It seems there is never enough room for the things we would like to grow in the vegetable garden. For most home vegetable gardeners space is a valued commodity. I cannot remember all the times I have wanted to grow a certain vegetable, but did not have the room to grow it. This can get very frustrating. Here are three tips for maximizing your vegetable garden to get the most out of a small space.
Interplanting, or companion planting, has been around for a very long time. It is the practice of planting vegetables, herbs, and/or flowers together to maximize space, flavor, or pest control. Interplanting goes hand in hand with organic gardening as well, since it contributes to natural pest controls and increased crop yields.
One example of interplanting is the “Three Sisters Garden”. The Three Sisters Garden is the concept of planting one corn stalk, a squash plant, and a green bean vine per hill in the garden. The corn stalk grows tall allowing the green bean vine to grow up the stalk, while providing shade from the hot summer sun to the squash plant. In turn, the green bean vine provides nitrogen to the soil that the corn needs, and the squash plant provides ground cover to help keep weeds at bay. All three plants compliment one another and help each to thrive.
You can learn more about interplanting in this article titled, What Is Companion Planting?.
Vertical gardening is just how it sounds – training your vegetable plants to grow vertically instead of laying on the ground. This strategy can save a lot of room if used consistently throughout the garden.
There are many vegetable plants in the garden that are vining plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, beans, and melons – just to name a few. Use a trellis when growing cucumbers, beans, peas, and some varieties of melons and pumpkins. Not only will the trellis save space by allowing the plants to grow up it, but keeping the vegetables off the ground will ensure healthier, better-producing plants.
By staggering the planting of certain vegetables, you will have a steady supply of harvested vegetables. This works exceptionally well for fast-growing vegetables such as radishes, spinach, turnips, and some beans. When one crop of these vegetables is harvested you can go right in the same spot and plant again. You can do this repeatedly throughout the growing season for a continual crop.