Vegetable garden space – can we ever have enough? Well I suppose if you have many acres to work with, you may feel quite satisfied with your vegetable garden space. But if you’re like me, a backyard homesteader, with less than an acre then you know exactly what I am talking about.
But over the years I have found a few ways that have helped me use every inch available and get larger yields. I’m even surprised with everything I am able to do in the space we have. So today I’ll my favorite tips on maximizing your space!
How to Maximize Your Vegetable Garden Space
Give Grass its Pink Slip
If your space is really limited then it is time to get rid of the grass, or limit it greatly. We have a small strip of grass next to our porch which the dogs and chickens love. But I often think of ripping it out for more garden space.
The foundation of any vegetable garden is the soil. Compost is the best, most natural way to build healthy soil full of nutrients. But if you don’t have the space for your own compost bin you can improve your soil without compost. There are also great bagged composts, be sure to check your nursery for organic compost.
When you’re growing a lot of vegetable or fruits in a small area, you need to offer support. Regularly fertilizing will keep your soil fertile and your plants strong; not to mention more pest resistant. Commercial organic fertilizers are good but you can use rabbit droppings, worm castings and compost tea.
One of the easiest ways to increase your growing space is to use containers. You can put them in the front yard, back porch or side yard. You’ll be surprised that many vegetables and herbs do very well in pots and can be just as decorative as landscaping plants. I really like fabric pots.
See: Vegetables That Do Great in Pots.
Use an Intensive Gardening Method
There are several methods that are considered “intensive”. But the basic of growing more in a small space is the goal, while using less water to boot. I use the principals Square Foot Gardening but most of my raised beds no longer have squares mapped out anymore. You’ll be amazed what a 4×4 bed and yield!
Companion Planting / Crop Rotation
*Companion planting gives your fruits and vegetables the best chance of survival, best flavor and growth rates. Certain plants grown together can either strengthen or weaken each other.
*Crop rotation helps your garden by making sure you plant according to the nutrients the last vegetables used and replenished in the soil. The following plants should offer the opposite. This gives your garden great pest resistance and leads to bigger yields.
Go Up (Trellis, Vertical, Hanging Pots)
Another awesome way to maximize your vegetable garden space is to go UP!
Trellis – look for climbing fruits and vegetables like cucumbers (our Armenian cukes did great on a trellis), melons, vining squash varieties (like spaghetti squash). I love my cattle panel trellises. We’ve put them up like an A-frame but I’ve seen them done in 1/2 hoops or hung on a wall.
Vertical – You can grow vertically without a trellis by using pallets against walls, stacked beds and more.
Hanging Pots – If you have a covered porch you may want to try some hanging pots. I have found that herbs do particularly well in these. Or grow things upside down!
Plant Veggies with Fast and/or High Yields
When you have limited space to work with try growing vegetables that grow fast and have high yields.
- Leafy Greens (except spinach which I have found to be a slow grower)
- Beans (pole & bush)
- Swiss Chard
Use Dwarf Varieties
Fruit trees can take up a lot of space. One way to have a small orchard in your space is to use dwarf varieties. I’ve had delicious fruit from dwarf fig, peach and citrus trees.
See Growing Dwarf Fruit Trees
Bring Your Garden Inside
When all else fails you can maximize your vegetable garden space by bringing it indoors. Many veggies and herbs will grow well if they are near a sunny window or sliding glass door. This will help when it is too cold to grow outdoors too.
So there you have it – my tips on how to maximize your vegetable garden space. What creative ways have you helped your garden and added growing space?