Small Space Gardening Ideas
You Can Garden Anywhere!
I just love to plant things and see them grow and produce beautiful flowers, healthy food, or aromatic and medicinal herbs. No matter where I have lived, I have found a way to grow things, and you can, too! I’ve got some great small space gardening ideas with resources to get started!
Do you live in an apartment with only a balcony? a rented house where you can dig up the yard? a townhouse with little growing space? No matter where you live, there’s a good possibility that with a little creativity and ingenuity, you can grow plants.
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We will start with the most common way to deal with gardening in small spaces: container gardening. You can invest money in long-lasting and beautiful container gardening pots like I feature in my article, Create a Farmhouse Style Garden Anywhere. You can add a bit of whimsy to your space while growing your favorite plants.
The Advantages of Container and Small Space Gardening
Not only does small space gardening allow you to garden almost anywhere you live, it comes with other benefits as well. First, you will use less soil than you would in a traditional garden. And you can control what is in your soil. If you buy garden soil in bags, you will ensure that there will be very few weed seeds in it. You can easily amend the soil with compost and whatever else your individual plant needs. Next, you will use far less water when watering your container garden than watering a traditional in-ground garden as there is little waste of water. Watering with a hose directly into the pot keeps the water going right to the plant’s roots that you intended. Lastly, you can position your container garden all around your yard or deck, inside or outside–wherever your plant will have the optimal sun and weather conditions.
The Disadvantage of Container and Small Space Gardening
While small space gardening doe shave its benefits, it also has some problems. One, you will have to keep up with the watering. Plants that are outdoors in the sun need watering every day–sometimes twice a day depending on the soil depth and temperatures. Two, you have to find or purchase containers and care for them. Three, you have to buy the dirt, unlike a large garden in your yard.
To make life easier, consider using self-watering flower pots like these from Amazon.
If you have a sunny to a partially sunny spot to hang a planter, you have another option for gardening in small spaces. I always save hanging pots from plants I buy periodically, but they are usually ugly. If you intersperse pretty hanging pots with them, that is what will get noticed, like these I found below!
Save Space by Planting in Window Boxes
Have a window that gets some sun during the day? How about planting in window boxes? It’s a great place to grow herbs, edible flowers, and salad greens.
These window boxes from Amazon can be hung from your window ledge or deck railing and they include the brackets to hang them.
Grow in Plastic Tubs, Buckets and Reusable Shopping Bags
If money is an issue, you can also use plastic storage tubs, 5-gallon “painter” buckets, and even reusable shopping bags as I have. These methods work fine. The plastic will start breaking down after a few years if it is left outside through the winter, but recycling these tubs and buckets can be a good option. Plastic tubs aren’t cheap, though. When I used them, we had been downsizing for a few years and I had collected quite a few tubs.
Growing Vegetables in a Bag of Dirt
Here is a clever way of making your own mini-greenhouse with a clear plastic utility tub and a bag of dirt. Check out this video.
Felt Garden Pots and Felt Raised Beds
If you would rather try a more durable and degradable option, felt cloth pots like I have in my store are great! I’ve done my research here and professional gardeners actually love Felt Garden Pots because they are breathable which allows for easy drainage and self-pruning. That means that plants won’t get waterlogged and plants with large root systems won’t wrap around and around the pot causing them to be root-bound.
Vegetables that grow well in pots include Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Peppers, Radishes, Beets, Beans and more. Kevin Espiritu, in his book “> from Field Guide to Urban Gardening by Kevin Espiritu
Most culinary herbs also grow amazingly well in pots. If you plant them together, just be sure to plant herbs with similar water and sun needs. Common perennial herbs like thyme, oregano, rosemary and sage are pretty hardy and have similar requirements. Chives are super easy to grow and faithfully come back year after year.
Vertical gardening can be employed in any style of garden. Instead of letting vining plants sprawl all over, put in bamboo stakes and let them climb up! This makes it possible to grow tomatoes, squash and cucumbers even on your deck!
Another option gaining popularity is the wall of plants. This can be beautiful to hang on the sunny side of your house or the wall of your balcony or fence. Be sure to hang it where it is safe to drip when you water it.
These felt planters from Amazon are durable and attractive and come in lots of sizes to fit your space. Hang them on a fence, wall or trellis, fill with dirt and plant a single plant in each pocket.
If you have a sunny wall on your house, garage, or shed, you can also place a trellis against it like this. You can plant it with flowers which is common, but you could also grow cumbers, squash and small melons on it as these plants like to sprawl and take up lots of garden space otherwise.
Raised Bed Gardening
If you have a small yard and don’t want to dig it all up, a great option is to plant a raised bed. This is ideal for a practical garden of herbs and veggies that don’t have very deep root systems. A popular way to make raised beds is with 10″ wide boards x either 4, 6, or 8 feet long. It makes just the right width to be able to reach into the middle from both sides. To keep out stubborn weeds coming up from the roots underground, you can line the raised bed with landscape fabric.
If you build a tall raised bed, then you won’t need to be getting on your knees to tend the garden and it will lesson how much you have to bend over, too.
I’m always trying to make my workload easier, so I love it when I find products that are ready-made like these raised bed planters, trellises and vertical gardens from Amazon.
Except for rooting a few plants in water, I haven’t tried hydroponic gardening yet as I don’t have an indoor space good for it at the moment. I know people who are successfully practicing hydroponic gardening in their basements with success, growing peas, lettuce, and more throughout the year with low-budget systems and grow lights. Another benefit of growing plants with the hydroponic system is that you don’t have the mess of heavy dirt.
This Herb Garden Kit can be grown on your kitchen counter and is an easy way to get started with hydroponic gardening.
The ultimate in small space gardening is growing micro-greens. You are basically sprouting seeds and letting them grow just a short time. It’s easy because you don’t need a lot of space and you can use a variety of seeds that are easy to sprout. You don’t have to deal with weeding or pests either. The most amazing benefit of growing microgreens is that they are packed with up to 40x more nutrients than their mature counterparts, according to WebMD.
The downside of growing microgreens is that you need a dedicated space to grow your greens with a grow light indoors, but this can be done in the garage, a basement or even a closet. Another disadvantage is that you have to use a LOT of seed to grow just a small amount of greens. You can sometimes trim the greens a few times, but then you have to replant.
Tools to Make Your Container Gardening Easier
Review of Field Guide to Urban Gardening