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How to Grow Vegetables in a Small Spaces

Jump to Recipea group of small pots growing herbs

How do you grow vegetables in a small space? You may have a small garden or just a porch with some pots. Even with a small size area, you can get some great food out of it. There are certain vegetables that can optimize your space to get more production than if you planted other vegetables.

What to Plant

Herbs

Herbs are my number one thing to grow in a small space. Herbs add so much flavor to a dish and it can be used in so many meals. Plant whatever ones you use the most. The ones I like the best are parsley, basil, and rosemary. Rosemary and thyme aren’t very fast growing so they are nice if you want to keep them small. Dill and mint can become a large plant so those are ones I would avoid if you are tight on space. 

Small Vegetable Varieties

Some vegetables have different varieties that have smaller growing habits. This can be very helpful when looking at a garden in a small space. Some I have tried are bushing summer squash plants. Instead of the vining squash that can take over your whole yard, you can grow a bush type that stays more compact. I have even grown them in pots before and they worked great. These still grow a decent size so if you are extremely tight on space,, any type of squash may be too large.

Another type I have heard of but I haven't tried yet are small growing tomatoes. Tiny Tim is one that is a determinate type of tomato, so it has a set size. I have seen this variety grown in containers often. You can also grow some indeterminate tomatoes such as cherry cocktail. These ones might need a little more staking since they can have a variety of sizes, but they generally stay fairly small.

Peppers are another great thing to plant in containers or smaller areas of the garden. I have found peppers such as jalapeños and habanadas grow fairly compact and produce a ton of peppers.

small tomatoes growing on a tomato plant

Lettuces

Lettuce typically grows in small bunches and can be easily tucked into a garden bed. Some lettuces that grow great in small spaces are arugula, mixed greens, and spinach. I would stay away from any type of head lettuce. Those have a tendency to grow very large. Also some dark leafy greens can grow a little larger as well such as kale, swiss chard, and collard greens. One thing to be aware of when planting lettuce is that lettuce likes cooler weather. Plant them in spring and fall. In some climates you can get away with planting them in summer, but make sure to protect them from any harsh afternoon sun. 

Trellising plants

If you are tight on space a great way to increase your space is to grow up. You can get a stand alone trellis or get something you can lean onto your house or balcony. Depending on the size of the space you could grow anything from beans to cucumbers to squash. I grew these cucumbers from Row 7 seeds last year and they were such a great producing plant!

Tips to Growing Vegetables in a Small Space

  1. Gardening is all about experimenting, so give a few things a try and see what works and what doesn’t. 
  2. Grow what you love. Pick a few things you know you will eat and focus on those.
  3. Don’t over plant. When you have a small garden you tend to want to pack it full, but remember your plants will grow. The more you add to a space the less nutrients each plant will get.


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