Small Garden Ideas

Successful Small Vegetable Gardens

Here are plenty of small garden ideas to help you on your way towards growing your own food and herbs. Work out how to best utilise the available space both indoors and outdoors and create several successful small vegetable gardens.

Just because you live in the city, in an apartment, or simply do not have a lot of free space for a big garden does not mean that you have to miss out on how gratifying and pleasurable it can be to grow your own food and herbs. With a little creativity, you can take small steps to being more self-sufficient with food no matter what your living situation happens to be!


Small Garden Ideas for Outdoors

Patio Gardening

Whether you have a small balcony or a decent sized patio, there is no reason why you cannot grow many different types of plants.

shelf of vegetables and herbs

Utilise Multiple Levels

Take advantage of space by using multiple levels. For example, buy or build a corner unit with three or four different shelves. You will then have space to place many different small pots of herbs, spices, or even small vegetable plants such as lettuce or some varieties of tomatoes and peppers.

If your balcony or patio has a wall, use it to support creeping vine plants such as some types of beans and peas. Use hanging plant hooks to grow plants up high whilst still maintaining your limited floor space.

Recycle and Innovate With Planters

Patio gardening is a great opportunity to recycle materials to use for pots. You can create both functional and aesthetically beautiful pots by reusing such items as vintage kettles, interesting old shoes or boots, five gallon buckets that you can paint to whatever color you like, antique metal milk containers, clear plastic jugs, etc. Almost anything can become a pot, as long as you can punch or drill holes in the bottom to allow for drainage. greens growing in bathtubs

A great use of space is to transform a hanging, over-the-door shoe organizer (the kind with fabric or plastic slots or “pockets” for the shoes) into a place where you can grow many small herb plants. Worn-out or outdated Crocs can be hung by wire, with the toe part pointing down, and filled with soil. They create a functional splash of color in any small space, and the holes in the shoes create perfect drainage. Other interesting and unpredictable planters can be made from old colanders hung by wire hangers.

These are just a few small garden ideas for patios. Possibilities are limitless if you keep your eyes and your mind wide open for what could be used as a planter!

Small Back Yard

Think positively about your small vegetable garden plan. Instead of labeling your yard space as small, think of it as intimate, cozy, and inviting. Even small space gardens can be very productive. If you wish, you can create a border of stones or hedges that can make it feel more like a secret garden.

Small vegetable gardens actually have some advantages over larger gardens. For example, you will get to know every plant very well, and can spot and take care of things such as insect problems right away. A huge garden can literally seem like a full-time job sometimes, but small space gardens can stay pleasurable and give you a decent harvest even if you don’t have a ton of time to invest into it.

Choose your plants wisely – obviously plants that need to spread, such as pumpkins, may not be the best choice for a small space. Lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beans, and tomatoes are all viable options for small spaces.

Community Garden

Assuming you have absolutely zero outdoor space, or if your heart just really desires to grow a ton of different varieties of veggies, look into creating or joining a community garden. A community garden can remove an eyesore from the city, get urban people thinking about healthy food sources and can really bring a community together.

If you live in the city, look into the possibility of turning an abandoned or unused lot into a community garden for all to appreciate. Organise other like-minded gardeners to help with the maintenance.

If you have friends or family that happen to have ample outdoor space, ask them if they would like to partner – they provide the land and you provide the work. Everyone wins with a harvest of fresh produce!

Small Garden Ideas for Indoors

Sprouts

Sprouts grow quickly in just a small amount of light, either in trays or in jars, and are a great source of protein, vitamins, enzymes and minerals. For quick results, try sprouting some soaked, hulled sunflower seeds, which create edible sprouts within two days. Green lentils also sprout rapidly, as does alfalfa and red clover. Growing your own sprouts is one of the easiest small garden ideas to implement.

If you have a wheatgrass juicer, wheatgrass is one of the most healthful things that you can ingest, and it grows quickly and easily in a small tray on a countertop. You can freeze the juice in ice cube trays to add to smoothies or other juices in the future.

Herbs

basil plants in a polystyrene container

Herbs are great to grow indoors on a windowsill. They grow quickly and are relatively easy to care for, and are always on hand to throw into whatever you happen to be cooking. Fresh herbs make the perfect addition to salads, sauces, soups, and omelettes.

Herbs that are great for windowsills include chives, mint, rosemary, age, oregano, basil, parsley, and marjoram.

Veggies That Will Grow Indoors

To grow veggies indoors, you either need to have a sunny window or you need to supplement with a grow light. Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, lettuce or endive work best, as they don’t need too much light, but you can also try cucumbers and tomatoes if you have sufficient light.

Look for seed varieties that say either dwarf or miniature. Be careful, because some varieties, especially with tomatoes, say dwarf but that refers to the size of the tomato, not the size of the vine required to grow the small tomato. The vine could be just as sprawling as one that grows a normal-sized tomato. ‘Micro-Tom’ and ‘Patio F Hybrid’ are a couple of varieties that were developed specifically for growing in small containers. There are other dwarf varieties of squash that have recently been developed.

If you have pets, some plants have leaves that are poisonous to them. Do your research – for example, some varieties of tomato leaves can be toxic to cats, so make sure to keep the two very separate.

Hydroponics

Hydroponics is a way of growing plants without soil, and has the plants being nourished with mineral solutions that are transported through water. Almost any plant can be grown hydroponically.

Hydroponics equipment requires some initial investment. If you are willing to invest the upfront costs, hydroponics can enable you to grow organic vegetables in your house year-round. Hydroponics can even be used in a basement, so it doesn’t matter what type of climate you live in.

As you can see, there should be no excuse why you cannot grow at least some of your own herbs and veggies, no matter what your living situation is. Give some of these small garden ideas a try, and you will wonder why you didn’t start sooner!


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