Small-Space Gardening: Grow More in Less Space

Whether it's on a balcony or in a small yard, maximize your food garden's square footage with these small-space gardening tips.

| July/August 2013

Limited space: It’s a problem many gardeners face. Few of us have as much sunny garden space as we might wish. But don’t despair! Even if you have just a tiny patch of sun and soil, it’s possible to create a beautiful, productive garden. With a little strategizing, you can turn a small backyard—or even a sunny porch, patio or balcony—into a beautiful place to grow vegetables, flowers and herbs. Here are some small-space gardening ideas to help you get the most out of whatever space you have available.

Plan Your Garden Carefully

When you want to make every inch of space count, drawing up a specific planting plan is a smart first step. (If you have a truly tiny space, that probably means growing your vegetables in pots and planters. See “Container Gardening Considerations” later in the article.)

Even with a traditional backyard garden where you have a little more room to work with, it’s smart to prioritize. Which crops are at the top of your list and which will you squeeze in only if you have the space? As part of that process, you’ll want to take a close look at how much room each plant requires for healthy growth. Armed with this knowledge, you may choose to grow more plants that require minimal space per plant (salad greens) and fewer plants that sprawl (squash).

If that sounds complicated, the following books and planning tools can make it much simpler.

Starter Vegetable Gardens by Barbara Pleasant: With this book, all the planning has been done for you, and it’s an inspiring look at how much is possible with even a small space. The book consists of 24 ready-made plans for small vegetable gardens, as well as detailed instructions for planting and estimates on how much you can expect to harvest.

Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew: Looking for a little more flexibility? This book spells out an easy, efficient method for plotting out your garden. Simply divide your garden into small, manageable squares and follow the guidelines for how much you can plant in each one.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on natural health, organic gardening, real food and more!