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Get the most edible garden out of a small space

Do you think your patio is too small for a garden? Think again. With the right plants and some space-saving design ideas, you can try your hand at growing an edible garden this year.

Woman gardening in small space

It would be nice if we all had sprawling vegetable gardens that fed a family of six, but most of us don’t have that much space. But even if you live in a condo, you’d be surprised at how much you can plant in a small garden. There are herbs and vegetables that don’t take up a lot of room but produce a good yield. Keep these tips in mind and start reaping the rewards of growing your own crops.

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How many times have you bought a bunch of, say, basil, only to throw most of it away because you only needed a few tablespoons? Imagine being able to go out to your garden to clip only what you need for dinner that night. Even if you don’t have room in the ground, you can plant herbs in pots and place them all around your small space. Herbs thrive in pots and planter boxes and still produce a plentiful bounty.

Some types of herbs that can be grown easily in pots include thyme, rosemary, basil, tarragon, sage and mint. Certain herbs like rosemary can get very large, so be sure to read the tags to get an idea of how big things will get and how large your pots need to be to accommodate them. Also keep in mind that small pots tend to dry out quickly, so they may need frequent watering.

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Some vegetables need a lot of space to, and if you’re dealing with a tiny patio, you should probably cross pumpkins off your list of things to plant. But crops like chili peppers, bell peppers, radishes, beets, carrots and some lettuce can yield a lot without taking over the garden. Tomato plants can get very big, but regular training and pruning can keep them manageable. Pole beans grow up instead of out, which saves on space. Like herbs, vegetables can also be planted in boxes and containers, provided they have enough room for their root systems.

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Space-saving ideas

In some cases, you don’t need patio space at all. An indoor herb garden lets you bring the outdoors in, as long as you have a spot that gets plenty of light. Just think: You can have herbs year-round!

Think about adding a few window boxes outside to keep containers off the ground. You can buy boxes premade or build your own. Either way, they can be the perfect solution to your small-space garden.

Get creative with containers and reuse instead of buying new. Most any box or bucket can be turned into a planter by drilling a few holes in the bottom, giving you more options for your container garden.

Use a trellis, poles or rails to get your plants up and off the ground for another space-saving option. Not all varieties of plants will do this, but any vines or trailing plants can be trained to grow where you want them. You can even make a trellis out of branches instead of buying one.

More on gardening

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How to garden on a budget
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