GARDENING: You Don't Need Tons of Room to Grow a Garden
January 31, 2010
By Rachel Drucks
Muncie Star Press, Indiana
I seem to find myself writing more and more about how I try to keep myself happy and occupied during the dark, dreary months of winter, and today is no different. Now that my indoor bulbs are in full swing, I've immersed myself into researching and planning for a vegetable garden to be planted this spring. I can barely go a couple of days without a seed catalog showing up in my mailbox or early order seed specials appearing in my e-mail inbox, which makes me itch with anticipation for warm weather.
Like most people, the main issue I've had while planning for a garden is there is just so much cool stuff to choose from! I struggle with narrowing down my list of wants to what is actually going to fit in my space. So, to fit as many different plants in the design as possible, here are some ideas I've incorporated so far:
Go vertical. Train plants that would normally be space hogs up onto trellises. With the right support, you can trellis melons, tomatoes, squash, beans, peas, cucumbers and pumpkins. All of these plants grow fast and can become overwhelming quickly, so be sure to continually attach the new growth to the trellis so the vines don't become a tangled mess. Building your trellis is a good winter project to keep you occupied during the next few months.
Pot 'em up. Almost any veggie can be grown successfully in containers. Just remember that bigger is better. Veggies can get some pretty hefty root systems on them, so the containers can become root bound and dry out quickly. Once the plants really start growing, they will in most cases need to be watered daily. Besides allowing for more planting space, another perk to using containers is fewer weeds. You will have few weeds popping up in your containers, and when they do, you won't have to stoop on the ground to pull them out.
Shrink 'em down. I've incorporated bush zucchini and bush cucumbers into the mix. The vining plant varieties would take up a lot more room than these smaller bush varieties. You can find compact varieties and cultivars of lots of different crops: cabbage, tomatoes, and melons to name a few.
Switch 'em around. Think of your veggie garden as having three seasons: spring, summer and fall. By rotating cool season crops with warm-season crops throughout the year, you can maximize your space. For example, in one small plot, you could start with snow peas in the spring. They like cool weather.
Then plant summer squash in its place when the weather is nice and warm. When fall rolls around, replace the squash with spinach, which prefers cool weather and will mature quickly before the first frost.
Remember, a beautiful veggie garden isn't restricted to those with lots of room in their back yards. By using these ideas, I'll be able to squeeze in lots of cool veggies, and I hope you will too.