How to make a small vegetable garden

wordswag pixabay grow carrots

So you’ve been bit by the gardening bug, but you have a tiny plot. Don’t worry — even a small garden can yield big harvests. Before you start planting, though, think carefully about your garden’s layout. A well-designed space is critical in a small garden. To get you started, visit some of the sites below for helpful advice on small garden design:

Vegetable Garden Plans from Better Homes and Gardens offers 14 vegetable garden designs, ranging from a child’s garden to an Italian garden. Most plans are for gardens 7 feet by 7 feet or smaller.

Small Gardens from Garden Design offers a look at the renovation of chef James Beard’s New York City garden. Read about the winners of the 2011 Greenest Block in Brooklyn for other great small garden ideas.

Plan Your Garden Layout from the University of Illinois Extension. Here you’ll find expert advice on deciding on a garden size and selecting the appropriate crops.

Block Style Layout in Raised Vegetable Garden from the Colorado State University Extension. Visit this site for true inspiration. Neat rows of red leaf lettuce are nestled against spinach and Swiss chard, eking every last inch of space from the raised bed and managing to look gorgeous at the same time!

Short on Space? Grow Veggies Anyway! From Sunset Magazine. Go here to learn more about raised beds, container gardens and creative solutions.

Small Vegetable Garden Design from Garden Guides. Visit Garden Guides for a basic overview of small garden design.

More Tips for the Small Garden

Think vertical. You’ve probably grown peas or beans on trellises, but what about other crops? A trellis or pole takes up less space than a tomato cage and keeps the unruly plants tidy. Cucumbers are healthier and easier to harvest when grown on a trellis or fence. In both cases, gently secure the vines with a strip of fabric. Larger cucurbits like summer squash and zucchini can be trellised as well, but pick the fruits when they’re small. Otherwise, they’ll tear away from the plants, causing damage.

Choose compact varieties. Seed producers understand that gardeners have limited space. To solve this problem, they’ve developed compact bush varieties for almost any crop you want to grow. Try bush varieties of cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini and summer squash—the biggest space hogs in your garden.

Grow some container crops. If your gardening ambitions are bigger than the space in your vegetable garden, plant a few crops in containers. Almost any crop can be grown in a container, but compact bush varieties do best. Try tomatoes, peppers, bush beans, lettuce or broccoli. Moisture and nutrients leach more quickly from containers so water them frequently and fertilize every other week with a balanced fertilizer.

Use raised beds. Not only do raised beds stay neat and tidy, but you can grow plants more closely together because the soil is rich and fertile. Even two or three raised beds can yield enough produce for a family of four. Make the beds no more than 3 feet wide so you can reach into them without stepping on the soil. Leave paths at least 18 inches wide between each bed.

Try succession planting. Succession plantings stretch your vegetable garden’s harvest well beyond the typical July to September time frame and you can grow two or three times the produce in the same amount of space. Succession planting is the practice of planting new crops as the previous ones are waning. For example, plant radishes or lettuce in early spring. Then, pop a few summer squash seeds in the soil in early summer, just before you harvest the lettuce and radishes. Then, at the end of the summer, plant some spinach and lettuce in the same spot for a fall crop. The mature plants help keep weeds down and also shade the soil so it stays a bit moister. One note of caution: growing so many plants in the same spot year after year can deplete the soil. Rebuild it annually with plenty of compost and manure.

While you might not grow enough produce to put away for the winter, small gardens have many benefits over large plots. For one thing, they are a breeze to take care of. You’ll spend less than an hour a week keeping your garden in tip-top shape, and you’ll still have room in the yard for a perennial garden or a quiet sitting area.

Other Small Vegetable Garden Ideas and Resources:

Small Plot Vegetable Gardening from the Iowa State University Extension

Small Garden Spaces from Washington State University Extension

This YouTube video covers how to grow vegetables efficiently in a small space.

