Small Garden, Big Harvest

With some out-of-the-box thinking and a few practical plans, you can learn to pack a profusion of produce into any petite garden plot.

| May/June 2020

Small Garden

Photo by Getty Images/FangXiaNuo

Vegetable gardeners’ big dreams can sometimes be squashed by small garden spaces. Their visions, inspired by myriad seed catalogs, collide with the actual dimensions of their plots. With a few simple tricks, though, you can maximize the productivity of even the smallest vegetable patch, and harvest the plethora of produce you’ve always imagined. 

Pick Your Produce

Some vegetables make more efficient use of space than others. For example, a cherry tomato plant — taking up perhaps a 3-by-3-foot space — yields about as much usable vegetable matter as a pumpkin plant that takes up a 12-by-12-foot plot. Years ago, the National Garden Bureau (NGB) compiled a list of the most efficient vegetables to grow. Its ratings take into account the productivity of each plant per square foot, the value of the produce, and the time required to grow it. Not every vegetable is on the list; zucchini, a legend in garden productivity, isn’t specifically mentioned. Likewise, it doesn’t include herbs. Although the list is incomplete, it’s still a good place to start when you’re considering what to grow. (See “The Most Valuable Vegetables” below.)

Small Garden

Photo by Adobe Stock/audaxl

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