There is a multitude of vegetables suitable for growing in a small garden. Native American people had the best idea for maximizing space. They grew corn, beans and squash in the same place. The corn was planted, and after it grew, beans were planted so they could climb up the corn. Squash was planted at the base of the corn and grew to create mulch that kept weeds down. In today's gardens, plants can be placed a bit closer together when there is a minimum of space, and some can be grown vertically on fences or trellises.
Lettuce and spinach can be grown in a very compact space. The loose leaf varieties of lettuce are the best, because they take less time to grow than head lettuce and use less room. Once the greens stop producing in the midsummer, when it gets hot, the area can be used for another crop that does not take long to mature. In some climates, more greens can be planted in the same place for an autumn crop.
Carrots, beets, radishes and parsnips can be grown in a small area very close together, especially if they're harvested as baby vegetables. Rows can be planted less about eight to 10 inches apart. Potatoes usually take a great deal of space, but there are several ways to minimize the area they need. Place two tires on top of each other, and fill with soil. Plant potatoes inside the tires and let the vines grow up above the second tire. Carefully fill in with soil over the vines, leaving the ends sticking out. Keep adding tires and soil until there are five standing on top of each other. At the end of the growing season there will be a bumper crop of potatoes grown in a very small space.
Tomatoes, Peppers and Onions
Tomatoes and peppers can be grown together in a small area, provided the tomatoes plants do not shade the shorter peppers. To keep everything neat, prune tomatoes and remove suckers every week, and trim them to a compact size. This will produce larger and better fruit, as well. Some cherry tomato varieties can be grown in hanging baskets above the garden. Onions can be planted and harvested as green onions because they take less time to mature. If full bulb onions are desired, they can be planted around the perimeter of the garden so they take less space. Garlic can be planted in this manner as well.
Cucumbers, pole beans, snap peas, summer squash and zucchini can be grown vertically on a fence or trellis. Wood or plastic lattice can be propped up at the back of a garden. Place trellises on the side of the garden that will not cause a shadow most of the day and shade the rest of the plants.