The Honest Broker: Small Space Gardens
Diane Lott, Broker
Paradise Found Realty
Home is where your garden grows. With today’s grocery prices, it is a great idea to try a small vegetable garden. Whether you have a green thumb or not, there are fool proof veggies and simple ideas for growing in small spaces. With the right containers, soil, watering schedule, and sun exposure, it’s possible to yield your favorite tasty vegetables in a small footprint. Small sunny spots in your yard, patio, or balcony can all be successful locations.
Balcony, Windowsill or Patio gardens
To maximize a small vegetable garden, choose a location that can provide adequate sunlight, access to a water source, and rich, fertile soil to grow healthy vegetables.
Sun: Vegetables need at least six to eight hours of direct sun each day. Without sun, the fruits will not ripen, and the plants will be stressed. Even if the site is sun-challenged, there are a few vegetables that grow in light shade, such as lettuce and other leafy greens, root vegetables, broccoli, and cole crops.
Water: Vegetables require regular watering. A drip irrigation system is simple to install and saves water by directly watering the plant’s roots (losing less water to evaporation). Even a simple soaker hose is better than a sprinkler system that wets the foliage, which can make plants prone to blights and mildews.
Soil: Vegetables need a soil rich in organic matter or fertile soil is important to the growth of all plants, but even more so with vegetables because the taste is affected by the quality of the soil.
Choose vegetables that grow well together. Using compact varieties allows you to grow a variety of plants in the same space. Look for the word patio, pixie, tiny, compact, baby, or dwarf. Growing vegetables vertically saves space. If growing a variety of vegetables, look for compact varieties and vining crops that can be trained to grow vertically on support structures. Companion planting serves to conserve space. Shade-tolerant plants benefit from being planted next to taller crops. Early harvested vegetables.
Succession planting is a useful technique for any vegetable garden, large or small, especially when space is limited. Succession planting means reseeding quick-growing crops every two to three weeks during the growing season. It is especially useful with crops such as beans, zucchini, and lettuce that tend to grow abundantly.
Growing Fruits and Vegetables in Containers
Container gardening is a way to control the soil, sun, and growing conditions of your edible plants. It also allows you to fit edible gardening into the smallest spaces by placing the containers in strategic locations. Virtually any fruit, vegetable, or herb can be grown in a container if the container is large enough to accommodate the mature size of the plant.
Container depth. Herbs and leafy greens can grow in small containers or hanging baskets. Fruiting plants such as tomatoes, peppers, etc. work best when planted in 5-gallon containers. The larger the container, the more soil it contains, and the less often you’ll have to water. The material used to manufacture the container and the container color also affect how quickly a container dries out. Clay and terracotta containers lose moisture faster, and black containers retain more heat. You can purchase soil specifically balanced for vegetable container gardening with slow-release fertilizer already mixed in for the most absolute no-fuss garden.
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