When it comes to a backyard vegetable garden, ideas are easy to come by. There are plenty of pictures of elaborate gardens with rows of sun-ripened tomatoes, entire sections devoted solely to peas, raised beds for root vegetables, and, of course, a fountain and seating area. We don’t all have gigantic yards, though. As nice as it would be to have row after row of heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers, it’s just not realistic when your backyard garden is a two-foot by four-foot rectangle between your driveway and the foundation of your house.
The thing is, you can create a really nice garden in that small rectangle of space. It’s a simple matter of timing, design, and plant selection.
Backyard vegetable garden ideas that save on space but don’t skimp on the bounty
Let’s set the stage here. The best space-saving backyard vegetable garden ideas won’t help you one lick if you don’t have good soil. You can work with limitations on sunlight. You can plant herbs like rosemary that don’t need a ton of water. But if your soil is compact and devoid of nutrients, you won’t have a whole lot of luck with your garden.
There are plenty of easy ways to fix that. A little tilling to loosen the soil and a bit of compost to add nutrients might be all you need to bring new life to your garden. But that has to be first on your list. Now onto those space-maximizing ideas…
- Timing your vegetables. One of the most long-standing backyard vegetable garden ideas is succession gardening. To do this, you plant vegetables that you can harvest at different intervals. One approach is to plant early season and late season vegetables in the same space (peas followed by eggplant, for example). Another method is to plant different vegetables with different maturity rates in the same space at the same time. Radishes, for example, go well with carrots.
- Look up. Another way to get more out of a small garden is to go vertical. Beans, cucumbers, peas, and other vining vegetables don’t take up a lot of ground space, but will happily climb a trellis. That can give you a lot of free space for other vegetables and herbs, plus it looks pretty when you have a six-foot-tall vine growing from your garden.
- Choose high-yield varieties. The thing about backyard vegetable garden ideas is that when it comes to the plants themselves, it’s easy to overlook which varieties we want to plant. A tomato is a tomato, right? Not exactly. There are so many varieties of heirloom and hybrid tomatoes. Not only can they taste very different, but the amount of fruit they produce can vary wildly. Larger varieties like the “Big Boy” won’t produce as much as the bite-sized “Yellow Pear” tomato plant (which, incidentally, are mouth-wateringly delicious). And that’s just tomatoes. The same can be said for most vegetables. By choosing high-yielding varieties, you can get more out of less space.
This is just a sampling of space-saving backyard vegetable garden ideas, but there are plenty more. Hanging vegetables, multi-level raised beds, starting seeds indoors, and taking advantage of space on your patio or balcony for a container garden are some more ways you can enjoy a bountiful harvest without a lot of space.
Gardening doesn’t have to be a big, expansive undertaking to bring the benefits of fresh, tasty herbs and veggies into your kitchen.
What space-saving ideas have you used in planting your garden? If you’d care to share in the comments below, I’d love to read about what’s worked for you.