Growing vegetables in your small garden

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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Do you love the idea of being able to step outside your back door to grab some fresh produce to cook up for dinner? It sounds like heaven, don't you think? The problem is so many people believe that they need a large garden in order to be able to do this but a small outdoor space still offers a wealth of possibilities, too!

We've put together what we think are some fantastic tips for getting the most out of a small garden in order to grow vegetables of your own. Don't worry, you don't have to be a hardcore vegetarian to take part, you just need a desire to start being a little more self-sufficient!

Plan out your space

Before you start planning how and where you can grow vegetables, step back and take stock of your garden space. You need to have a really clear idea of where you will put things, as well as a vague thought about what you would most like to grow.

If you have a space that is small, such as this one from Fenton Roberts Garden Design, don't feel discouraged; simply see it as an opportunity to make better and more clever use of every inch. We actually think those raised bed planters offer a lot of potential as they stand!

Prepare the soil

Featherbrook House: modern Garden by PKA Architects Ltd
PKA Architects Ltd

Featherbrook House

PKA Architects Ltd

While you might be super excited about trying to grow vegetables, you need to take it one step at a time and really put a lot of effort into all the preparation. Once your space is properly planned out you need to make sure that you have some top quality soil in place. Or at least easy access to some.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking that you can nurture vegetables as they grow and improve the soil as you go. Give your food the best possible chance right from the start and look to invest in soil  that has compost already mixed into it.

Decide what you want to grow

Here is the important decision that you have been dying to make. Start off by looking at your diet and identifying what you eat the most of. It might be helpful to keep a food diary for a week or so just to be sure. From here, look into which of your favourite vegetables are the easiest for beginners to grow.

A small garden need not be a stumbling block to being able to grow vegetables but you need to be frugal with your space so there is little point planting anything you hardly eat, is there? You should also think about how you can preserve any excess produce!

Use vertical space

NEW Living Wall Planter:   by Woolly Pocket
Woolly Pocket

NEW Living Wall Planter

Woolly Pocket

If you are desperate to grow vegetables but every time you look out into your garden space you don't think there is enough room, are you sure that you are looking at all the potential it offers? Don't just gauge things in terms of floorspace, look up and think about taking advantage of vertical opportunities, too!

If you have walls or fences in your small garden they offer a wealth of hanging basket, trough or shelf opportunities and you can go as high as you dare. Tomatoes will love growing in a hanging basket and beans need to grow up, so these are perfect candidates!

Plant vegetables that can happily co-exist together

Freshly Prepped: Chelsea Flower Show 2009:  Commercial Spaces by Aralia
Aralia

Freshly Prepped: Chelsea Flower Show 2009

Aralia

If you are short on space but have a lot of determination to grow vegetables in your garden, try to find certain plants and varieties that can happily share a space. Different types of lettuce, for example, can often happily grow together in one pot.

Herbs are very friendly and love to all hang out and grow together and we know you'll find certain vegetables are just as sociable and willing to get up close and personal with each other. Just be aware of keeping your tasty treats out of the reach of pests though.

Use pots

NEW Living Wall Planter:   by Woolly Pocket
Woolly Pocket

NEW Living Wall Planter

Woolly Pocket

If you have absolutely no outdoor space you can still try to grow vegetables. We think that certain veggies will be more than happy to grow on their own in pots, as long as the right temperature can be maintained in your house or on a small balcony.

Why not start a little more gently and opt to grow some chilli plants or some frequently used herbs? This should gently lead you into growing things like tomatoes and other salad veggies.

For more amazing garden inspiration, take a look at this Ideabook: Inspirational Front Garden Designs. Don't forget about the front of your home!

Are you keen to start growing your own food? What would you start with? We'd love to hear from you in the comments!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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