An amazing backyard vegetable garden may be easier than you think! No matter the space you have available, you can be growing your own food and supplement (or replacing) your produce shopping. Whether you have a few pots on an apartment porch or a 1/4 acres available, it is time to grow a backyard vegetable garden.

So whether you’re hoping to be completely self-sufficient or just grow your own tomatoes, I have tips you can use today!

How to make a small vegetable garden

How to Have an Amazing
Backyard Vegetable Garden

Soil – The Foundation for any Backyard Vegetable Garden

Soil really is the foundation of a great garden. If you are not sure where to How to make a small vegetable gardenstart, that’s ok, I have you covered. You can make your own compost, amend the soil you have or even create awesome potting soil.

  • DIY Soil Mix – great for pots, raised beds and containers
  • Awesome Soil Amendments – What you can add to your organic garden for a superior soil.
  • How to Compost 101 – listen to this podcast from a master composter.
  • How to Use Orange Peels for a Better Garden – Don’t toss those orange peels!
  • Recycling Coffee Grounds in the Garden – You don’t need to toss those used grounds.
  • Kitchen Composting – Tips for your counter top compost.
  • Troubleshooting Your Compost Problems – Figure out what’s causing the problem and how to fix it.
  • 10 Things You NEVER Want to Compost – A good list to follow.
  • How to Use Rabbit Poop as Fertilizer – let me give you the scoop and poop.
  • Improve Soil Without a Compost Pile – No room to compost? Check out these tips for improving your soil without a compost pile.
  • Cheap & Easy DIY Compost Bin – Make it yourself for a fraction of the store bought one.

Raised bed vegetable gardening takes very little space and allows vegetables to be grown closer together. It’s also a great solution for areas with poor native soil. Discover how to make the best use of your raised beds.

Related To:

Raised bed gardening is a great way to grow vegetables — especially if the native soil is poor or compacted or has poor drainage. And there’s no bending over to pull weeds or harvest vegetables.

How to make a small vegetable garden

Raised Beds in Landscape Design

Garden designer P. Allen Smith incorporated formal raised vegetable beds into the landscape at his Garden Home in Little Rock.

Photo by: Hortus, Ltd./P. Allen Smith

Hortus, Ltd./P. Allen Smith

Garden designer P. Allen Smith incorporated formal raised vegetable beds into the landscape at his Garden Home in Little Rock.

Size and Space

Choose a location that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily, preferably more. If the site is not level, it will need to be leveled before building your raised bed. Ideally, the site will not be shaded by trees or have competition from tree roots in the soil. Remove lawn in the location before adding soil to the bed.

The ideal width of a raised bed is 3-4 feet, so that veggies will be within an arm’s reach from either side. If you’re siting a raised bed against a fence, wall or other backdrop, the width should be more narrow so you can reach to the back of the bed. The ideal length of the bed is limited only by your space and materials.

Make Cheap Raised Garden Beds 13 Photos

Take your garden to the next level with this easy raised bed project. Your plants (and wallet) will thank you.

Soil and Drainage

Drainage in a raised bed is superior to that in an in-ground garden bed. A 12-inch-deep bed provides ample room for most vegetable roots.

The soil in raised beds warms up more quickly in spring so planting can be done earlier. And if the bed is narrow, 3 feet or less, there will be no need to step on the soil and thus it prevents compaction. It’s much easier for roots to grow in loose soil.

If the raised bed sits directly on the soil, line the planting bed with hardware cloth or chicken wire at building time to prevent visits from burrowing animals such as gophers and moles.

Fill a raised bed with good quality raised bed soil, which can be a mix of native soil, compost and lightweight amendments such as peat and perlite that improve drainage.

Don’t build a raised bed on a wooden deck: When the bed is full of soil and water, its weight could cause structural damage.

How to Start Raised Beds 02:24

Materials for Raised Beds

The bed may be made of wood, stone, brick, metal, cinderblocks or any other material from which you can build a base at least 12 inches deep.

