Gardening in small beds gives you some limits, but forced limits often produce the most creative gardening techniques. You can have a productive garden in small beds, enjoy the adventure, flex your creative muscles, have great garden produce as a reward, and have a lot less space to weed. Here's how to succeed in small-bed gardening.
Keep plants in proportion to the beds. Opt for smaller vegetable crops and more diminutive flowers rather than trying to squeeze large plants into a small space. Vegetable crops such as corn and towering perennial flowers like foxgloves or delphinium will simply look out of place in a small bed.
Space plants out. Crowding many small plants into a small bed will deplete the soil and keep the plants from growing and producing. Follow the recommended spacing for individual plants.
Grow two or three cycles of garden crops. To get the most out of your space, plant an early spring cycle of cool-weather crops such as mesclun greens and radishes. When they've produced and the weather is warming, plant the warm-weather seedlings: a tomato plant or two, squash, peppers. Then, when the warm-weather crops are fading out and cool weather is coming in, repeat with a last cycle of cool-weather plants such as snow peas or another round of salad greens.
Claim more space by providing supports for leggy or vining plants. Use tomato cages for tomato plants to keep them contained in their designated space. Insert a trellis to support pea vines. Twine cucumber vines up around a trellis or stick teepee.
Keep the soil rich and well watered. Because small beds don't have a large reserve of nutrients, they need to be fed regularly. Apply an organic fertilizer or a fertilizer mix on a regular basis, every 2 to 3 weeks during the growing season. Follow the package directions for the specific amount recommended for your small-bed space.
Use a variety of plants to keep things interesting. You don't have to plant a row of peppers or only one kind of flower; try new and exciting varieties, heirloom plants or just something you've never grown before.
Mix it up. You don't have to designate flower garden, herb garden, vegetable garden. Why not combine plants to make the most of the space you have? A small bed could hold a row of poppies in the back, a hot pepper plant and a parsley plant, and creeping thyme and Sweet William flowers in the front.