Camping & Survival

Quick Prepper Tip: Small-Space Gardening: Making the Most of Your Tiny Area

Garden growing in a wood pallet

Cheaper Than Dirt Quick Prepper TipWith a little planning and patience, you might surprise yourself with the amount of food you can net from a small garden space.

Make a Plan

Analyze your space? Do you have room for a medium-sized raised or pallet bed? Or several long planters? A few potted plants? Think about the space you have and how much of the area you want to utilize for your garden. Sketch out a design and stick to it as you plant.

Do Your Research

Garden growing in a wood pallet
A wood pallet makes for a simple vertical garden.

Some plants need more room to breathe than others. Some types of lettuce need to be planted at least 16 inches apart while radishes only need two to three inches. Factoring details such as planting distances into your garden planning will help you make the most of your small space. By planting seeds that do not require as much space, you can stretch your square footage.

Look Up

Look into plants that climb stakes or trellises. Select climbers and creepers for your garden. Tomatoes, peas, and of course, many varieties of flowers grow vertically. These climbers free up valuable real estate in your garden and are the perfect seed type to grow in a garden limited on space.

Protect your space

A smaller garden typically means fewer plants. With fewer plants, you most assuredly want to protect your seeds and plants from bugs, slugs and pesky rabbits. Take the time to guard your space. Install wire fencing, used raised beds, and utilize some old farmer tricks to keep your veggies flourishing.

Do you have a small-space garden? Share your tips and experiences with us in the comment section.


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Comments (3)

  1. Check out Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. Its pretty amazing what you can plant in a 4’X4′ (16 square feet) plot.

  2. Saw something I want to try. Tom-Tato. It is a tomato grafted to a potato root . When the tomato frosts out in the fall you role out the taters from the large container they grew in. Two crops at the same time in one space!–To grow heavy melons or squash high up a fence support them with a cloth sling. Saw one small plot that used “re purposed” old bras for this.NOT a joke!

  3. Vegetable gardening has been a passion of mine for the last forty years and I’ve simplified it quite a bit. In the yard of my tract house I have a dirt plot 8′ by 34′ with five raised beds, another patch 3′ by 30′ another 3′ by 40′ and one 3′ by 28′. You’ve probably already figured they’re around the back perimeter of my house. As such I have three micro climates: one hot and sunny all day where I grow varieties of: artichokes, tomatoes, peppers, egg plants and strawberries. The one on the north side is cooler and it’s my berry patch with raspberries, o-la-la berries and boysenberries, plus: lettuce, onions and spices in large containers. On the south side there is partial shade thanks to the fence separating us from our neighbor’s yard and it’s a great place for cucumbers, melons and carrots and Swiss Chards. Most of the year we buy little in the line of produce from the markets.

    Beyond that I have a 6′ by 8′ Harbor Freight Green house. If I had the room I’d rather have the 10′ by 12′ but that would mean sacrificing part of the patio and I know I’d hear about it from the war department. A green house makes it possible to start and grow just about everything year around in southern California.

    With a hobby operation like this composting is a plus. The Ag teacher where I used to teach got me started when he said commercial compost often has heavy metals from commercial processed sewage and other harmful materials you don’t want in your food. Even with as small an operation as mine I can keep: two 9 cubic feet and one five cubic feet compost generators going all year and with that and the effluent from my two whiskey barrel fish tanks my plants are well fed.

    I buy few seeds now a days as I have saved them from the previous year’s harvests. I save them in empty 35 mm plastic photographic film canisters, (not the transparent ones), the black ones with the tight fitting gray lids that keep them hermetically sealed. I mark them with a wrap of masking tape and a Sharpie pen and I store them in the crisper drawer in the fridge. This way you know exactly what you have, what you’re growing, what it’s been fed with. Your produce is safe. Some countries are still using pesticides that have been banned hear for years. We’re not vegetarians, but with our tiny garden, if necessary we could be.

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