I love a good garden and I cannot lie . . . especially ones that make the most out of all of the garden space available. My goal is to make my little plot of land as efficient as possible. Producing a bountiful harvest that will provide our family with rich, nourishing food for months and months. In addition, I want it to be filled to the brim with flowers, because pretty flowers give me life. There’s nothing like a bouquet of fresh-cut flowers on the kitchen counter all summer long.
I also utilize my garden space to grow cats apparently. . . Can you find the one peeping out below? 😉
Here are a few of my tips to maximize garden space while keeping it pretty, easy to navigate, and fun to work in.
Garden Rows Are Overrated
This is something I’ve been implementing for years now. Yes, I do plant some things in rows within our beds, but I also look at a garden bed and work out how to fit the most in each one. Sometimes staggering your plants is best. Or planting a few smaller items between rows. Get creative and read the back of the packets for plant spacing needs. Think outside the box, or rows, in this scenario. Make sure you’re following along on Instagram as I share garden updates almost daily!
Optimize the garden space between and around your garden beds
At our last house, I made our garden beds much closer together to maximize space. However, as payment for that, I was walking around constantly with bruises and scratches on my shins from tripping over my beds, clipping corners, and falling over myself. The beds were simply too close together.
At this house, we wanted to fit a wheelbarrow between the rows, making them much easier to navigate. I think we overcorrected a bit and I noticed areas around my beds that had potential to be used for planting.
Not one to waist a good spot, I created mini beds at the ends of several of our raised ones.
To do this I simply cut into the ground in a rectangle at the end of the bed. From there I remove the grass and weeds, added in new dirt, and place rocks around the area as a border. I then planted those sections with mostly flowers, though last year I used the area for a few cherry tomato plants and herbs.
I love the messy, cottage garden feel, so when I saw a few volunteer daylilies pop up alongside some of the beds, I just left them. Lilys are hardy plants and if pulling the hose breaks off a few leaves or a child steps on them accidentally, they bounce back quickly.
Don’t let a corner go to waist
This falls in line with optimizing the space between your garden beds. Corners are areas not to be taken for granted.
They are perfect sections of a garden or yard that are rarely used, and a great opportunity for planters, a triangular bed, or tiered beds. Use them for produce or flowers. Just be aware of the sun when planting. If there’s lots of shade, think hostas or other shade-loving plants. Full sun? Maybe a pumpkin or cucumber?
Grow vertically in your garden space
This is a new addition we added to our garden this spring after seeing many others have success with it. Simply install a cattle panel into your beds, see how we did ours. Beans and gourds are great ways to utilize panels. It also frees up so much space in the same bed for other produce.
Succession planting means staggering planting of crops with different maturity dates. There are basically two methods of doing this.
- Same vegetable, staggered planting. This is great for lettuce varieties, radishes, carrots, spinach, turnips, and bean varieties. As one crop gets almost to the point of harvesting, or just harvested, you plant the same crop again.
- Different Vegetables in Succession. If you have a smaller space but want a great yield, plant several beds with the same thing, like beans for example, which have a relatively short growing season. Once they’re harvested immediately plant the area with a different crop. Just take into account each seed’s maturity date when planning this method. different gardening zones will be able to do this easier or find it more difficult based on the growing season for that area. Think Oklahoma versus Washington. Oklahomans will be able to do this much more successfully than Washingtonians who have a much shorter growing season.
Inter-planting basically means pairing crops that root deeply with ones that have shallow roots. Think parsnips, tomatoes, carrots, and peppers as deep rooters, while lettuce varieties, spinach, and radishes have shallow roots.
Grow in other areas outside of the traditional garden
Don’t have enough room in your garden? The first year we moved, when I didn’t have a garden yet, I simply planted my tomatoes, peppers, and herbs in pots on my porch! It was a great way to still get a small harvest after just moving. Sure, we didn’t get enough to can and preserve like I traditionally do, but it was better than nothing! Big enough pots can also be planted with potatoes, strawberries, and more. You can have fresh salads all summer long!
Implement these tips and you’ll have a great yield come fall, or all summer long actually! Depending on which methods you implement. I love to plant beans, harvest them, and then plant cabbage and lettuce in those areas. It’s such a perfect way to keep produce flowing into our house and onto our plates!
Want more great gardening info?
I’ve got a few articles from some of my favorite bloggers and IG gals that will be very informative!