What do you suggest for a small garden?

  • What do you suggest for a small garden?

    Posted by Musicians_Wife on November 23, 2022 at 1:39 am

    I’m a suburbanite who isn’t going to be moving anywhere in the foreseeable future and want to make the most out of my tiny garden. Currently I’ve got 85 sq ft of growing space in the form of raised beds and will be adding another 96 sq ft for next spring. I live in an area with ~200 frost free days, have temps in the mid to upper 90’s by mid July and they last through most if not all of August, and have 7a type winters.

    With all that out of the way, other than the ubiquitous backyard gardener starter kit of peppers, tomatoes, and squash, what is your “cash crop” that gives a good yield for the space and time it takes up? Or what is your favorite thing to grow because it’s absolutely amazing? I’m willing to devote the entirety of one of the new 8×4 beds to something or can split it up for multiple things.

    The end goal is to produce as much as we can where we are and maybe discover a new favorite or two.

    Hemi replied 1 year, 5 months ago 20 Members · 23 Replies
  • 23 Replies
  • BiggKidd

    November 23, 2022 at 4:03 am

    You will most likely see the most gain by companion planting and inter planting. Many things grow better with the right neighbors. So pick out the items you know you want and see what they work well with that you also like to eat. Also don’t forget about hanging planters and vertical gardening. Both are good ways to make the best use of small spaces. Another thing in zone 7 you can grow many things in the cold months.

  • leslienky

    November 24, 2022 at 12:24 am

    I also say to grow what you know you are going to eat. I have lots of space and grew squash and zucchini last summer but we don’t eat a lot of it. Felt it was a waste of space that I could have used for something else. I also grew a lot of peppers but again we don’t eat a lot of them. We eat an onion in some form with most dinners. I have yet to grow enough onions to last us through the year. I eat a salad everyday it tickles me to know that my salad greens were grown by me. You will gain tremendous satisfaction by growing the foods you will enjoy eating.

  • JerseyGiantChick

    November 24, 2022 at 6:29 am

    Maybe self made low tunnels, look for vegetables that grow well in your area.

  • Granny-Hatchet

    November 24, 2022 at 6:32 am

    I agree with Leslienky. First and foremost, grow what you eat.

    If you’re just trying it out grow a plant or two and decide if you like it or not before investing space and time into that veggie or fruit.

    For me, I guess my “cash crops” as you call them, would be tomatoes, bean, potatoes, and peppers and bunching onions (green onions). These five are the things I grow the best and I’m always blessed by their abundance. And so many of them volunteer that I almost always have more plants then originally planned. Green onions of course are well known for that. They flower their second year, and if you leave a couple or three to go to seed, you’ll have plenty the next season. Kind of a set and forget veggie.

    Basil is a real go getter. And mint… well I don’t think you can kill mint. Sage is awesome and is a perennial. As far as fruit.. raspberries, blackberries and mulberries are my high yielders.

  • AQuietAndOrderlyLife

    November 26, 2022 at 12:18 pm

    When we knew we’d be in the same place for a while, we started with high-dollar perennials … asparagus and various berries. These items are very expensive even when in-season, so it made sense to plant these and free up money to spend at the local farmers market or stores. Greens, too – easy to grow and have 2 crops [early spring and fall … and winter if you have a cold frame or greenhouse]; the high-quality greens at the store are expensive.

    Prior to that [when we were still unstable and moving a lot], we just grew what we ate the most of … tomatoes, green beans, leafy greens, potatoes, etc.

  • Summerhat-n-Chicks

    November 26, 2022 at 2:12 pm

    My best crop that I grow every year is string beans on a trellis. I have a small garden as well in grow zone 7a and my beans are a steady producer. I also have an elder berry which was important to me for it’s medicinal abilities.

    But generally, try to get most of your crop to grow upwards on trellis, it’s definitely a great space saver.

  • JerseyGiantChick

    November 26, 2022 at 4:56 pm

    Growing with trellis is a life saver for sure, we have Bauzäune gates they use for building site. Love to get some t post to put those up, maybe next year on the acker and Gärtnerei.

  • DB1

    November 26, 2022 at 5:55 pm

    Some plants that work well for me in zone 7b are yard long beans, cowpeas, okra and sweet potatoes. In the winter I grow cool weather crops like lettuce and collards.

