How to grow a vegetable garden in a small area
Many gardeners face the issue of space when growing vegetables at home. Either it is because of an apartment style building that they live in, or the garden space around their home is not much. However, with proper planning and making changes to the regular methods of growing vegetables, this issue can be eased considerably.
This guide presents a way in which a gardener may grow a vegetable garden in a limited space resulting in a more fruitful yield than otherwise.
There are many external factors that influence the planning and setting up of a vegetable garden in a limited space. It is best to take all these factors into consideration for best results.
a. Estimate the available space — take into account all the area that you may be used.
b. Plan the space — Plan the space in such a way that you are able to reach the plants to water them and they do not block passages and doorways.
c. Soil — Prepare the soil, test the soil, nourish the soil.
d. Sun — There should be enough sunlight available for the plants whether the plant is in the balcony, patio or yard.
e. Water — There should be a convenient water source to water the plants.
f. Feasibility of the project — The planning of the vegetable garden should be a practical one and not one that adds unnecessary expenses to one’s pocket.
Fixtures / Containers / Accessories
There are many fixtures, containers and accessories that can be made use of for creating a vegetable garden.
Fixtures may be man-made structures like trellises, wooden wall or frame or support from which containers my be hung. Wall attachments like flower beds may also be made for growing sun loving plants , while below it plants that shy away from the sun may be grown.
Containers range from ceramic flower pots to discarded home-used plastic containers to cardboard boxes and even discarded boots. Wooden crates are ideal for making compost in which seeds may be sown and saplings grown. Containers are ideal media for growing plants as they can be shifted from one area to the next depending on the availability of sunlight, water or shade.
Trellises are idea for plants that twine and containers are ideal for small plants or plants of dwarf breeds. Herbs like coriander and mint grow well in hanging containers.
Plants & planting techniques
it is important that the right choice of plant be decided on. There are many plants that may be purchased in dwarf or miniature breeds should the need arise, and they may be available in local garden stores. Deciding on the right method of planting or understanding the psychology behind the choice of planting space or technique is just as important. Some common techniques are highlighted below.
a. Companion planting: This is a pattern of growing short shade loving plants between tall sun loving plants. This way both benefit as compact planting in this manner gives very little chance for weed growth.
b. Succession planting: Plant seeds may be sown and raised every 3-4 weeks. As each sapling grows they may be transplanted elsewhere giving rise to free space for subsequent seed sowing. The benefit of this method is that it provides an unending supply of plants and is best for short term plants.
c. Window-sill / patio / balcony /terrace plants: When there is limited space for growing a vegetable garden, any available space may be made use of like the window-sill of the kitchen for growing herbs or the terrace for a roof-garden appearance. Patios are ideal for plants that bloom with colourful flowers prior to fruiting, and balconies are ideal for plants that thrive best in limited sunlight.
d. Creepers: Plants that creep may be grown in containers with a support in the centre or they may also be planted next to big trees where they creep along the tree trunk. Containers with creepers may also be affixed to the trunks of trees.
It is not enough to plan a garden and grow plants. Timely maintenance is just as important. There should always be a convenient supply of water and containers will have to be replaced should they be damaged or the plant grown too big for the container. Saplings from compost piles will have to be transplanted to their respective places. Wooden fixtures and accessories will have to be repaired should there be any damage. From time to time, the garden will have to be checked for plant pests too that love to feed on the flowers or just sprouting fruits.
It is necessary that all aspects of growing a vegetable garden in a small area be followed for best results.