How to make a small vegetable garden

20 Raised Garden Bed Ideas 20 Photos

Discover different types of raised garden bed styles and get inspired to create your own with these pictures.

What to Grow

Almost any type of vegetables can be grown in raised beds, though most gardeners limit their raised beds to annuals only. Annual vegetables include most of the top crops for vegetable gardening, such as:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Squash and Melons
  • Cucumbers
  • Beans and Peas
  • Onions
  • Eggplant
  • Root crops like beets and carrots
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes in deep beds

How to make a small vegetable garden

How to Grow Tomatoes in a Raised Bed

Are your tomato plants not getting enough drainage? Follow these steps on growing tomatoes in a raised bed.

How to Plant a Raised Bed Garden

  1. Fill the bed with good-quality garden soil and compost, and rake the surface smooth and level. Remove any rocks or debris.

Plants in raised beds may be spaced a little closer together because there’s no need to allow for walking space as in a row garden.

Plant lettuce by poking holes in the soil with your finger at 6-inch intervals, and sprinkle a few seeds into each hole. Once the seeds germinate, thin to one seedling per hole.

You can also broadcast seeds over the surface of the raised bed. If you plant carrots, apply fine-textured potting soil over the top of the seeds. Carrots will attract some species of butterflies to your raised beds.

Cucumbers may be planted along the edge of the raised bed, where they can trail over the side.

  • Water the garden well immediately after planting and apply mulch around plants to limit evaporation and control weeds.
  • More Raised Bed Ideas

    How to make a small vegetable garden

    How to Build an Architectural Raised Bed

    This easy-to-construct design raises your garden to new heights. Paint it a fun color or leave the wood bare for a natural look.

    How to make a small vegetable garden

    Get Creative With Raised Bed Gardening 13 Photos

    Whether you build your own or buy a kit, you can use them to grow anything from herbs to shrubs and small trees.

    How to make a small vegetable garden

    Build a Raised Bed and Trellis 19 Photos

    Raised beds make gardening easy. Get step-by-step instructions for constructing a raised garden of your own that will last for years.

    Want to have a garden, but short on space? Here are a few steps to help you decide which type of small space gardening is for you and get on your way to growing your own vegetables and herbs.

    Quite often when we think of vegetable gardening, we think of a huge 50 x 50 plot of ground that gets tilled, raked, and fenced off; a piece of land that will eventually reap bushels of vegetables that require canning or freezing.

    How to make a small vegetable garden

    This is great if you’ve got the space but for many of us, that’s just not an option. City dwellers who have small yards or patios are not exempt from enjoying homegrown vegetables and herbs.

    With a little ingenuity, you can make this a reality. When you enjoy your first homegrown tomato with a little fresh basil from your herb garden, not only will you burst with pride at growing your own sustenance, but your body will thank you for feeding it something fresh and homegrown.

    To help you get started on your gardening adventure, here are a few steps to help you decide which type of small space gardening is for you:

    Pick Your Planters

    How to make a small vegetable gardenThe first step in getting your little garden started is to decide what kind of space you have available. There are 3 main types of small space gardens to choose from: Raised Bed, Container, and Vertical Gardens. Here’s how they differ:

    Raised Bed Garden – If you do have a yard but don’t want to do any digging or tilling, raised beds are a good option. There are many ways to build a raised bed garden using all sorts of different materials. Decide what your budget is and then visit your local home and garden center. If you are handy with tools, you may want to build a raised bed. has some easy-to-follow instructions on how to do just that.

    If that sounds too difficult, you may want to try your hand at setting up a 3-season garden bed using garden block. has step-by-step instructions on how to do that.

    If that still seems too daunting, you can order a raised-bed garden kit that comes with everything you need to quickly set up your garden area.

