Quarantines are never fun. However, if there’s one thing which can get your mind off the constant stream of bad news, it’s small space vegetable gardening. It is a fun activity for you and your family, it will provide you with delicious vegetables and the best part is, the size of your home doesn’t matter that much.

So, if you:

  • Are stuck at home waiting or the quarantine to pass
  • Have limited gardening space and are looking for new ways to expand
  • Already have some containers and you need to decide what to plant in them

This is how to start a small vegetable garden!

And, for a more in-depth guide on vegetable gardening for beginners, check out our helpful blog post!

Pick your veggies

There’s no point in wasting space with vegetables you will never eat. If you’re not sure where to start from, here’s a hint – start from the basics. Tomatoes and lettuce are easy to grow and can be used in a great variety of salads and meals. It’s also good to know what grows best in which season. Fortunately, we’re entering the spring period, so you will have a vast array of plants to choose from.

Start only with a handful of vegetables, so you get the hang of it more easily. Seed packaging has plenty of information on how to take care of your vegetables and also how long it should take for the plant of your choice to grow. Still, if you feel you need more information and guidance, we recommend you check out the National Gardening Association’s food guides. It covers vegetables, fruits and herbs. It also has information on soil, which is very important for a successful garden of any kind.

Raised garden beds

These are also known as garden boxes. They are the perfect solution for those of you who like to work with their hands on different projects. The reason is, these boxes need to be constructed. Unless you already have old drawers to use as garden beds, you can order a box set and assemble it yourself.

Either way, it’s one way to make a small vegetable garden in your apartment and move it to a different room if necessary. Heck, you can even keep it on your terrace, if you have one

Container gardening

This is a very similar concept to raised bed gardens. However, here you don’t need to construct a box. You can use a handful of items for pots such as: coffee cans, plastic water bottles, plastic boxes and so on. Basically, anything which is container shaped and big enough to house a plant. We recommend you don’t use the tiniest of containers, however, as the soil in smaller containers tends to dry out more quickly.

Don’t forget to make drainage holes in whatever you will use for a pot. Also, gather your kids and ask them to paint the containers, that would be fun and get them invested early on.

Vertical gardens

If you are tight on floor space, this is the better alternative. You can drill new holes in your walls to hang these pots, or put your paintings in the closet and hang the pots in their place. An alternative idea is to just put your pots on shelves. That way you won’t alter your walls any further than they already are. You can also order stackable wall planters if you want your vertical garden to look more stylish. Check out these awesome examples of vertical gardens for inspiration.

Climbing plants

You can expand the idea of vertical gardens by utilising climbing plants. Vegetable harvesting is easier because you can actually see where the fruits are and the hazard of fungal disease is quite low. You can make the climbing surface, by making a DIY trellis, or order one online from IKEA.

All kinds of vegetables can be planted in this case, such as tomatoes, peas, squash, cucumbers, pole beans and more.

What plants are good for small vegetable gardens

  • Radish – Great for beginner gardeners as they (the veggies) are ready to harvest in a month after sowing. Just remember to sow them 1cm deep and 2.5cm apart from each other. Keep in mind, if you let them grow over a month they will mature and become woody. We’re guessing you don’t want that in your salad.
  • Tomatoes – The containers for these need to be at least 45cm (18-inch) in diameter.  The smaller the pot, the more water your plant will need. Place the tomato container in a spot where it will get at least six hours of sunlight. Usually, you need to plant your tomatoes in May after the cold months have passed, but that rule can be ignored when you’re in your warm home.
  • Potatoes – Really easy to grow when you provide them with a deep enough container. Something the size of a bucket, for example. Plant the seeds at 12 cm in depth and cover with moist soil. Expect them to mature between 70 to 90 days. Harvest your potatoes after they flower and turn yellow.
  • Beetroot – These are best for container gardening. Start now by sowing several seeds every few weeks until July. Afterwards, you will be able to harvest them throughout the summer. For better germination, soak the seeds in warm water before sowing. Afterwards, place them about 10 cm (4 inches) apart from each other.
  • Broccoli – The soil for this vegetable should be high in nutrition, light and with good drainage properties. Place one, maximum of two plants in a container as these tend to spread a lot. The ideal temperature for germination is between 23 and 27 C and the process itself usually takes around 4 to seven days. Depending on the veggie type, they may be ready to harvest in about 60 days.
  • Carrots – You can buy either a deep-rooted or a short-rooted type. Sow the carrot seeds about 2-3cm (inch, inch and a half) apart and place the container in a sunny spot. From this point until July you should have fresh produce.
  • Lettuce – Lettuce seeds can be sown in a shallow container, however, the soil should be kept really moist. For best results, water them every morning. Sow at least two seeds in a container. The best temperature for this veggie is around 10 to 25 C.

Takeaways

  • Chose your container size and type based on how much space you have.
  • Start with basic and easy to grow plants.
  • Go with plants which can be used in a wide variety of meals and salads.

***

What is your experience with gardening at home? Do you have some tricks or pointers you’d like to share? Let us know in the comment section!

Image source: Shutterstock / Myimagine

  • Last update: May 11, 2020

Posted in Garden Advice, Life Under Lockdown

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