Top Tips for Small-Space Gardening

Daisy in a Small Garden

City dwellers have limited gardening options since there’s no way plants thrive in asphalt. People who live in apartments and condominiums are even less lucky. In these situations, there are plenty of opportunities to get creative for green-thumbed people.

Instead of hauling a tractor to dig up yard space (and potentially earn the ire of neighbors and urban planning officials), consider using the structures already available in your immediate environment.

Go Vertical

Vertical gardening techniques are the most common workarounds for growing greens. This system makes use of window boxes, grow bags, garden boxes, pallets, and salvaged shutters. There are more materials you can rustle up that can serve as well as a yard. You just need to keep a sharp eye out. It helps to do research on the type of vertical gardening system that maximizes the available space you have.

Double Down on Drainage

Remember that plants need adequate drainage for watering. Shallow-rooted plants like herbs, strawberries and green leafy veggies can be grown in proximity. This technique will help you save on watering resources. Punch holes in your plant boxes so the soil does not get soggy and to avoid rotting roots.

Souped-up Soil

Potting soil needs to be high quality, and there are many variants available for this particular gardening setup. Mix your garden-variety soil with vermiculite and even kitty litter to make sure your plants are getting the nutrients they need to grow. You can use different types of soil mixes to help your garden thrive.

Speaking of soil, do not forget to include compost options so that your biodegradables do not go to waste. Compost tumblers are a viable option for your task, and even the new, compact ones can get the job done as well as their bigger counterparts. Worm composting bins are also a great option if you are looking to turn your kitchen scraps into rich fertilizer.

Choose Suitable Crops

Knowing the types of plants to grow is essential to your endeavor. Compact plants are the best way to go given the limited space. Herbs like lavender, thyme, and oregano flourish in most parts of the country and need minimal replacing. You also get some great, homegrown cooking ingredients, to boot. Plants like potatoes, garlic, onion, turnips, green beans, cucumber, and cabbages are some of the many greens that can live in containers.

Another useful yet often-overlooked factor is attracting pollinators. Gardens thrive in large part to pollinators, and one surefire way to bring them to your garden is to plant some flowers. Edible herbs like basil, dill and rosemary also draw in pollinators, as a bonus.

Since we are dealing with finite space and resources, maximize them by growing plant varieties with high yield. Avoid planting large crops if you only have, say, 1sq ft of the gardening real estate. Instead, go for quantity-yielding ones like radish, spinach, and carrot. Growing vines also lets you take advantage of vertical structures in your home, letting you save on precious soil space.

These are just basic techniques for urban gardening 101, and as you learn to work with your limited space, the more likely you can be creative with growing plants in prescribed environments.