Cram More Into Your City Vegetable Garden!

Reader Contribution by Benedict Vanheems
article image

Photo by Getty Images/funky-data

Make the most of your space by choosing quick growers like lettuce, radishes or beets instead, vegetables that offer high yields or repeat harvests such as zucchini or chard, or high-value herbs.

Space-saving forms of fruits such as cordon or step-over forms of apple and pear, cane fruits such as raspberry and, of course, compact strawberries are all wise choices for small gardens.

Efficient Plant Spacing

Grow plants in beds narrow enough to reach into the center from each side. This makes it easier to grow in blocks, with plants spaced equidistantly. As well as making best use of the space, growing plants like this crowds out weeds, helps to concentrate resources where they’re needed, avoids the risk of compacting the soil by stepping on it, and makes tending your crops easier.

The Square Foot Gardening takes intensive growing one step further using deep raised beds and a special soil mix designed for optimal root growth.

Use Containers 

Containers are easily moved to make the most of sunny areas or to protect plants from harsh weather. They can be used on any surface.

Check that containers have adequate drainage, and stand containers on pot feet or blocks to further improve drainage and airflow for healthier plants. Pay attention to keeping plants in pots well watered and fed.

Use Your Vertical Space 

Train beans, peas, cucumbers, squashes and other vining or sprawling crops up supports such as trellis or canes, saving valuable ground space.

Try using wall-mounted planting pockets and tubes, or mount pots and hanging baskets to fences and walls. Tumbling varieties of cherry tomatoes and juicy strawberries can be grown in containers such as these.

Feed for Optimum Growth 

Make sure plants yield to the best of their ability with careful feeding. Organic fertilizers such as chicken manure pellets are preferable to artificial fertilizers, which increase the risk of a harmful build-up of salts around the roots.

Consider a compact worm bin or ‘wormery’ if you don’t have space for a traditional compost bin. The hundreds of worms within it will turn kitchen scraps into growth-boosting worm compost and a nutritious liquid plant feed.

Have Transplants Ready to Go

Plan ahead so you have young plants ready to replace crops as they are harvested or spent. A cold frame or sunny windowsill is all you need to get seeds started.

Get More Tips with These Great Gardening Resources

Our popular Vegetable Garden Planner can help you map out your garden design, space crops, know when to plant which crops in your exact location, and much more.

Need crop-specific growing information? Browse our Crops at a Glance Guide for advice on planting and caring for dozens of garden crops.

More Videos

Watch more videos on gardening techniques and other self-reliance, DIY topics on our Wiser Living Videos page.