Gardening in Small Spaces
The only thing better than summer vegetables is knowing that you've grown them yourself. You don't have to miss out just because you have a small space. There are plenty of plants you can grow on your windowsill or on your patio. If you follow these tips, you'll have enough success to share with friends.
Grow up, not out - Potted plants can take up a lot of space, and that's not ideal when you're working in a small area. Thankfully, clever gardeners around the world have come up with a practical solution - vertical gardening. Utilize the wall rather than the ground space, and you'll double or triple your garden's space.
Choose smaller varieties of plants - You know that corn stalks wouldn't grow in a tiny vase, and you should apply this line of thinking to choosing the varieties of foods that you grow in containers. From peas to peppers and tomatoes to cucumbers, some dwarf and bush varieties were created especially to grow in small spaces.
Think outside of the container - Having a productive patio garden doesn't have to be expensive. With any quick look around your home, you should be able to find a suitable container without spending a penny. Things like old buckets and laundry baskets are perfect for plants such as potatoes and strawberries.
Use the right soil - Since your container plants won't be able to source nutrients from the ground, choosing the right soil is vital to your garden's success. Experts recommend a mix of quality potting soil and peat, but creating your own compost is even more fun.
Too much sun can be detrimental - Even if you are growing sun-loving plants like tomatoes, container plants come with a different set of rules. Because of the reduced surface area, the roots of a container plant can overheat easily. Given that certain containers absorb more heat than others, it's a good idea to make sure your plants are getting just the right amount of light. Too much light can be harmful.
Monitor water levels carefully - Just as easily as your plants can dry out from too much heat, they can also suffer from too much moisture. Overwatering your plants - or planting them in containers with poor drainage - can cause the root system to rot. Keep a careful eye on your plant's specific needs, and make sure they have adequate drainage holes.
Fertilize according to plant needs - As a general rule of thumb, container gardens should be fertilized once every couple of weeks. However, certain plants require more frequent feeding while they are in the fruiting stage. Do a little research about your plants and tailor their fertilization schedule as they need it.
Just because you have a small space doesn't mean that you can't have a decent-sized harvest. With a little thought, a little inventiveness, and a little dedication, you'll be making summer dishes with your own homegrown food.