Gardening When Space is Limited

Where we live, we have a nice sized garden. I always wish it was bigger, but it’s much bigger than what we used to have. I remember when we were first married we lived in a mobile home court. We had a small strip of grass on each side and a small patio. That was it.

How to Grow Vegetables in Limited Space

Even though my space was limited, I still had a few flowers in the front of the house and a strawberry pot with strawberry plants. It wasn’t much but I loved my little limited garden.

Now, if I had known how easy it was to grow so many vegetables in containers, I could have grown so much more. Container gardening is a great solution if you want to grow some of your own food but don’t have much space.

Gardening when space is limited.


Containers to Use

When I was young our neighbor across the street from us had a small garden that was fenced. It worked great for most vegetables they grew but it had a little too much shade for their pepper plants. Living here in Oregon it’s not always easy to grow hot weather crops.

Our neighbor used to grow his peppers in a 5 gallon bucket. He could move them to keep them in the sun all day long. He also would paint the buckets black so the soil would heat up faster.

You can use any container you have to grow many different types of vegetables. 5 gallon buckets, old kids swimming pool, wooden planter boxes, just about any container that will hold the soil and has some drainage holes will work.

What to Grow in Containers

I’ve grown lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, radishes, raspberries, strawberries and artichokes in containers before. I’ve even seen people grow corn in a pot. The main thing to consider is, how deep you need the soil to be in order to grow the vegetable or fruit.

Carrots and radishes will grow better in a deeper pot, since they are a root vegetable. Lettuce, herbs and spinach will grow well in a smaller container. If you live in a cooler climate, like I do here, it’s good to have a darker colored pot to grow the hot weather vegetables in. The peppers and tomatoes do much better if they are in dark colored pots.

We have grown strawberries in a strawberry pot and in a hanging planter. I didn’t have too much success with the hanging planter, I think it was because it was a very wet year, the year I tried the hanging planter.

We started our raspberries in a large plastic pot with a tomato cage for support. As it grew we added a trellis to hold it up. Finally it was just too big for the pot and we transplanted it to a garden area. It took about 4 years for it to outgrow the pot and we would harvest quite a few berries each year.

Herbs are great to grow in containers.

Soil to Use

I like to blend a few different things to make a good soil to grow in. I will add some topsoil or potting soil to the pot along with some compost and peat moss. Make sure the pot has a drainage hole too. You don’t want your plants becoming waterlogged. If you live in a very hot dry climate you might want to purchase the water retention potting soil which helps to keep the soil moist longer.

Where to Plant

When you are using containers you’re not limited to where you plant. Hot weather plants will need more hot sun than the lettuce will. So if you have shade and sun around your house be sure to position your containers according to what the plant needs.

By using containers to garden in, you can get the best spot for each crop you are growing. Or even move them as needed during the day to give them more sun or less depending on the plant.

If you live in an apartment or have a small yard, don’t let that stop you from gardening. You just might have to think outside the box or maybe I should say inside the pot to get your garden growing.

Have you ever tried container gardening? What did you grow?


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17 thoughts on “Gardening When Space is Limited”

  1. I have a small garden 4’x21′ on the side of my house and 5- 4’x4′ raised beds in the back. We have a small lot, so I used 10 large containers in addition to my regular garden. I like growing quick items in the pots like radishes, lettuce and spinach. I also put my cherry tomato plants and my basil in the other containers. This leaves the garden open for all the other great produce we grow.

    1. We have trouble with peppers here too. It just doesn’t get hot enough to grow them in the garden very well. The black pots do help quite a bit for warming up the soil, as long as we don’t get too much rain.

    1. Erin, I hope you have better luck. Try some cherry tomatoes this year, there is a variety called Sweet 1000’s, I think. It’s a good producer of cherry tomatoes.

  2. This post really has me thinking. We have a small garden area but the best area for sun is our front yard and the thought of a garden right in front of the house didn’t seem very pretty but I could move containers or even (maybe) get carried away and make them look pretty. Hmm…does the container idea save from having to pull weeds as well? I don’t do so well in that area either.

    1. I have to weed a little in my containers but not very much. Usually just a little stray grass is all. Last year I grew cherry tomatoes and an artichoke in one pot on my front deck and didn’t have any weeds. But the plants filled the pot really well, so no room for them. 🙂

  3. Super helpful post! I never would have tried artichokes or peppers in a pot. I

    Maybe I should just try some things out this year to see if they work in pots. I have to have my garden in the front yard, its the only place we have full sun.

  4. I bought plastic waste bins from Dollar Tree and put holes in the sides as drainage holes. The hardest thing for me is to make sure that everything is watered well, they dry out quicker. This year I added peat moss into my soil and probably will need to add compost (I’m working on building my own compost bin). I also am trying doing a raised garden bed this year along with my containers. I can’t wait until I have a house with lots of land! Happy Gardening :):):)

    1. Ginger, sounds like you have a great system for growing your own food in containers. Have you tried adding some of the water holding crystals to your soil in the containers? I know they sell it here at the garden centers and it works well for keep the soil moist in the pots longer.

  5. Even though I don’t need containers now like you, Shelly, there was a time I did and I might again in the future. 😉 It’s a great option and some things work really well. My only challenge was watering, too, and I LOVE the water crystals – they give just enough extra so I don’t lose a plant from forgetting to water for one day. 🙂

  6. I love my garden in pots. Live in a apartment with a little yard and works great. I can plant peppers, tomatoes, onions , herbs, peas and many other things. Love them.

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