Vegetable gardening has never been so popular, whether it’s for economic reasons or because of awareness of the local slow food movements. For those without any extra land to spare, gardening in small spaces, or space-efficient gardening, has become a necessity. It goes by a variety of names (raised-bed gardening, intensive gardening, square foot gardening, block style gardening, close-row gardening, wide-row gardening, and vertical gardening); but whatever the name, the trick is to eliminate unnecessary walkways by planting vegetables in rectangular-shaped beds or blocks instead of long single rows. For five tips to get started with efficiently gardening in small spaces, watch the slideshow below.

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Build a raised bed

An urban backyard garden with raised beds growing vegetables

Don’t think you have enough space to grow your own veggies? Think again. Raised-bed gardening allows you to concentrate soil preparation in a small area, resulting in the efficient use of soil amendments and an ideal environment for vegetable growth. Construct the frames out of wood, stone, brick or concrete block to give your raised beds a border and to hold an organically rich soil in place. You can also create free-standing mounded beds to your desired width and length. Such space-efficient gardening can increase yields five-fold compared to the traditional row-style garden and 15-fold for smaller kitchen garden vegetables.

Raised beds provide many advantages. They look neat and tidy (fewer weeds!) and make it easy to add drip irrigation and protective features. An ideal width of a framed raised bed is 4 feet if it is free-standing and accessible from all sides. If you locate your bed up against a wall, such as the side of your house, and can only access it from one side, don’t make beds any wider than 2 feet for easy access to all the plants. The height of a raised bed should be at least 6 inches. Deep-root crops such as carrots, potatoes and leeks do well when they have a growing depth of 12 inches.

See Also:  Spring Gardening Guide
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  1. There is a real good book at the Dollar General about square foot gardening,it’s five dollars grab your copy before they are all gone.

  2. I would like some advice about why I can not get turnips to produce a bulb or root ball. for the last 4 years I have not been getting the veg to produce the root balls that I like so much.
    I have changed seed packets 3 times thinking the seed wasn’t good, but it didn’t make a difference.
    when I sowed them I worked up the soil and sprinkled them on top of soil and just covered them with a little amount of soil.
    should I have put them deeper than i did?
    I used to raise them years ago when I had a bigger garden. but I can’t seem to get them to produce.
    thank you bob alvey

  3. We do Aquaponic Gardening. All natural, no chemicals. Use beneficial bugs to control the pest population. There is no dirt in the grow media, and the entire system is located in a greenhouse. I would like any information about where I can get beneficial insects that are available locally. I have to order them from California, and would rather get them from a Local distributor.

  4. Your video clip was very interesting and educative, indeed. I have a very small space available and so, I will incorporate your square foot gardening technique and try to get some yield of tomatoes, pepper, lettuce, carrot and eggplants to start with. Thanks a lot for sharing your concept. Much appreciated! 🙂 (Y)

  5. Me and my wife want to garden in our apartment and we found a way to keep it on our balcony. How’s that for small gardening? When we move out though to our new house we’ll be able to get a little better at being conservative with our gardening. We love having fresh vegetables to munch on during the summer and fall.

  6. It was great how you mentioned that plants need to be properly spaced from each other so that there is not a chance of disease to arise or competition to cause stunting. My grandfather is thinking of building a garden in his backyard so that he can grow vegetables to eat. Advice like what you provided in the article will help his vegetables grow healthy and strong.


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