Posted on 29 April 2008 by

Ways To Create More Growing Space

By Cindy Naas

The biggest challenge any urban gardener faces is that of finding enough room to grow everything.

Here are some suggestions to help you use every available inch of space. You might be surprised at just how much fresh produce you can grow in a tiny city garden!

1. Pots and Containers

Container gardens are the backbone of many city gardens. A pretty collection of pots grouped on the stairs to your house can hold tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs and pretty much whatever your heart desires. Be creative in what you use for a container and don’t limit yourself to using ceramic or plastic flower pots. I have a large Rubbermaid container with drain holes drilled in the bottom that is the perfect place to grow a bumper crop of basil, and I grow potatoes in a garbage can.

2. Trellises

Trellising can nearly double the amount of gardening space and is a city gardener’s best friend. Using trellises with pots, I have grown cantaloupe, watermelon, squash, vine tomatoes and even pumpkins. Trellises can be made from found materials- branches, plastic pipes, and even old nylon stockings can be used as ties with your trellis.

3. Combine Beds

Do you have an existing garden? Perhaps a foundation planting which came with your house, a group of shrubs, or even a tree in the yard? Add some veggies to those beds to increase available space. Right now, I am preparing my rose bed for the companion plantings of herbs. I have two perennial herbs, lavender and sage, growing in my rose garden. In early May, I’ll be adding in annual herbs – savory, oregano, parsley and dill. Herbs are good choices to add to existing beds because they are not heavy feeders, for the most part, and most also look quite pretty woven into a bed of flowers or shrubs.

4. Grow Lettuce and Greens

You can fit a head or two of lettuce into even a fairly small nook in your garden. Because lettuces are fast to the finish line, you can grow several crops of greens in the same space, as well. I sometimes edge my garden beds with lettuce seeds. The various colours of lettuce look nice as edging and since I plant a new row every two or three weeks, I have a steady crop of salad greens. You can edge an existing flower bed with lettuce, and you can also tuck a few lettuce seeds into a pot of something which grows more slowly, like tomatoes or cucumbers. By the time the bigger veggies need the room, you will have finished eating the lettuce.

5. Keep a Supply of New Seedlings

Using the ‘Square Foot Gardening’ method works really well for urban gardeners. One of the handiest tips from the book is that of keeping new vegetable plants ready to be planted as soon as another kind of veggie is eaten. As space becomes available, a new type of plant is popped in, and no space ever goes to waste for the entire growing season. Using this method can dramatically increase the amount of food produced by the small garden, so it will pay to get a copy of the book and put his ideas to work in your city garden.

3 Responses to “Ways To Create More Growing Space”

  1. Mrs Be Says:

    Interesting post. I’ve got an allotment but am hoping to grow veggies in containers in our back garden (especially salads). Sometimes I find it hard to be imaginative though, when I stare at the same space day in day out!

  2. kathy Voyles Says:

    We are urban gardeners determined to grow edible plants and to encourage others to do so. We are gardening in The Netherlands with limited sun and space. We intend to grow some food this year and create recipes around the plants we grow. This is a lovely blog – well done!

  3. theophilus Says:

    I live in a small urban rowhouse with little land to grow.
    I am plainning on using as much space as i can to grow things. However I need to remember that each item/plant needs proper space to thrive. I have had to limit the type of plants to grow due to the limited amount of room and also complaints by neigbors and by the community.
    I have removed my tallest flowers (fall asters, goldenrods, and Sunchokes) and all the vines (English Ivy, Wild Grape, MorningGlories), plants which take alot of room and suppossedly rats like to hide in. I am rethinking how i can grow much without it being a nuisane to maintain or an eyesore.
    This is what I am doing:
    I placed two bluleberrie bushes in 20 gal containers each and placing them on my concrete center strip (formely the run to the garage). On one side of the center concrete median strip is the mulberry tree to provide some visual depth to the garden. My rose bush and two peonie bushes remain but i don’t know how longer they will survive under the mulberry bush. Something has to leave. Also on this side are large tubs, each of daylilies, iris, chives, and mint. IN the center of this side is a yucca, and below that is a raised bed of coneflowers,shasta daisies,coreopsis and yarrow. At the bottom of this side is four butterfly bushes (two will have to go, they are planted too close together.
    On the other side of the concretre strip is a thin row of onions, shallots, and lemon balm. I am planning to build a raised bed for vegetables (with plywood bottoms ti also place in the center strip). Presently I have three earth boxes under my porch and hanging baskets containg lettuce, spinach, kale, various herbs, and strawberries. Alot in a little space. Thabnk you for your tips,

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