Making the Most of your Space to Garden

With all the talk of contaminated store-bought vegetables and the cost of those vegetables rising every day, it makes sense to grow your own whenever and wherever possible.  People think that growing fruit and vegetables requires a lot of space but that couldn’t be further from the truth with these space-saving tips.

More companies are now breeding ‘patio’ type plants like tomatoes, cucumbers and strawberries to grow in more compact form.  Look for the words “compact”, “patio” and “space-saver” when you buy seeds or plants.  You can use recycled buckets (make sure they have a way to drain excess water) to plant a compact tomato plant, cucumber plant and a variety of lettuces on a small apartment style porch if you wanted to!

Vegetables aren’t the only thing going small.  Cherries, apples, pears and other fruit bearing trees now come in dwarf varieties.  Consider fruiting trees instead of non-fruiting for landscaping, especially if space is limited.  A hedge of blueberry plants will not only provide you with a juicy treat in the summer but also give you glorious red foliage for the fall.  Edible landscaping makes good use of your space AND your landscaping dollars.

Think three-dimensionally with your growing space (or think “the sky is the limit!).  If you have a fence or railing, you can use string or chicken wire tacked to your fencing to train cucumbers, sugar-snap peas, tomatoes and pole beans to grow up the fence or railing.  Plants like sugar-snap peas and pole beans can be grown close together and yield abundant crops for the small amount of space they need.  Store bought or homemade trellises will allow you to gain a large amount of vertical space.

Don’t forget that while you might have stuff growing UP, that you have lots of space going DOWN as well.  It only takes a 6”-8” space from the base of your upward growing sugar snaps or pole beans to create a row of radishes or lettuce.  The radishes will mature very quickly and your upward growing plants will shade your tender lettuces.  I have a vertical bed which trellises my upward growing plants but I also have the bed do double duty by planting radishes, carrots and lettuces in front of the bed.

Don’t forget space hidden in plain view.  Instead of planting those marigolds next to the walkway this year, go for alternating plantings of green and red leaf lettuce and a collection of herbs.   Instead of planting just any old ground cover, consider edible ground cover like cranberries (a new variety does NOT require a bog and is a beautiful ground cover that will give you cranberries by fall).  Instead of hanging baskets of flowers, you can plant a hanging tomato plant or a basket of the patio-style cucumbers.

These are just a few ideas to get you looking at your space in a different way.  Just remember: The sky is the limit and there is no rule as to what you have to use to landscape your property.  Get creative!

Tammy Paquin is a work-from-home mom of 3 boys and the owner and publisher of Frugal-Families, an online resource for frugality, finances, budgeting and everything else related to stretching the dollar and living well while spending less. For more great gardening ideas and pictures visit, Frugal-Families Blog

Last 5 Articles Added By Tammy Paquin

About Tammy Paquin

Tammy Paquin is a work from home mom of 3 boys and wife to a great guy and the owner and publisher of Frugal-Families, a website devoted to frugality, budgeting, simple living, homesteading and helping everyone, families and singles alike, stretch their hard-earned dollars. She and her family live in New England and love hiking, camping, kayaking and gardening.

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