Growing Vegetables in a Small Garden

Overview

With careful management, small gardens can have all of the benefits and few of the drawbacks of traditional larger gardens. Smaller gardens, regardless of whether they are traditional or raised bed in nature, generally do not require you to walk on and compact the soil. Vegetables benefit from looser, more friable soil and better aeration. Choose small varieties of your favorite vegetables to maximize the use of space. Grow vertical climbers such as beans, cucumbers and peas, since you have more vertical than horizontal space.

Step 1

Choose petite varieties of your favorite vegetables. Small varieties of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and most other fruiting vegetables are available. Unless your family is very large, a few of these can produce more than enough vegetables for your family.

Step 2

Prepare your garden by digging in a 1 to 1 ratio of compost to soil about two weeks prior to your planting date. Dig to a depth of 8 to 12 inches.

Step 3

Start vegetables that prefer warm weather indoors in sunny window. Sow seeds in a flat filled with starter mix according to package instructions. Use a mister to water them so you do not disturb the seeds or the soil.

Step 4

Sow cool-weather vegetables such as greens and lettuces directly in the soil outside after the final frost has passed. Pay special attention to package instructions, as specific types of seeds have different planting depth requirements.

Step 5

Transplant seedlings of hot-weather plants outside after the cool-weather crops have been established. Squeeze the cells in the flat to loosen the root balls of your seedlings. Plant in holes that are twice the width of each root ball. Cover the root balls with soil and tamp down firmly so roots are not exposed to air.

Step 6

Mount trellises for climbing vegetables as soon as you put the transplants in the ground. Use a mallet to pound them into the ground, and use pieces of pantyhose to lash the vines to the trellises. Used pantyhose is resilient and strong, yet will not harm your plants.

Step 7

Fertilize your plants with an all-purpose vegetable fertilizer according to package instructions. Water consistently whenever the top 2 inches of soil seem dry. Be prepared to water more frequently during periods of very hot weather. Extremely hot days may require you to water once in the morning and once at night. Do not water during the midday hours on very hot days, as you may burn the leaves of your plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat
  • Starter mix
  • Mister
  • Compost
  • Shovel
  • Trellises or poles
  • Used pantyhose
  • Mallet
  • Fertilizer

References

  • Iowa State University Extension: Small Plot Vegetable Gardening
  • Hume Seeds: Vegetable Garden Layout
  • Vegetable Gardening Guru: Vegetable Garden Plans

Who Can Help

  • United States National Arboretum: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: small vegetable garden, growing vegetables tips, vertical veggie gardening

About this Author

Amrita Chuasiriporn is a professional cook, baker, and writer. In addition to cooking and baking for a living, Chuasiriporn has written for several online publications. These include Chef's Blade, CraftyCrafty, and others. Additionally, Chuasiriporn is a regular contributor to online automotive enthusiast publication CarEnvy.ca. Chuasiriporn holds an A.A.S. in culinary arts, as well as a B.A. in Spanish language and literature.