Gardening in Small Spaces: How to Grow Your Own Healthy Food
Do you live in an urban or suburban area but still want to grow your own healthy food? You can! Gardening in small spaces has become increasingly popular in recent years, and it's easier than you might think to have a thriving garden despite limited space. From indoors to patios, yards, balconies, and windowsills, there are plenty of ways to create a unique and successful garden that allows you to grow your own food. In this blog post, we will explore the various options available for gardening in small spaces and offer advice on how to create your own edible oasis.
The Benefits of Gardening
Gardening provides numerous benefits to your overall health beyond just cleaner food. It can reduce stress, provide physical activity, and even help to improve your mental health. Many people who take up gardening as a hobby comment on the relaxing and intrinsic connection to nature they develop. You learn more about the benefits of each plant and build an appreciation of our environment, all while saving money on groceries.
Gardening in small spaces also helps to reduce your environmental footprint by reducing the need for single-use plastics and chemically-treated produce from grocery stores. It also reduces your overall food miles, as the produce grown in your small garden won't have to travel far.
Moreover, you don't need a large garden to enjoy the benefits of gardening. Even small spaces can provide you with ample opportunities to grow your own food. You can grow fruits, vegetables, herbs, and more, even if you only have access to a small patio or windowsill.
Growing Vegetables Even in Small Spaces
Many vegetables can be grown in a small space. Climbing vegetables, such as tomatoes and beans, are ideal for limited space, as they grow up, instead of out. Vegetables such as lettuce and kale can be grown in containers, but did you know tomatoes, squash, peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, chilis and okra can also be grown in containers too? People commonly plant herbs in small spaces, such as a windowsill in your kitchen, ready to be picked for dinner time, but many don't realize even fruits can grow in similarly small spots. Fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, can all be grown in containers or hanging baskets!
With a little creativity and some research, you can find ways to make the most of your small space and grow healthy organic food. It may take a little more effort than with a larger garden, but it is definitely possible. Here are our tips on how to grow in a variety of small spaces.
Container gardening is a great way to grow your own food in small spaces, whether indoors or outdoors. Containers can come in many shapes and sizes, so you can choose the one that fits your space the best. You can use anything from old buckets, planters, plastic containers, and even burlap sacks to create a container garden. Here are some tips on how to create a successful container garden:
- Types of Containers to Use: When choosing containers for your garden, make sure they have drainage holes at the bottom so that water can flow through freely. Some of the most common containers are pots, planters, raised beds, window boxes, and self-watering containers. If you're reusing a container (such as a 5-gallon paint bucket, remember to add drainage holes underneath yourself.
- Best Placement to Capture the Most Light: It’s important to ensure that your containers get enough sunlight in order for your plants to grow properly. Place your containers in an area with direct sunlight for at least six hours per day. If you’re growing indoors, then keep your containers near windows or use grow lights to provide enough light for your plants. Light matters a lot - so make sure you're choosing plants that can grow in your specific lighting conditions. If something requires full direct sun for 6+ hours a day, but your balcony is partial, the plant won't do well. Make sure to choose plants that can thrive in your spot.
- Don't Cross Off Larger Vegetables: Did you know that even potatoes can be easily grown in containers?! Yes, and very easily too! Simply fill a large container with compost or soil and add a few potatoes. Make sure the drainage on the container is good! The potatoes will eventually start sprouting eyes and you can begin harvesting them when the potato plants start to flower. Want to have cucumbers this summer? Make your own lattice or ladder and use height to your advantage. Cucumbers and other vine plants can thrive in small spaces if they can go up!
- Try More Expensive Vegetables to Cut Down on Food Costs: Some of the most expensive vegetables that you can grow yourself in containers include bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, spinach, kale, and carrots. So why not try to grow these at home and save on your weekly grocery haul? To get the best results, make sure to use good-quality soil and give your plants enough water and nutrients.
Indoor gardening is a great way to bring the beauty of nature inside your home, even if you don’t have a lot of space. But before you get started, it’s important to consider a few key factors for successful indoor gardening.
- The first is the amount of natural light available in your space. If you’re growing edibles, then you will need to make sure that your plants receive enough light to survive and thrive. If not, then you may need to supplement your plants with artificial lighting. You can pick up UV lamps at any farm/home supply store or online at amazon.com and similar sites.
- The second factor to consider is temperature. Make sure to research the vegetables, herbs, and/or fruit you want to grow indoors and figure out their ideal temperatures. Many edibles require cooler temperatures than those found in typical indoor spaces. Depending on the type of plant you want to grow, you may need to provide additional heating or cooling.
- Third, it’s important to select plants that are best suited for the diffused light often found in indoor spaces. Many houseplants, such as ferns and spider plants, do well with little direct sunlight. Vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, chard, and kale are also ideal choices for an indoor garden.
By taking the time to plan ahead and select the right plants for your space, you can create a thriving indoor garden. With proper care, your plants will bring beauty and nutrition into your home for years to come.
Square Foot Gardening
Square foot gardening is a another form of gardening in small spaces. It's becoming more popular for suburban gardeners to get the most bang out of their yards. It is how you'd imagine it - a form of gardening designed to maximize crop yields from small spaces. This type of gardening was first developed by Mel Bartholomew in the 1970s. The idea is to divide your garden into one-foot squares and plant different crops in each square. This method of planting allows you to get more out of your garden while using a fraction of the space traditionally used for planting.
Can you do this in a small yard?
Yes, this method of gardening is perfect for small yards! It requires less work to maintain than traditional gardens and is ideal for people who don't have a lot of time to devote to their gardens. It also helps to keep your garden organized and helps you to get the most out of the space you have available.
How to get started:
Getting started with square-foot gardening is relatively simple. Start by marking off a section of your yard that will be dedicated to your garden. Divide the area into one-foot squares, then decide which vegetables or flowers you want to plant in each square. Make sure to leave enough room for plants to grow, and also keep in mind the amount of sun and water each plant needs. Once you have planned out your garden, it’s time to start planting!
Now on to a newer concept in small-space gardening - hydroponic gardening. Hydroponic gardening is a method of growing plants without soil, using a nutrient-rich solution that delivers the necessary nutrients directly to the roots. It is an efficient way to grow fruits and vegetables, with many advantages over traditional gardening techniques.
How does it work?
The nutrient solution used in hydroponic gardening contains essential elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and other trace minerals. This solution is held in a reservoir or tank and is then delivered to the plant’s root zone via a submersible pump. The roots absorb the nutrient-rich water and deliver it to the rest of the plant, allowing it to grow. Most types of fruits and vegetables can be grown hydroponically, including lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, and herbs.
Hydroponic gardening can be done indoors in a well-lit area such as a sunroom or greenhouse. You’ll need to keep a close eye on the nutrient levels in the solution and maintain a stable temperature range to ensure healthy plant growth. Some hydroponic kits online even come with additional lighting so if you have a free corner of your apartment with not great light, it can still become a spot to grow your food!
Gardening in small spaces doesn't have to be a daunting task. With a bit of planning and creativity, you can create a thriving and productive garden even in the smallest of spaces. Cultivate a connection with the natural world and bring joy into your life by starting your own garden this year. We want to see what you grow! Tag us on social (@bold_botanica) and show us your garden!