Small-Space Food Gardens

These three innovative garden plans offer productive options for those with little space, little sun or physical disabilities.

container planting

A container garden can eliminate bending to ease back strain.

Photo by iStock

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Health, quality, flavor, affordability, enjoyment: We have many reasons to grow our own food, or at least a portion of it. Like many gardeners, I was hooked at an early age. Working beside my mother in the garden, I was enchanted by the simple act of planting a seed. In my young eyes, seeds seemed little more than lifeless kernels, but once tucked into the earth they quickly sprouted, and before long the harvest followed.

Small-Space Garden Plans

Gourmet Container Garden
Vertical Pallet Garden
Urban Shade Garden

When we picked our vegetables—typically just before we intended to eat them—they were packed with flavor and tasted nothing like the limp grocery store veggies we ate the other nine months of the year. Today I grow much of my family’s food, producing an organic bounty from our 2,000-square-foot garden. Over the years, I’ve learned to stretch my harvest season to 365 days. The ability to harvest from our winter cold frames and mini hoop tunnels from December through March—in Canada—is incredibly rewarding. Even if my children won’t eat all of the vegetables and herbs (c’mon, Swiss chard is delicious!), they know where their food comes from and how it grows.

Because edible gardening is such a large part of my life, I am always looking for new techniques, designs and ideas to grow more food. With this in mind, I dedicated 18 months of my life to tracking (stalking?) avid gardeners, garden writers, professional horticulturists, television and radio hosts, garden bloggers, managers of botanical gardens, university staff, and community gardeners across North America and the United Kingdom to find out how and why they grow their own food. The result of that research is my book, Groundbreaking Food Gardens.

Adapted from Groundbreaking Food Gardens: 73 Plans That Will Change the Way You Grow Your Garden by Niki Jabbour, a stellar collection of food garden plans from some of the best gardeners in North America.