Most of us are forced to dwell in an very small space (which we call home) at one stage or another in our lives. The problem is that most of us also adore the idea of having our own little patch of land, or at least a small garden in some form, especially one from which we can harvest fresh food.
A lack of adequate space makes that difficult, though, but thanks to all the innovative DIY ideas shared on platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest, it’s really not hard to figure out some easy way to cross that barrier.
The answer, of course, lies in container gardening, and if you’re not clued up on the whole deal, this post will be your handy guide. Think of it as “small space gardening 101”.
To get you started with some basics in your own little green patch, we’ve rounded up some of the best vegetables that are great for container gardening. We stuck with hybridizer breeds since they’re perfectly happy to grow in a very restricted space, but you can make a few adjustments according to your personal taste.
If you can get your hands on some Derby or Provider seedlings or dry seeds, you’ll have the best shot at having a good bean season. Your beans will need a pot that’s about 12 inches deep, and if you go ahead and plant a trellis in the center of your pot, you might even yield a better crop.
You’ve probably heard this before, but carrots can be regrown from kitchen scratches, which means they’re the perfect vegetable to grow right in the comfort of your kitchen’s windowsill. A word of warning, though; Thumbelina, Short ‘n Sweet, and Little Fingers are your best options when it comes to growing containerized carrots, but just remember to actively water your plants as this will assist the healthy growth of your plant.
Bush Sugar Baby melons are dwarf melons, and they love growing in small spaces. They have deep roots, so make sure you provide them with enough space if you want to see the edges of the leaves bearing fruit on a regular basis.
Almost everyone uses onions in their cooking, yet we keep buying them at the supermarket even though they’re super easy to grow at home! When it comes to the smallest of spaces, green onions grow best. Make sure you give them at least 4 to 5 inches of depth and loads of love and they’ll easily mature into full bulb size.
Green Arrow, Maestro, Sugar Bon Snap Peas and English Peas are some of the best kinds to grow in containers at home. If you plan on planting your own peas, you’ll want to provide them with a growing depth of at least 12 inches and, depending on the size of your pot, you’ll be able to nourish roughly 8 plants at a time.
To grow potatoes in a pot you’ll need a pot that can handle 3 or 4 potatoes being planted out into the soil and at least 12 inches of growing space for the roots. These plants love lots of water, but you have to ensure that all the roots are constantly covered with soil, just to keep things on the safe side. You’ll be able to harvest roughly 20 potatoes in just over 2 months’ time!
Radishes grow quick, and they’re super easy to take care off. These veggies are perfect for those real tight spaces, and they’ll even grow without much encouragement. Scatter a few radish seeds on the top level of your container (that’s filled with moist soil), and in a few weeks the plants will start producing.
Very few people actually know this, but some of the freshest and juiciest tomatoes are grown in containers. Varieties such as Bush Big Boy do well growing in containers that have a depth of roughly 5 inches, but you can also try Patio, Window Box Roma, and Tiny Tim varieties.
A Word on Pots
Vegetables don’t have to be the end-all-be-all when it comes to growing your own little garden in containers. Fruits can also be successfully grown in pots, and they’re super easy to maintain as well. How healthy your plants are and how well they produce depends heavily on whether or not the pots you’re using provide them with adequate depth for optimal root growth.
Other Practical Tips
If you have just moved to a new location, try and think about any practical considerations to do with the new location itself, mainly what could be different from your previous garden.
For example, when I moved from Alberta, where the conditions are largely dry and sunny, to the Pacific Northwest, where conditions are much wetter, I didn’t take this into account. I had a little garden out on my new patio, and after going on a weekend trip, I returned to find my plants essentially destroyed with dirt scattered all around my small balcony. The reason was a spell of torrential rain that totally flooded my pots. Fortunately, the solution was as simple as moving them to a slightly different location on my balcony that was semi-covered, just enough that they wouldn’t be pounded by a downpour.
One last note on starting a garden at a new place: If you have moved from a different city, or even if you just moved from a ground-level apartment into a high-rise, keep an eye on the seasons. Changing locations, or even just changing your altitude, can lead to differences in precipitation and frost. This is a fairly picky note, so I guess the take-away message is to simply keep a sharp eye on things if you’re starting a garden in a new location, especially when you’re first starting out. It could save you some frustration in the growing season!
I hope this post has shed some light on small space gardening. As you venture on through this new journey, you’ll start to realize that the sky is the limit, and just because you don’t have a big, soiled backyard, doesn’t mean you’re unable to produce your own fresh and juicy veggies.
About the Author: John Schips, the primary contributor for Flannel Fishermen, is a fishing and hiking enthusiast who loves to explore Canada. Born and raised in Nova Scotia, John has also lived in Alberta for 7 years, and now currently resides in British Columbia.