This post brought to you by Miracle-Gro. All opinions are 100% mine.
I am the queen at cramming way too many things in a tiny garden space. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, but for the most part we’ve had great results! I view the spacing instructions on the seed packets as a guide, but not the rule. The main thing I do each year is prioritize.
In a small garden space (ours isn’t much bigger than a basic square foot garden) you can have a small sampling of a lot of things or a large crop of a few things.
Last year we grew pumpkins in our tiny garden. 8 large ones! We also grew tomatoes, basil, cilantro, bell peppers, dill, beans, squash, and marigolds. The marigolds were planted all around the border. They didn’t take up much room. The tomatoes were on the edge and ended up way over producing! I couldn’t believe how well they did. They were from some heirloom starts that I received from a friend. They grew fast and strong throughout the season.
Everything else gave us a small sampling. Not much for sharing or stocking up on, but it was fun to try everything.
Are you curious to see how I grew pumpkins in my yard? Well, I’ll tell you. It was sheer luck, ha! This was my first time at successfully growing pumpkins. I’ve done gourds in the past and they were super easy. I figured it was because they were small and had lots of room to grow in our garden when we lived in Ohio. I didn’t expect our pumpkins to grow at all last year, especially since each pumpkin needs a ton of space. I decided to just plant one. It was called a “Cinderella” pumpkin and it loved this Northern California weather.
My planter box is small and on the side of the house. I gently guided them to trail their vines outside the garden and along the fence. Only the root was in my garden. On the very edge. The plant got its nutrients and water from the garden soil, but grew outside the garden. So what looks like a large garden here is actually pretty small. The pumpkin just decided to roam the back yard. It was so fun to watch them grow! You can see the tomatoes growing next to them in the garden. Luckily we hadn’t planed anything in the flower beds behind the garden because the pumpkin took over those.
The kids love helping with the garden and watching it grow. Even if they don’t care to eat what we are growing! Kaylee enjoyed picking tomatoes for me, but didn’t eat a single one.
They even helped me clear out the garden in the fall and plant the winter garden. Our winter garden consisted of an artichoke plant and peas.
This year we bought mini pumpkin seeds and planted them along the edge of the garden. I plan to gently guide these ones out of the garden as well and long the side of the house. Here is a quick run down of what what else we are growing this year!
Artichokes, sunflowers, pumpkins, tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, poppies, and cucumbers. Like I said before, I had to prioritize. My main priority was my artichoke plant I planted in the fall. It should yield us 30 artichokes and the ones we’ve picked have been so delicious that I don’t care if it takes up half of my garden!
So the main planting space goes to the artichoke. I am very tempted to plant another artichoke plant next year and ONLY growing those in my main garden space. As much as we love them (and how pricey they can be to buy in the store) they are well worth the space to me.
My tomatoes re-seeded themselves. I kept the 3 strongest ones and pulled out the rest. The pumpkins and sunflowers are on the edges of the garden and I will thin those as the season goes on. Everything else is just one or two small plants (3 radishes, 1 cucumber, 1 row of lettuce, etc.)
The poppies were fun to grow. I planted them in the fall and they’ve given us beautiful blooms all spring. When they are finished, I think I will pull them up and plant something else. I’m sure they’ll come back next year, but in a small garden like this I like to grow year around so I don’t want to wait for them to go to seed again. I think I’d rather have those in our flower beds. My daughter was so sad when we moved here to CA and couldn’t pick poppies because they were the state flower. But you can pick them if they are in your property so we grew our own.
Another way to garden in a small space is to utilize pots! Here is one that I planted last week for my front porch. A beautiful pop of color. Below is a tiered planter that I made a few years ago. I used ivy for a beautiful trailing greenery as well as annual flowers. It bloomed beautifully all summer!
Do you have a fence or some sort of wall in your yard? If so, and if your climate allows, consider growing grapes! They are beautiful to look at and grow fairly quickly. Above is just a couple of weeks after planting them (you can also see my poor children pulling weeds). Below is a month or two later.
If you don’t have outdoor growing space you can bring your garden indoors! Whether you use hanging baskets, upside down tomatoes, a mini green house, or indoor trees (you can grow lemon trees in your dining room!), you can add bold bursts of color anywhere in your home. I’ll be sharing ideas of how to garden in small spaces at the Oakland First Fridays event on May 2nd from 5-9pm. If you are in the area, you should come! I’ll be hanging out at the Miracle-Gro stand. Be sure to follow along on my social media channels for live updates and photos!