  • LoveRunsRampant

    November 26, 2022 at 5:59 pm

    Succession and vertical gardening and companion planting are needed for small gardens I do a 30ft by 160 ft garden for everything on our suburban property. Finding creative ways to grow vertically where you can even in buckets along the neighbors fence works (I asked if I could trellis on the fence). Succession gardening is very helpful, I get 2 harvests of potatoes. Late ones are small but I just use them as fingerling. Cold crops in early spring and in fall. Beans 2 times a well.

    • Alarry31

      December 29, 2022 at 5:06 pm

      Is there a good chart for what plants work best next to what.

  • Bluesky63

    November 26, 2022 at 6:53 pm

    “adding another 96 sq ft for next spring” -I will suggest that you add the extra area now. The soil will have time to “age” over the winter and you will probably get a better crop. I always add my amendments in the fall.

    • Musicians_Wife

      December 5, 2022 at 11:58 pm

      I’m hoping to. So far since October every time we plan to build the beds (we have the materials already) it either rains or one of us is sick. We’re off work the week between Christmas and New Years so now I’m hoping to get it done then.

  • Squashmania

    November 28, 2022 at 10:50 pm

    Everyone else must be right in saying Go vertical as much as you can (you want the trellis to make ’em jealous!), and maybe get Mel Bartholomew ‘s book square foot gardening. He was an efficiency expert and figured out some amazing ways to get all you can out of the space you have. Plenty of info if you just Google the book title or his name. Happy growing!

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by  Squashmania.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by  Squashmania.
    • Dotdan

      December 6, 2022 at 1:58 am

      I was going to recommend the Square Foot Gardener too. Great book full of information

    • Private_Cluck

      December 6, 2022 at 2:39 am

      We have used the square foot method in our four raised beds for several years. It maximizes production in a limited space. We actually have the square foot method plastic template to plant with. For example, our 4×16 summer bed of okra at its peak was producing a gallon of okra every day.

      • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by  Private_Cluck.
      • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by  Private_Cluck.
  • Billt21

    November 28, 2022 at 11:12 pm

    Good afternoon

    I would give this a look.

    There are hundreds of small space gardening ideas here. Gary does I think a great job explaining everything he does.


  • EricSeider

    December 6, 2022 at 2:42 am

    My go to for small spaces is sweet potato, you get two crops, the tubers and the greens. They can also be grown in containers up high and have the vines hang down, or you could train them to grow up a trellis.

  • Squashmania

    December 6, 2022 at 4:54 am

    So Jersey Giant Chick is right with tunnels to extend your growing season at the “shoulders”, to start earlier and finish later.

    Private Cluck is also right with trellis……To conserve space, I may have a thought to combine the two.

    This will take some imagination, so come with me on the magical mini garden tour!

    Imagine February and you start with the trellis curved into a tunnel with plastic over it. It will be a low tunnel with the plastic extending our over the ends and twisted and weighed down

    Not like a greenhouse end wall. More like the twisted plastic wrap over the end of a loaf of bread. If you can gather neighbors’ veggie scraps and put a compost pile IN the tunnel, BOOM, heat for a better start. Think of your cold crops. Spinach, kale, chard, pak choi, etc. In a row at the back, plant some peas. When the weather starts to get better, mid-March, let’s say, move the “tunnel” and make it a trellis for the peas.

    Meanwhile, you can start some seeds indoors and avoid the pricey plant starts. DIY garden. And you can even check out some local libraries that have seeds to “lend”. Don’t forget to put a marigold in for bug control, and because flowers make people happy. A tasty bug controller is a nasturtium as well. The flowers and leaves are edible and the flowers are beautiful in salads, and are reminiscent of wasabi. This incorporates Big Kidd’s interplanting. Later the peas will give way to a cucumber or squash or malabar spinach, all vying for trellis space. BE PICKY. Lesliensky is right on the $$. If you only have (—–) this much space, grow what you like. You may LOVE radishes with wild abandon, and they only take 20 days. Or you may not be able to live without X, Y, or Z. The longer the growing season (parsnips are around 100 days) the longer a bed space is “taken up”. You may also find new varieties that you never tried before (strawberry spinach or lemon cucumbers, vine peach cantaloupe) Then, in the fall, the summer trellis can stay busy as a tunnel to finish out cauliflower, or keep the pepper plants popping!

    I hate to say it, but this topic has me SO excited to plan the garden for next Spring. We’ll just stop by to help 😁🤣

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by  Squashmania.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by  Squashmania.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by  Squashmania.
  • JerseyGiantChick

    December 6, 2022 at 2:53 pm

    Just let yourself go with the flow …

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