How to Have a Bountiful Garden in Small Spaces

Gardening is enjoyable, healthy and can certainly save you money by growing your own food. Reading garden magazines in the early spring can be frustrating with all the beautiful pictures of those large gardens as if we all have that much space. Many of us do not have a lot of room for a large garden. Here are ideas for getting the most garden from a small space.

You stand out back looking over your yard and wonder where can you start a garden. There is not much room without tearing up the yard, but you will be surprised how much food you can grow in a small area.

Planning a Garden for a Small Space

In an area that is 7 feet by 7 feet, you can really grow a lot of vegetables. Get a seed and plant catalog from Burpee and look at your yard visualizing what can go where. Start selecting which vegetables you and your family are going to want to grow. Grow only what everyone likes to eat and make a list of those vegetables. Get out some paper and pencil and draw up some ideas of where you want to put the vegetables

Sometimes we don’t have a choice where in the yard to plant the garden and other times we have the choice. When planning the garden make sure you take note of where the trees are and where the sun will be throughout the gardening season as the direction of the sun will change a lot from first planting to mid fall.

The garden should get at least 8 to 10 hours of sun per day. Peppers and tomatoes like full sun, while collard greens, lettuce and spinach do not need as much. When you plan your garden think about the plants and how big they will be in mid summer, you don’t want your tomato plants shadowing your pepper or other plants.

Here is an example chart of a garden that is 7 feet by 7 feet (2.13 meters x 2.13 meters) and some example vegetable plants. When you have limited space for a vegetable garden, you want to get as much food as you will be using. In the following example I put in three tomato plants. If you don’t like tomatoes, that would be a lot of room for squash or cucumbers.

There are so many varieties and uses for peppers; you might want to devote a good amount of space for them. For example, sweet red and or green bell pepper for stuffed peppers, in chili, Poblano peppers for chili rellenos and many others. The pole beans can be supported on a fence or trellis.

The spacing is pretty tight in this garden, but this should leave enough room for walking between plants. Each year can be different, one year the tomatoes grow very thick and not so tall and others they are tall and slender, the same with the pepper plants. You will learn about your garden and spacing after the first year and make adjustments for the next season.

Spacing around tomatoes is important, as they need airflow and the breeze to blow through them for pollination. You can use tomato cages for the tomatoes or you can make your own tomato cages with bamboo poles and green garden tape stretched around the poles.

If you put herbs in your garden, remember that some are perennials and come back year after year. Herbs can also spread out and their seeds can start plants all over the garden, dill is especially good at this, so pick or cut the flowers before they go to seed on the herbs.



24” spacing


24” spacing


18” in

← 46 “→
12 “


18 “ spacing


18” spacing


18” spacing


18 “ in

← 24” →
Pole beans

24” spacing

Row of carrots

12” spacing

Row of radishes

16” spacing

Row of onions

16” spacing

Herbs or garlic

← 14” →




                             84”  (7’)  

Too Many Vegetables

If you have a good season, you should get plenty of tomatoes out of a garden this size. You can cook them into tomato paste and freeze it until you want to make sauce or tomato soup with the recipe listed below. You can freeze the peppers, zucchini and other plants for use during the winter.

Grow Upwards

You can expand your small area garden even more by using trellises made out of netting. For more information, you can read How to Double the Size of Your Garden with Vertical Gardening.

Garden with Little Space

If you have no yard space for a garden, you can still grow plenty of vegetables in a container garden. For more information, please read Tips for Growing a Container Garden.

Copyright © 2009 Sam Montana

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