One of the most common mistakes new gardeners make is the failure to make good use of their garden space. I know. I did it too. However, over the years, I have learned that there are many ways to extend the space in your garden without increasing its size. Even small areas can support a surprising number of plants if you plan wisely.
These plants may be labeled as miniature, bush or patio plants – but they all have one thing in common. They require very little room to grow compared to their ‘normal-sized’ counterparts. Cucumbers, tomatoes, squash and many other vegetables come in pint-size versions ideal for small spaces.
Growing plants on trellises save space in the garden and look great too. Try pole beans on a trellis instead of traditional bush beans to produce more beans in the same area – or let your cucumbers grow vertically instead of sprawling on the ground. There is a wide variety of trellises available in your local home improvement center – from tiny teepees to large arbors. Choose one that matches the size and decor of your garden.
Many vegetables such as lettuce, greens, beets and onions can be grown in wide rows. Instead of planting them in a single line down one row, broadcast the seeds over a row that is eight to 10 inches wide.
By using double rows spaced four inches apart, you can grow two rows of peas or beans in the same amount of space it takes to grow one. Use double rows when you can to save space and produce an abundance of fresh veggies.
Mound soil into a loose hill, two to four feet in diameter and six to eight inches high. Plant vegetables over the entire surface of the hill, spacing seeds to the recommended row spacing. For example, plant beans four inches apart over the entire hill. This creates a mini raised bed right in the garden.
I’m often guilty of neglecting this space-saving tool. By replanting quick-growing crops like radish, lettuce and spinach as soon as the first crop is harvested you can double or triple your produce from the same piece of ground.
Plant veggies in containers and place them around the perimeter of your garden plot – or line the back of the bed with them. You’ll be surprised at how many extra vegetables you can grow with this simple technique.