Many people with backyard gardens find it necessary to work within a very limited space. That means making some tough choices, and reserving valuable planting areas for only those things our families truly enjoy. It may also mean passing on some of the fruits and vegetables we do enjoy because they tend to hog up a lot of precious room. It is really surprising how much a small piece of land or garden will produce. Keep pots in mind too. Think of them as little raised beds. It is just as easy to amend the soil and cultivate veggies in pots as it is in the ground.
Here is a list of some fall favorites that make great choices for smaller gardens. Along with each, is a recommendation of how many plants you can squeeze into a single square foot of space. If you have been hesitating to plant because you have a small yard, or even just a patio, hesitate no longer. Release your inner gardener!
ARUGULA – Place arugula and other leafy vegetables such as leaf lettuce and spinach, four plants to one foot of space. Bonus: these plants do well in areas with dappled shade or shade for part of the day.
BOK CHOY – This is one of the cruciferous veggies that are “oh so healthy,” and they do not mind being cozy in the garden. You can place up to nine plants per single square foot of space.
CHIVES – Chives do not take up much space, and they offer so much in return. Aside from adding a punch of flavor to all kinds of recipes, they help deter pests in the garden. You can place nine plants in a square foot of space. Bonus: if you let a few of them go to flower, you can use the flowers as edible garnish!
CARROTS – What is not to love about carrots? They are so sweet and tasty when picked right from the garden, and they are full of antioxidants and vitamins. Place up to sixteen per square foot of space. Bonus: carrots are a perfect first garden crop for kids because they are so easy to grow.
GARLIC – Garlic is a staple in many types of cuisine and a staple in many kitchens. It is also indespensable in the garden. Planted among the other plants, garlic will deter many pests. Place four to nine per square foot, depending on the variety you choose. Bonus: plant garlic with roses and say goodbye to aphids!
LEEKS – Leeks are a wonderful addition to many soups, stews, casseroles, etc. They offer a very long growing season in desert gardens, and are quite easy to grow. Place nine to one square foot of space.
SWEET PEAS – There is nothing like the taste of sweet peas picked right from the vine. These take up very little garden space when grown on a trellis. Plant four plants to a single square foot of space.
PEPPERS – There are so many varieties of peppers, that it would be a shame to limit a garden with just one. There are even some pepper plants that produce a variety of colors. They do like to have some elbow room though. Give each pepper plant a square foot of space.
RADISHES – Radishes are another crop that is just plain fun to grow. They are so easy to grow and there are many different varieties. Try planting some every week to ten days for a continuous crop throughout the growing season. You can place up to sixteen per square foot of space. Be sure to thin them to no more than that though, or they will not reach full size.
TOMATOES – Tomatoes do like a bit more elbow room than a lot of other plants, but no garden would be complete without at least one. ‘Sweet 100s’ is a great choice if space is really limited. It produces juicy, succulent cherry tomatoes. Grow them on a support to save space. Place a single plant in one square foot. Larger tomato varieties need about four square feet per plant.