Nothing compares to the taste of fresh vegetables -- for soups, salads or dishes -- plucked from your backyard or garden. You do not need acres of garden or backyard space to start your vegetable patch. A small corner just outside your kitchen or a few containers will do. Containers are portable, allowing you to start vegetables earlier than they arrive in the market. You can also move your containers indoors when the weather outside is cold.
How to Grow Vegetables in a Small Space
Determine where you want to grow vegetables. It can be in a small spot in your backyard or garden, or in containers if you lack space.
Decide on the type of vegetables you want to grow so you can purchase containers accordingly. Salads, green onions, herbs and onions need 4 to 5 inches of soil. Cucumbers, beans and tomatoes need 14 to 16 inches. You can purchase seeds or seedlings from your local nursery or garden supply center.
You can also purchase dwarf varieties of vegetables for containers or planting in the ground.
Purchase containers made from fiber, wood, plastic and clay. Keep in mind that the larger your container, the greater the variety of vegetables you can grow.
Drainage plays an important role in the success or failure of your small-space vegetable garden. Make sure your containers have adequate drainage holes in the bottom -- about ¼ to ½ inch wide and spaced about 1 ½ inches apart.
If growing vegetables in the ground, select an area that receives six hours of sunlight and has well-drained soil. Loosen the soil with a shovel, add a slow-release fertilizer to it and water it well two days prior to planting.
Use all-purpose commercial potting mix (it's loose and drains well). Mix the potting mix with compost in a 3:1 ratio, and fill in the container until 2 to 3 inches below the rim.
Dig holes in the container mix spaced an inch apart and place the seeds or seedlings into them. Lightly backfill the seeds with soil, or tamp the area around the seedling with your fingers. Place the containers in a sunny area.
Follow label directions for spacing if planting in the ground.
Water your vegetables frequently, especially during the hot summer months. Make sure you water at soil level to prevent the foliage from getting wet, as it could lead to mold and fungal problems.
Spray a solution of hot soapy water over the plants to deter any pests, or handpick them with tweezers.