Vegetables gardening on small space
As city gardens become ever smaller, garden space becomes more and more precious. Once the norm, space for growing vegetables may seem just a dream. Yet salads, tomatoes, and other vegetables are so much better straight from the garden. Young, tender vegetables are prized, and so much better when there are only minutes between the garden and the pot or salad bowl. The process, from garden to table, is enjoyable and one of anticipation. There are lots of ways to introduce vegetables into the garden, especially as we can become more innovative in how we grow our veggies.
Tips for Small Space Vegetables
Growing a few seeds in a propagator or on a windowsill means that you can jump-start the season. Also sow successively, a few seeds at a time, to avoid them all coming ready at once. Fold over the top of the seed packet and store in a cool, dry, dark place, the back of a kitchen cabinet is just fine. The seedling plants can then be introduced into the garden when they are a few inches high to grow to maturity.
Lettuces come in a range of colors and have fascinating foliage - there are many varieties that you can ‘cut-and-come-again’ without leaving a gap in the border. ‘Little Gem’ cos (or romaine) and ‘Tom Thumb’ lettuce are great small space plants, The loose leaf ‘Lollo Russo’ and similar varieties provide salad vegetables over a long period.
Integrating vegetables into your borders is surprisingly easy, there are so many wonderful foliage shapes and colors and the red flowers on beans, and the yellow and purple pods that follow make an interesting addition you a planting plan. You do need to plan to fill gaps when you have harvested crops, however, and you also need to ensure that growing vegetables get enough sunshine to do well. There is nothing decorative about spindly or struggling vegetables.
Potager gardens, an idea drawn from French kitchen gardens, have become remarkably popular in recent years. Planting your vegetables in a pattern edged by brick paths or box hedges is certainly decorative and the framework provides structure when the garden is less than full. However this is a style of gardening that you either enjoy or you don’t. It’s all a matter of taste.
Growing in containers is a great option. Even if you don’t have any soil you can still grow a few choice vegetables. There are many striking plants that make attractive and productive container plants.
We have designed a vertical gardening
raised bed which utilize the multi layer of terraced soil to grow your
Growing Methods Raised beds enable you to increase the fertility in the soil and to crop more intensively. In a small garden, raised beds mean that you can grow a lot of vegetables in a small, dedicated vegetable garden. As you never walk on the soil it is not compacted and an annual mulch with comps keeps fertility levels high. Plant your vegetables in a 30cm grid (’square foot gardening’) and increase productivity. Use thinning as soon as they are edible, and leave neighboring plants to grow on and mature.
Sow seeds successively and plant out small number of seedlings at any one time to ensure a steady supply of maturing vegetables, rather than a glut followed by a famine!
Intercropping or interplanting is an ideal technique in the small garden. It involves planting two different vegetables, one fast maturing and the other slow maturing, in the same space. Radishes planted with celery can be harvested before the celery takes up space. Lettuce can frequently be placed between a slower crop.
Plant the slow maturing veggies first, and then fill between with the fast maturing crop. By the time you have harvested the speedy veggies, the slower crop will have begun to fill out the spaces left by the earlier, harvested crop. Feeding the second crop with a liquid fertilizer of mulch with compost gives it a boost after the fast-maturing vegetables have been harvested.
Grow beans and tomatoes vertically, using an attractive trellis, a tripod or a simple pea stick frame. Balcony railings or a wall provides loads of opportunity for vertical gardening. Cucumbers, baby squash and curettes can be grown over a frame, enhancing ripening and increasing space.
Buying punnets of seedlings rather than growing your own from seed is one way to save space. A wider range of varieties is available as seeds, however, and organic vegetables are rarely for sale as seedlings.
Grow bags have revolutionized tomato growing. Simply cut a hole or holes in the top and plant away. If you are placing the bag on a cold concrete base, then polystyrene foam underneath will insulate it and raise the soil temperature. Grow bags (suitably disguised, of course) can support cherry tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce or French beans. Remember to water regularly.
Containers Planters of vegetables can be outstanding decorative elements and they make vegetables possible where there is no soil, such as on a balcony or in a paved courtyard. You can even grow your veggies at home and then take them, container and all, to the beach to enjoy fresh lettuce or spicy chili peppers.
Make sure the container is big enough for the plants root development. Adequate drainage is also critical, as vegetables do not like to become water logged. Water regularly as consistent watering will not only improves yields but also results in better tasting vegetables and reduces bolting.
Containers can be made of almost anything. Posh Versailles tubs and terracotta pots or ubiquitous plastic - there are heaps of options for every budget. Remember that terracotta looks great but dries out quickly, pulling moisture from the soil and plant it holds. A plastic liner or a strict watering regime is a must. Recycled corrugated iron makes a striking planter that is both practical and supports a lush and lovely crop of chilies.
Vegetables need plenty of nourishment and container growing places heavy demands on a small amount of soil. Liquid fertilizers are a good way to replenish soils in container. A liquid feed every two to four weeks over the growing season will result in stronger crops.
Strawberries can be grown in the traditional strawberry pot. Cropping in a conventional pot seems to be improved as the pockets can become dry, you can insert a perforated pipe in the centre of the strawberry pot to water more thoroughly.
Window boxes are not only good homes for petunias and herbs but can grow vegetables as well, as long as you can control the pigeons! As window boxes are small choose your vegetables accordingly - this is not the place to grow sweet corn.
Hanging basket planter is small, but if you hang them by the window in your kitchen, you can grow herbs and just take it as you need it, that is handy.
A garbage bag can even be used to grow a crop of early potatoes and harvested as and when you need some sweet new potatoes, ideal for Christmas lunch.