How to Grow Vegetables in Small Gardens


Starting a small vegetable garden can be a fun learning experience. You will need to know how long the growing season is in your area and when it begins. Pay a visit to your local nursery or garden center to buy your seed and ask lots of questions. Get suggestions on vegetables that grow well locally and when they should be planted. Smaller vegetables such as lettuce, carrots, onions and spinach are just a few vegetables that can be grown with limited space.

Step 1

Choose a location for your garden that receives at least six hours of sun. The plot should have good drainage and be within reach of a water supply. Place stakes at the corners of the plot as markers.

Step 2

Clear the plot of grass and weeds. Remove lawn turf by cutting it into small squares with a spade that can then lift out with the garden fork. Turn over the top 4 to 6 inches of soil and cover the entire plot with about 6 inches of organics such as compost or manure. Allow the organics to sit for a few days to begin breaking down into the soil.

Step 3

Turn the plot again by spade to mix the soil and organics. Level out the plot with a rake. Lay out the planting rows 18 to 24 inches apart using the stakes and string. Hoe the soil into a 6-inch high mound along the length of each row. Make a small v-shaped channel on the top of the mound for seeding.

Step 4

Follow the package planting instructions for each type of vegetable. Plant your seeds at the recommended spacing and depth and cover with soil. Follow the advice from the garden center on when to plant. Hardy, cool-season vegetables such as onions, asparagus and rhubarb are planted first. Water the garden with a fine mist after planting so that the soil and seeds are moist.

Step 5

Water your garden early in the day. Vegetables need at least an inch of water per week, which is far more than the average rainfall in most areas. Direct the water to the soil rather than spraying over the garden. As the plants grow, it is best to keep the foliage as dry as possible to discourage insects and disease.

Step 6

Weed the garden often, ideally every day, to keep the plot free of plants that will compete with your vegetables. As foliage develops, check the leaves for signs of insect infestation or disease. Your local garden center or nursery will be able to offer advice if you find any signs of trouble.

Things You'll Need

  • Wooden stakes
  • String
  • Spade
  • Garden fork
  • Garden rake
  • Compost or manure
  • Hoe
  • Vegetable seeds
  • Garden hose


  • The University of Illinois Extension: Illinois Vegetable Garden Guide: Location
  • The University of Georgia: Vegetable Gardening in Georgia

Who Can Help

  • The University of Illinois Extension: Illinois Vegetable Garden Guide
Keywords: grow vegetables, small vegetable garden, grow vegetable garden

About this Author

Based in Surrey, British Columbia, Stephen Oakley is a freelance writer focusing on environmental issues, travel and all things outdoors. His background includes many years spent working in the Canadian wilderness and traveling worldwide.