If your answer to “How does your garden grow?” is a disgruntled, “Small,” you’re not alone. City dwellers and lawn-challenged suburbanites with green thumbs everywhere can definitely relate. Luckily, a small plot, raised bed, or even a few planters are all perfectly suited to growing your summer produce favorites. Here are a few hints for making the most of a compact garden.
Only grow what you’ll use
Could you eat a tomato with every meal? Are salads among your signature dishes? Then dedicate a sizable portion of your garden to tomatoes and greens. If you enjoy adding fresh herbs to your recipes, determine which ones you use the most and plant those too. Love cauliflower and eggplant but rarely serve them? Leave them out of your garden and buy them fresh from the farmer’s market instead.
If its season is short, skip it
Fresh asparagus is divine. But it’s only in season for a few weeks at most. Why waste precious garden real estate on a crop you can only harvest for a month? Satisfy your asparagus craving at the farmer’s market with fresh, locally grown spears, and plant something that offers a greater return instead.
BUT, don’t be afraid to plant multi-seasonally
Depending on where you live, you can grow at least two if not three seasons’ worth of produce in your garden. Investigate the best times to start and harvest a variety of vegetables, and plan your planting around that schedule. This strategy may not be for the novice gardener, but with a little research and a lot of TLC, it can definitely be done. The National Gardening Association website has numerous resources to help you figure out what to plant when.
Learn from your mistakes
That raspberry bush produces some of the sweetest berries you’ve ever tasted. But only a handful are ripe at a time, and it takes up a third of your plot. Sad as you may be to see it go, if you want the most bang for your buck, food-wise, replacing it with plants that take up less space and produce more fruit makes the most sense. The same goes for plants that don’t do well with the amount of sun your garden receives, or tend to be tastiest to local pests.