    Container Garden – If raised-bed gardening seems like too much of a commitment or you simply don’t have that kind of space to work with, container gardening may be the way to go. With this type of gardening you are not only growing your vegetables, but you can use your containers as patio décor as well. There are many different styles and materials to choose from when it comes to pots.

    Your container selection will depend on the types of vegetables you decide to grow. Vegetables with shallow roots like lettuce, radishes, and herbs can grow in as little as 8-inches of soil depth. More productive plants, such as tomatoes, bush beans, and squash, need deeper and larger pots. You will also want to choose the material the pot is made of by following a few basic principles.

    I f you are in a dry climate, terra cotta pots are a good choice since they retain moisture a little better than plastic or metal. There are some beautiful large ceramic pots to choose from, but if you’ve got to lug that pot all the way up to your third floor apartment balcony, you may want to think again.

    Vertical Garden – Finally, if you are really short on space or if you want to use your garden as wall decoration, you may want to add some vertical gardens to your space. These can be made using many recycled items like pallets, gutters, coffee cans, and even hanging shoe bags. I have a bunch of examples of these on my Pinterest Gardening board, so pop over there to get some inspiration!

    Prepare Your Planters

    How to make a small vegetable gardenOnce you have your containers picked out (if you’re going that route), it’s time to get things ready.

    Make sure the containers you choose have adequate drainage holes. If there aren’t any, drill a few holes in the bottom of the pot before adding soil. When I am getting a container ready for a planting, I always use a few paper coffee filters to cover the holes at the bottom. This ensures that no soil will leak out of the bottom when the pot is moved or the plants get watered. You can also put a shallow layer of gravel on the bottom of the pot before adding soil.

    Prepare Your Dirt

    If you’re preparing a raised bed garden, ask your local nursery for help on choosing the best soil for your geographical area. This is one step on which I would definitely consult the professionals in your area. The right soil will make all the difference in how productive your garden is, so make sure you talk with someone who knows what your regional needs are based on your climate and soil.

    For example, you probably wouldn’t think of lush vegetable gardens in the Arizona desert (where I live), but with the right soil and nutrients, it is possible to grow amazing gardens here!

    Container and vertical gardens are also picky with the type of soil they use. When choosing a potting mix for container gardening, go for a mix made specifically for container gardening to ensure that plants will have healthy roots. A good certified organic mix is Nature Mix Container Soil. Again, ask at your local nursery for direction in choosing the right base.

    If planting in. June Summer garden what to plant in June. May Often the busiest planting month for so many zones.

    How to make a small vegetable garden

    Vegetable Garden Layout For Small Spaces Garden Layout Vegetable Vegetable Garden Design Small Vegetable Gardens

    How to make a small vegetable garden

    This method works best for slow-growing plants such as broccoli celery and kale.

    How to make a home vegetable garden. Order Now Deliver Tomorrow Free Delivery Available. Ad Find and Compare Vegetable Raised Garden online. In this video I show you how to start a vegetable garden in your own home.

    1932018 Adding a thin layer of grass clippings to your vegetable garden can prevent weed growth and help plants retain moisture. Save now at GigaPromo. Make the holes at least two times deeper and wider than.

    Check the seed packages for specific directions. Vegetable Gardening For Ners Small Garden Ideas. You might prefer to buy seedlings from a nursery or garden center and transplant them into the garden.

    Screw them together with 100mm bugle-head batten screws and bury it 100mm into the ground. Planting Your First Vegetable Garden. April Spring planting is at hand.

    Ad Find and Compare Vegetable Raised Garden online. Use two of the sleepers to form the sides and cut a third in half to create the ends. What to plant in April.

    These gardening tips are a great beginners guide to building your own garden bed i. Ad We handpick your produce to make sure its the freshest delivered to your door steps. The space between rows gives the plants room to develop while also providing easy.

    How to make a small vegetable garden

    If you want the freshest produce possible, consider planting your own home garden—after all, you can’t get any closer to your kitchen table than your own backyard. Growing your own vegetables is thrifty, too. According to the National Gardening Association, the average family with a garden spends $70 on their crops—but they grow an estimated $600 worth of veggies!

