Growing Food in a Small Space


Do you grow food in your yard?  Have you thought of the benefits but assumed you didn't have enough space or the right equipment?  Today I want to share with you a few ways you can tuck edible plants in where ever you live.  

Whether you live in an apartment, mobile home, suburban or city lot or even if you have a large lot but not a lot of time or energy, you can grow food.

If 2020 taught us anything it was that it is important to take ownership and responsibility for as much of our needs as we physically and financially can.

Growing food is one of those ways.  While it might not be practical or possible to grow everything you eat, you can grow more seasonal produce than you think no matter where you live.

First let's chat a little about a few of the benefits.  

1.  You are quality control.  You never have to wonder if what you are eating is healthy or organic.  You are in charge of what is used in your soil both as fertilizer and pest control.

2.  Fruits and vegetables are a healthier choice when planning meals than processed or canned goods.

3.  You can grow things the grocery stores don't sell.

4.  You will learn to cook and eat seasonally.

5.  Vitamin D from the sun is good for your body and for your mind.

6.  You'll be outside getting a bit of exercise.

Now let's talk about the equipment and space requirements.

It is actually pretty easy to get started with what you more than likely have laying around your house or tucked in the garage.

1.  You will need a vessel to grow in.  That can be as simple as a pot or tub or even a large plastic storage container that you might use to store your seasonal decor in.  I use several different types of containers tucked in my yard plus a few raised beds that my husband built for me.  Just make sure there are a few holes in the bottom for drainage.

2.  Basic tools like a spade and gardening gloves will come in handy.

3.  The best potting soil you can afford plus a bit of starter mix if you are growing from seed.

4.  An organic fertilizer.  Either liquid or granule will work fine.

5.  Seeds or plant starts from your local big box store or garden center.

6.  A location that gets at least six hours of sun per day.

As we get older we may become less able to lift and bend so you can either grow on a picnic or small table or purchase or have built a taller raised bed that will lessen the need to kneel and bend.

Are you ready to get planting?  Since it's winter as I am typing this, let's talk about cool season crops you can get in the ground after your last frost.  (Google "when is my last frost date" and put in your zip code.  This will give you a good idea of when to plant.)  

The first thing I did was select the best location.  Trust me, it's much easier to move your container empty rather than once it's loaded down with soil.  Once you've got it placed where you want it then go ahead and add your potting soil.  If you have granule fertilizer mix a handful into the soil as directed on the package.

Then just add in your plants.  If you are growing from seed, add an inch or so of the starter soil mix right on top of your potting soil.  Don't mix it in just let it sit on the top.  Then plant your seeds as directed on the seed envelope and water in gently with a fine mist sprayer or a spray bottle.  You don't want to water so hard that the seeds get jostled around.

It's important to keep the seeds moist until they sprout.  Once you see them pop through the soil continue to water as the soil begins to look dry.  About a month after they have emerged (depending on what you've sown) you will begin to be able to harvest a few of the outer leaves.  The wonderful thing about lettuce is that as long as you don't harvest the entire head, it will continue to send out new leaves in the center and you can enjoy fresh greens until the weather warms up.

Here's a video of the lettuce bowl I planted and all the different ways I've tucked food into my garden.

You could use this same method to plant strawberries or herbs or a cherry tomato plant or peppers.  The choices are almost limitless.  Just check the mature size of whatever you want to grow to make sure your container will accommodate it and that you are going to provide it enough sun to thrive.

Let me know if you're growing food in your garden?  Is it a small space or do your have lots of room to plant?

And of course, let me know if you have any questions.  I am always happy to share what I know!

xo, Patty

1 comment

  1. I haven't grown anything at our new place yet..except some flowers and plants in the back patio. Will see what this year brings. Great post, Patty. xo Diana


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