Grafted Fruit Trees To Maximize Space

    You dont have to have an orchard to be able to grow your own fruit. Dwarf fruit trees are some of the best trees for small gardens and can be planted directly into an ornamental bed, valued for their pretty blossom as well as fruit, and intermingled with roses as ideal companions.

    There are plenty of dwarf varieties that will thrive as part of your small vegetable garden ideas or even as part of your container garden. From apples and pears through to cherries and apricots, there are dwarf varieties available for most of the best fruit trees meaning you don’t have to miss out despite your small plot.

    If you are really short of space however, consider grafted fruit trees. In duo fruit trees, two different trees are grafted onto a single root stock, this means you can have multiple varieties of fruit from one tree. For example, this tree combines apples and pears on a single trunk talk about making the most of your space! To ensure your new tree has the best start in life be sure you know how to plant a fruit tree.

    Tips For Planting The Perfect Shade Garden

    How to Grow Garden Vegetables In Small Spaces

    Thinking about planting a shade garden but aren’t sure of the best way to do it? It’s important to plan out your shade garden properly, and make sure you have the right selection of plants. In this article, certified master gardener Laura Elsner shares her 17 tips for creating the perfect shade garden!

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    Experiment With New Crops

    Experimenting with growing new crops one of the most fun and exciting parts of gardening! There is always something to learn, and youll be surprised by what you discover when growing new crops.

    It takes some trial and error to get the hang of growing something new, so if you have space it is a great idea to keep a container or two for experimental planting.

    Heres a personal story:

    I never liked peas growing up, but one spring I decided to plant a few sugar snap peas in my garden, just for the heck of it. When I tasted the first peas I harvested I almost had my mind blown they were SO good! Fresh sugar snap peas are now one of my absolute favorite veggies to eat straight out of the garden.

    Who knows you might find a new favorite vegetable or variety this way! This can provide you with new and exciting things to mix in with your old favorites from the garden.

    How To Choose The Best Vegetables For Small Gardens

    Be productiveWhen you only have limited garden space to work with, choose plants that will give you big yields in a small area. Many vegetables and herbs have compact cultivars that are container friendly and ideal for small gardens.

    Make prioritiesIn a small garden, you have little room to experiment or plant crops that will go to waste. Make priorities by planting what you love, whats unique, and what will thrive. Also plant what tastes best freshly picked. Lettuce meets all my qualifications for a perfect crop, says Bellamy. I use a lot of it, and it tastes best straight from the garden. Its also fast growing, attractive, space efficient, and easy to grow.

    Come back for moreMany types of garden greens will feed you throughout the growing season if you harvest them continuously. These cut-and-come vegetables keep on giving by sprouting new leaves when the outer leaves are snipped off. Examples include loose-leaf lettuce, chard, kale, collard greens, mesclun, and escarole. Lettuce varieties like Salad Bowl and Red Salad Bowl are great for containers or any small space. Instead of letting the lettuce head up, you can pick the outer leaves continuously, says Middleton.

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