UCCE Master Gardener of El Dorado County
Don’t let limited space hold you back from growing your own organic food at home. Here are a few tips for success to realize high vegetable gardening yields from small spaces.
First and most important consider using raised garden beds or containers to maximize veggie garden space. These options save water, hold improved soils for better growing conditions, require less maintenance and minimize diseases and pests. Harvesting is usually effortless when veggies are up off ground level and closer to the house or kitchen. One of the biggest advantages is your flexibility to locate containers anywhere you want your plants: small areas, patios, decks and unused spaces like side yards or along fences and walls.
Locate containers in sunny areas; aim for an ideal eight hours a day. If sun is a challenge, place containers in south-facing areas or near stucco walls for warmth and reflected light.
Containerized plants dry out more quickly so keep your water source handy. Drip irrigation helps conserve water, as does organic mulch over exposed soil surfaces. Good, quality potting soil for your containers is important, as is topsoil for larger raised beds. Keep your plants happy by adding compost to the soil mix and use a slow-release organic fertilizer occasionally through the garden season.
An important rule of thumb is to maximize vertical space: grow up, not out whenever possible. Match the growth pattern of the plant to the type of container and use any number of plant support