    10 Steps to Starting a Vegetable Garden

    To get started, here are 10 steps recommended by the National Gardening Association.

    1. Choose the right location

    Choose a location for the garden that has plenty of sun, ample space and close proximity to your hose or water source. Find a level area to help prevent erosion.

    2. Select your veggies

    Decide what produce to include based on your climate, space, tastes and level of expertise. Newcomers may want to consider some of the easier crops to grow, like carrots, beans, cucumbers, peppers and lettuce.

    3. Prepare the soil

    Mix compost and natural fertilizers into your garden to condition the soil for your plants. Garden-supply stores can test the acidity of your soil and recommend supplements, or you can simply purchase specially made soil in bulk.

    4. Check planting dates

    Growing conditions and ripening cycles are different depending on the plant and the season, so you should not sow all the seeds at the same time. Planting dates can be found on seed packets. Review the ideal conditions for each veggie you want to plant before creating a gardening schedule.

    5. Plant the seeds

    Place your seeds or plants into the soil, following the depth and spacing directions carefully.

    6. Add water

    Gently spray the garden with water to keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing season. Purchase a spray nozzle for your hose so you can create a gentle rain-like mist for your garden.

    7. Keep the weeds out

    Mulching is the most effective way to prevent weeds. Add a 2- to 4-inch-thick layer of organic mulch to your garden to keep the weeds from overtaking your crops. If weeds do appear in the garden, grab them low on their stems and yank sharply, making sure to extract the entire root.

    8. Give your plants room to grow

    Check the spacing guide on the seed packets and be sure to remove crowded seedlings right away.

    9. Fertilize as needed

    Lightly till the soil by hand and add fertilizer to keep it rich. You can purchase prepared garden fertilizer or make your own from items like Epsom salt, eggshells, fish tank water and kitchen compost.

    10. Reap what you sow

    Harvest vegetables when they’re young and tender—but only pick them when you plan to use them. Pull root crops as soon as they reach edible size. Collect leaf crops by cutting them to within 2 inches of the ground. Finally, enjoy your harvest!

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    Want to know how to make an Urban Vegetable Garden? This article will help you in creating a functional and productive city vegetable garden.

    How to make a small vegetable garden

    What a pleasure to taste freshly picked vegetables and herbs in soups, stews, salads, in curries and other delicious cuisines, which have been cultivated in your own garden? But what if you live in a city and you don’t have a space for a regular garden?

    Well, there are options available even for the city gardeners who have a small home, apartment or a flat. The solution is optimization of the available space you have.

    Your little urban vegetable garden will not look like a traditional garden, where rows of tomatoes, beans, onion and cucumbers are planted in line in garden beds and thrive abundantly, but it will bring you immense satisfaction with enough homegrown harvest.

    Urban Vegetable Garden Design

    First of all, decide how much space you have– do you have a small patio, a balcony or a flat roof? If you have a veranda or a porch, you can use that space too. You can even grow a few plants on a windowsill.

    Choose the solution of square foot gardening for a city vegetable garden. Square foot gardening is proposed by Mel Bartholomew, it allows to utilize the small space well and increases the productivity.

    How to make a small vegetable garden

    In a square foot garden, vegetables are grown in raised bed made of individual squares of one square foot each (30 cm) and at least 6″ deep.
    Either you can place individual squares side by side to form one large square or make a whole 4’*4′ size raised bed and divide it into 4 squares. Square foot gardening method is a revolutionizing culture, it favors organic gardening. According to Bartholomew, only fertilizer you should use is compost. You can also use manure if it is readily available to you.

    In contrast to the traditional garden, which requires a large field to grow vegetable patches and a lot of care, small square foot garden is suitable for limited spaces.

