One of the fears people have when downsizing their home is that they will miss their large gardens. Moving to an apartment or a home with a small patch of garden can be quite an adjustment. However, there are many ideas to help make the most of even the tiniest of gardens. You don’t have to be left behind in the move towards growing your own food, even if you only have a balcony.
When space is limited, gardening in containers makes a great deal of sense. Plants growing in containers rely on the nutrients available in the container so make sure you use the best potting soil. You also have to make sure that containers are well watered and offer adequate drainage. When selecting shrubs or flowers for container gardening, it’s important to keep in mind their growth rate and eventual size. Slow growers with a small, compact shape are the best choice.
A window box can be used to grow a variety of flowers, herbs and even fruit, like strawberries.
A suggested blue and mauve planting scheme for winter and spring is: Ornamental kale, Nemesia capensis (perennial), Brachycome, Hyacinth bulbs for early spring/winter and anemone bulbs for spring, Violas in blue/lilac shades, Chrysanthemum paludosum and Alyssum, ‘Easter Bonnet’.
A summer blue and mauve planting scheme: Brachycome (perennial), Ageratum, Lobelia (cascading variety), Festucia grass or chives, Petunia – milliflora with small flowers, Salvia, Lavender stoechas, Verbena, lilac or alyssum, Lobelia ricardii or anceps, Helichrysum petiolare.
Herbs do well in window boxes too. A good combination is purple basil, chives and tall lemon verbena. Another good mix is Italian herbs like rosemary, basil, oregano and chives. You can even grow a good crop of strawberries in a window box on a sunny windowsill.
A living wall planter made from a recycled wine crate, is perfect for a small space. No planting is required as you simply pop your nursery containers into the racks. The one on the right holds up to nine containers and includes an irrigation feature. Just mount it on a wall with hooks and screws.
Never throw away an empty tin. Soak off the label, punch holes in the bottom and you have another container for a plant. Grouped together, different sizes of tins can create a effective display. Group together ingredients used for a specific purpose such as ingredients used for herbal teas like mint, lavender, pineapple sage and rose geranium.
If these are filled with a quality potting mix and have good drainage, many plants like chard and red lettuce will grow easily. Using flower pot klips to attach them to a wall is a brilliant idea in a small space.
Dwarf variety citrus trees, like the Meyer lemon tree, not only look good in a terracotta pot but grow well too.
Grow mini or dwarf roses in pots on a patio that gets at least 5-6 hours of sunlight a day and they will provide colorful blooms for the whole summer.
Scented plants in galvanized buckets or tubs of different sizes can be grouped on a garden patio to create a nostalgic element. Galvanized containers can can be used effectively to grow chives, leeks, strawberries, peppers and tomatoes.
Grouping containers together not only makes a good visual display, it also creates a more humid mini climate, reducing moisture loss from both potting mix and leaves.
Raised elements in a small space can make it look much larger by creating different levels.
Raised Garden Beds
Raised garden beds have a number of benefits. Soil is warmer and better drained when it is above ground level. The sides help to keep pathway weeds away and prevent slugs and snails from destroying your crops. They also reduce back strain and the gardener can even sit on the edge of the bed while weeding if the bed is built properly. Raised beds do not have bottoms but are open to the ground, so the roots of plants can go deep into the ground for the necessary nutrients.
They can be made of many different materials. An interesting choice for creating a raised bed is this Smart Pots Big Bag Bed Fabric Raised Bed which just needs to be unfolded and filled.
This bed is weatherproof and folds out to offer 13.5 square feet of gardening space. It warms quickly in spring, releases heat in summer, and provides good drainage. The roots develop a natural, fibrous root structure because they are air pruned as soon as they reach the container walls.
Elevated Garden Boxes
The joy of an elevated garden box is that it offers comfortable gardening height and reduces stress on knees and back. It also helps to protect your plants from garden pests. Plant zuchini, cauliflower, lettuce, kale and harvest easily from your own little veggie patch.
Raised garden planters are very popular and work well in a small garden space. They can be used on steps, on decks, porches and in many other areas. A simple wooden box with legs works well and is easy to build. If you don’t want to build your own, the Cedercraft Elevated Garden Planter, a best seller on Amazon, is a good choice.
The hanging basket on the right has a brown woven-look finish and an iron with black finishing-chain hanger. Click here to purchase two of these best selling wicker planters from Amazon. Made of polypropylene resin, a basket is able to withstand plenty of wear and tear. It has a sealed bowl and drainage plug as seen below. The heavy duty hook and hangar secures it effortlessly and safely.
Don’t just think flowers when planting in a hanging basket. Herbs and veggies can also be grown. Always have fresh seasoning close at hand for an Italian meal by planting up a hanging basket outside your kitchen with cherry tomatoes and herbs like basil, thyme, oregano and parsley.
A vertical planter takes up very little space.
A multi-pocket wall planter
A vertical garden also makes good sense in a limited space. Using wall space for herbs, flowers or vegetables can turn a sunny wall into a mass of color. A multi-pocket wall planter is an inexpensive way to grow an assortment of fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, chives and basil. Irrigation holes in each pocket allow excess water to drain away, ensuring plants stay moist but not too wet.
Trellises or posts
Compact climbers, like clematis and jasmine, are good container plants. Plant them in a pot with good drainage and support them with a trellis or post to create a wonderful display.
Stackable planters are a great idea to help you grow much more in any place.
The Nancy James Stackable Planter has a patented flow-through watering system and a set consists of three tiers of planters, self-watering grids, a tray (for stacking), a chain with a swivel (if you want to hang it), and instructions. The stack is visually pleasing from all angles.
You don’t have to worry about overwatering with this system. Water is evenly distributed through the pots, keeping them healthy and hydrated.
Grow flowers like in the one displayed on the left to make a colorful display. Alternatively, grow strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, herbs, cucumbers and other greens.
A plant greenhouse on wheels solves temperature dilemmas. You can easily move around your small outdoors space and even relocate to a garage when temperatures dip. The product shown below is a best seller on Amazon.
The best way to use a small space is to see it as more than just floor space. Use the walls, raise beds, hang baskets and experiment with containers to make the most of the space. Remember that the biggest flavors and most colorful displays are not exclusive to large gardens. You can create a paradise in the smallest space.