It’s projected that, by 2050, 68% of the population will live in urban areas. This brings about quite a challenge when it comes to space. Living in a city not only means less indoor but also less outdoor space.
Does that mean that we need to forget about our urge to plant, grow and sprout?
Thankfully, it doesn’t!
The truth is that you don’t need a big outside area to enjoy the pleasures of gardening. There are plenty of gardening methods for small spaces. Some are quite creative. Most will require only a few basic supplies to get started while some are more elaborate. Have a look at the seven tips on how to garden in a tiny backyard or balcony.
Related: How to Organise a Small Space
7 tips to garden in a small space
1. Shoot for High-Yield Plants
Choose your plants strategically to maximize your space. Some plants take up a larger footprint than others. Choose plants that are high-yield, that take up less space so that you can grow more of them. Large, leafy plants like cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli should be avoided. Instead, opt for ones that have a smaller growth span.
Crops to consider include:
High-yield plants can work well in smaller gardens. You should be able to cultivate enough to suit your needs.
2. Use Vertical Space
Another great use of space is to grow up instead of out. Plants that grow on vines can be trained to grow up a trellis or other vertical structure. Along with saving valuable real estate, there are a number of advantages to this gardening method. By choosing plants that grow upward, you’re allowing the air to circulate around them. This cuts down on common issues of traditional planting such as rot and fungus that occur due to moisture buildup.
Vertical gardening can be done creatively using various types of trellis mechanisms. As long as plants are able to latch onto the surface, they can grow upwards. Consider using wire, bamboo or wooden structures of various sorts. Pallets and lattice work well. You can even use rope or netting.
3. Try Container Gardening
If you don’t have a lot of ground space with soil, or even none at all, don’t despair. You don’t need a yard to garden. As long as you have a sunny spot to place containers, you’re in good shape. There are lots of plants and herbs that grow quite well in pots or other containers. Consider basil, chives, thyme, broccoli, cabbage or even edible flowers.
You can set them up right outside your door or on a balcony. Any place with room for a few large pots will do. Be sure to choose containers that are made of food-safe material and that have drainage. Bigger containers are usually better for planting. Look for ones that are at least 12 inches in diameter to allow plenty of space and to help retain moisture.
4. Elevate the Soil
If you have a small space in your yard, you can create garden beds in the shape of mounds or spirals to provide more square footage for your plants. This type of three-dimensional, elevated structure allows more room for gardening, while taking up less physical area. It’s quite genius, actually. They also add a pleasing look to your landscape.
5. Consider Edible Landscaping
One out-of-the-box way to think about gardening is to replace grass with plants. Do you really need a lawn? If you don’t need that space for other purposes and don’t enjoy mowing, edible landscaping might be the solution for you. Feel free to dig up your grass, till the soil and create a beautiful garden bed. Other options are to look for items you already have in your yard that could be replaced by plants or trees that produce fruits and vegetables.
6. Plant Indoors
When you need to garden small space, why not head indoors? Even if you have no outdoor area at all, there are still ways you can grow some of your favorite plants and herbs. A nice sunny window would be a lovely spot to place your indoor herb garden. Herbs like chives, basil, thyme, cilantro and parsley should do quite well there. You can even add a dwarf fruit tree to your home. Your new tree can be both decorative and practical.
7. Utilize Any Available Space
Take some time to assess both your indoor and outdoor areas. With a keen eye and an open-mind, you may just find unexpected places to plant things. You may have more room than you ever realized. Do you have a walkway leading to your home? If so, you can plant a number of different veggies along both sides of it. Fences provide a number of gardening solutions. You might be able to plant a narrow row of plants in front of your fence. You can also use it as a guide for vining plants or hang garden boxes from it.
What about a mailbox? Its post is perfect for vines or use the small plot of soil below it as a micro bed for small plants. Look around and see if you can come up with some more unused spots to do some gardening.
Hopefully, you now have some good ideas of ways you can garden in a small space. Most of us have more room than we may have realized. Though you may not be able to plant row upon row of produce, you’ll probably find great satisfaction in using the gardening area you do have. Enjoy!