    Indeed, this way of growing vegetables greatly helps. Some everyday actions are extremely easy to maintain. You can easily manage crops, it’s so easy to water each plant in a right amount with a simple watering can. No waste, no weed and almost no to less problem of pests. And the icing on the cake are those checkered appetizing and colorful vegetables that look very decorative too in an urban vegetable garden.

    You can make such raised beds of wood, PVC pipes and if you don’t mind having permanent structure make a concrete raised bed or you can put individual square containers side by side.

    Urban Vegetable Garden on a Balcony

    Balconies are even more limited space, but if you receive enough sun there you can easily manage to grow a lot of vegetables and herbs. You can imply the same square foot gardening method or grow plants in containers.

    If you want to make a vegetable garden on the balcony, read this post .

    Rooftop Vegetable Garden

    A lot of space in compare to small balconies and if you optimize it well, you’ll be able to cultivate enough vegetables for home use, fresh and organic.

    When choosing what to plant in your urban vegetable garden, consider your personal taste first, then of course how compatible your location and space is to grow it. Almost all the species demand ample sun and if your terrace garden is shady, your choices will shrink.

    Patio Vegetable Garden

    How to make a small vegetable garden

    In a city having a patio is a boon. You can make a productive patio vegetable garden there by this square foot gardening method. You can grow vegetables both on grounds and in containers. In addition, grow herbs that you’re fancy about. Almost all the herbs are easy to grow.

    You can grow citrus varieties in containers too.

    Urban Vegetable Garden on Veranda, Porch or other Enclosed Spaces

    Living in a city you know how precious every inch of space is, if you have a porch or veranda, use it to grow vegetables and herbs in containers. Choose plants that are easy to grow in partial shade as most of the time these spaces are roofed and don’t receive full sun. You can try all the green leafy vegetables like spinach, bok choi, and lettuce, root vegetables like carrot, parsnip and potatoes too. Home grown fresh and organic potatoes taste heavenly.

    How to make a small vegetable garden

    • Don’t cram up the containers or your squares with a lot of plants. Be aware that some vegetables need to be grown alone as they need more space for root development like peppers and chilies. Same in the case with tomatoes, eggplant, and cucumbers. Zucchini also needs to grow alone in a large container.
    • It is best to choose a variety of vegetables that do not send runners and spread as they will fill up the space of containers.
    • By combining vertical supports in squares or containers, you can also grow beans, peas, and small gourds.
    • Carrots, radishes, lettuce, beets are also easy to grow.
    • Fertilize plants regularly with organic fertilizer.

    And do not forget that a small urban vegetable garden can be as beautiful as it is functional, especially if you grow flowers in it with vegetables.

    This article was co-authored by Steve Masley. Steve Masley has been designing and maintaining organic vegetable gardens in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 30 years. He is an Organic Gardening Consultant and Founder of Grow-It-Organically, a website that teaches clients and students the ins and outs of organic vegetable gardening. In 2007 and 2008, Steve taught the Local Sustainable Agriculture Field Practicum at Stanford University.

    This article has been viewed 56,894 times.

    Growing your own organic vegetables is a great way to ensure you have healthy foods for your favorite recipes. When you grow organic veggies, you won’t be able to treat them with chemicals or herbicides, so you’ll need to be more mindful of pests. If you want to start an organic vegetable garden, select a suitable spot in your yard where you can dig a plot, build a raised bed, or set up planting containers. Next, prepare your soil and plant your veggies. As your plants grow, keep them healthy with organic pest control.

    How to make a small vegetable garden

    How to make a small vegetable garden

    How to make a small vegetable garden

    How to make a small vegetable garden

    Tip: As a bonus, building a raised bed will help you ensure the soil you use is organic because you’ll need to add soil to the bed.

    How to make a small vegetable garden

    How to make a small vegetable garden

    Tip: Create your own compost pile for a constant, homemade supply of fertilizer. Simply add fallen leaves, cut grass, and your own food scraps to the pile to create your own organic matter.