I love to garden, it soothes me. Unfortunately, tending a large garden has become a bit overwhelming for me. I live in an area that does not permit me to ‘dig up my yard’, so I needed to find an answer to my gardening problems and found the perfect solution in a small space garden.
It required a bit more imagination and design challenges than a large garden, but with a bit of research and some trial and error, I found what worked and discarded what didn’t.
With the right soil, proper drainage, clever planning and design solutions, I found that I could grow a surprising amount of food in very limited space. Now I can grow my own organic vegetables and herbs, not to mention gorgeous flowers, indoors or out, no matter what time of the year it is. My small space garden solution, container planting.
I found that a bright, sunny window is the best site for growing fresh food all year round. My indoor small space garden includes, some smaller sized tomatoes and peppers, leaf lettuce, radishes, green onions and a couple of my favorite herbs.
Planting partial packets of seeds, keep my crop growing year round in containers that are about 5 gallons each. I combine several different kinds of vegetables in two or three containers during the winter months and space my plantings, so that I continue to have the fresh produce at hand, when I want it. Then, I can go ‘all out’ and do a much bigger planting in the spring and summer months, when I can utilize more containers outdoors.
One thing to consider, when growing an indoor small space garden, is the amount of sunlight that your container garden will receive. This generally determines which crops can be grown. Root crops (radishes and carrots) and leaf crops (lettuce and spinach) can tolerate partial shade, but ‘fruited’ vegetables (tomatoes and peppers) need, at least, five hours of full, direct sunlight each day. You can manipulate the light available by providing reflective materials like, aluminum foil or marble chips around the plants, just be careful not to ‘burn’ your young plants and seedlings, so keep a close eye on any container that contain reflective materials. Knowing the amount of sunlight you need for each crop, also helps determine which vegetables can be planted together in a container. The ‘right’ soil is another main consideration. The best small space garden container soil needs to be porous enough to drain well and high enough in organic matter to hold water, as roots require both air and water.
I have found that plants don’t dry out as quickly indoors and that they grow slower and need far less fertilizer. I do run a humidifier in the winter months, which also helps keep the plants from drying out. For those that don’t run humidifiers, I suggest including some small-medium stones in the bottom of your containers, to keep the water from collecting at the roots but, still provide a little extra humidity for your plants between watering.
Growing a small space garden gets easier, with practice. It’s best, the first year, to start with a small selection of herbs, vegetables and a few flowers so you can get used to this new way of gardening. Start with what is easiest for you to grow, see how it goes and build from there.