Growing vegetables in a small space garden takes a little planning, but you can have a bountiful garden even in a small area. Use container gardens to expand your space. Smaller varieties of vegetables are good crops for a small garden. You can also plant early and late vegetables in the same bed to increase your growing space.
Cucumbers are a fast-growing warm weather crop. New dwarf varieties, such as liberty, salty, crispy and burpless, are ideal for small gardens. The vines need a trellis or wall for climbing. This keeps the cucumbers off the ground and gives a garden more space. After the danger of frost, plant seeds directly into garden beds. In mid- to late-summer, plant a second crop for fall harvest. Plant seeds 1/2 inch to 1 inch deep. Once seedlings appear, thin out to about 9 inches between plants. Cucumber roots are shallow and need plenty of moisture.
Tomato is a warm-weather perennial, though it is usually planted as an annual in summer gardens. Start indoors in early spring or buy seedlings for your garden. Standard varieties require a lot of space, but dwarf varieties like pixie hybrid, red robin, cherry and patio hybrid are good choices for a small plot or container. Plant 12 inches apart in rows in a sunny spot. Tomato plants require plenty of water. Plant basil or dill at the base of the plant to help ward off pests. Use stakes or cages for each tomato plant to keep the stem from breaking under the weight of the fruit.
This cool-season vegetable is ideal for a small garden bed, because it is fast-maturing and easy to grow. Some varieties of radish, such as the Cherry Belle, take as little as 23 days from planting to harvest. Plant radishes in a sunny spot with moist, fertile soil. Varieties such as Burpee white, Champion and Cherry Belle can be planted in early spring. Late-maturing varieties such as the French breakfast and icicle can be planted in late spring or summer. Plant a row every 10 to 14 days so that you will have an ongoing harvest. Radishes can be planted between other vegetables. Fertilize soil before planting and keep soil moist. Sow seeds 1/2 inch apart, then thin out to allow 2 inches between plants. Plant a winter radish crop of China white or tama hybrid in late summer.
Lettuce thrives in temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees and should be planted in early spring. Leaf lettuce varieties such as buttercrunch, romaine and oak leaf are good choices for small gardens because they can be planted closely--about 4 inches apart. Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep in a row. Plant three crops of lettuce 10 to 14 days apart to ensure a continuing harvest. Lettuce does not do well in summer, but another crop can be planted in late summer or early fall. Water lightly and frequently. Overwatering can cause disease because it attracts bugs to the leaves.
Beans are a warm-season vegetable that should be planted after the last frost. Plant bushy varieties, such as blue lake or derby bean seeds, 1 inch deep and 2 to 4 inches apart in rows. Pole varieties require more space. Don't overwater bean seeds because this will cause cracking.
The carrot is a hardy, cool-season plant that grows quickly. Plant carrot seeds directly into your garden bed in early spring. Plant another crop in midsummer. Varieties to plant in a small garden include orbit, thumbelina, baby spike and little finger. Sow seeds 1/2 inch deep in early spring, 2 to 4 inches apart. For summer plantings, plant 3/4 inch deep. Water using a sprinkler and keep soil moist. Pull weeds frequently.
Pepper plants require warmer temperatures. The plants mature slowly, so it's best to start seeds indoors in late winter. Transplant seedlings into the garden bed after soil is warmer in spring. Some varieties to consider are red cherry, yolo wonder, canape, jalapeno and sweet bell peppers. Plant seedlings 14 inches apart with well-drained, moist, fertile soil. Fertilize seedlings after transplanting.