How to Garden in Small Beds

Overview

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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.

Step 6

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.

Step 7

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.

References

  • How to Start a Small-Space Vegetable Garden From Chicago Botanic Garden
  • Inspiring Vertical Gardens for Small Spaces From LowImpactLiving.com
  • A Recipe for Successful Plants in Small Spaces From Gardens by Brendan
Keywords: small-space garden, small bed, container garden

About this Author

Annie Mueller is a writer, editor, professional blogger, website designer, and tutor. She attended Missouri Baptist College and earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Mississippi State University, with a Summa Cum Laude standing. She has written extensively on gardening, parenting, education, and personal growth for women.