Gardening 101 ~ Gardening in Small Spaces

by Merissa on April 5, 2011

in Gardening 101


Hello! My name is Rachel from the Domestic Doin's blog and I am Merissa's sister -in-law. She asked me to do a guest post on gardening this week. I live farther south than she does, so we are a couple months ahead when it comes to gardening. We already have everything planted, and most of it is up and growing better than the weeds! We have what most people would consider a small garden. It is only about 17x30 feet. But we like to pack it full of produce! I am going to share some of the things we do to get more out of our space.

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One of the things we did was put a fence around the entire garden. That way, we can plant climbing vines, such as peas and cucumbers around the edge of the garden, so they don't take up space in the middle. This year we planted the peas on the outside of the fence so we don't accidentally kick or step on them while we weed the other garden beds.

We divided the garden into 4x6 and 6x6 foot beds. They aren't exactly 'raised beds', but my husband did build some frames out of 1 inch thick wood to keep the beds contained and the walking paths defined. He also built a watering system so that each individual bed gets water, and we don't waste as much water.

Within the beds, you can plant pretty aggressively, since you don't have to leave room for walking. This works especially well with plants such as beets and bush beans. We planted beans on a diagonal grid, so each seed is about 4 inches away from the others.

This way, when the beans grow, they are close enough together to help support each other. Also, they shade the entire bed, so that the weeds don't grow! Last year we had two 4x6 beds of beans, and they produced so well, that I froze about 2 quarts of beans every other day, besides what we ate, for several weeks!

I would definitely recommend planting beans this way, even if you do not plant in beds. If you plant in rows, make your rows 1, 2 or even up to 4 feet wide. You will get so much more out of your space!

The same thing goes with beets, carrots, radishes, etc. My husband planted the beets this year, and he planted them fairly thickly in rows about 4 inches apart. He figured he planted the equivalent of a 72 foot row in a 4x6 bed! When they get a little bigger, I will thin some of them out, and eat them in salads. Then, when they are bigger yet, I will thin them some more and eat them as baby beets and greens. What's left will be in a diagonal grid like the beans, to grow into big beets to freeze or can!

Hopefully this has given you some ideas for your garden! If you have any questions, you can leave a comment here, or e-mail me at [email protected] Happy gardening!

Coming next week: Building a Greenhouse

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Charity April 5, 2011 at 1:16 pm

This is the most helpful article! Our garden size is almost identical to yours – ours will be 20×30. Thank you so much! I am so excited and thank you Merissa for this great post! You’re amazing! :-)

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2 Merissa April 5, 2011 at 5:10 pm

This is actually a post by my sister in law! I haven’t started planted yet or started on my garden posts:)

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3 Charity April 6, 2011 at 10:50 am

Oops I meant to say your sister in law. Thanks though for letting her put such helpful information on there. Thanks, Rachel!

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4 Rachel April 6, 2011 at 5:17 pm

You’re welcome Charity! I’m glad it inspired you! I love this time of year when gardening is so exciting!

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5 Susan Fullerton April 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm

When you say beans, do you mean green beans? If not, what?

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6 Merissa April 5, 2011 at 5:09 pm

I believe she meant green beans.

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7 Rachel April 5, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Yes, I did mean green beans…sorry I didn’t specify! We raised Contender and Blue Lake varieties last year and found that the Contenders did much better in our area, so that’s what we planted this year.

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8 mxgal April 8, 2011 at 7:10 pm

How does your watering system work? How is it laid out to benefit all the beds? Do you mulch on top of planted beds to reduce weeds and maintain moisture? Thanks!

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9 Merissa April 8, 2011 at 8:59 pm

I’m not sure how Rachel’s watering system works but I plan on doing some detailed posts in the future about my watering system and our raised rows system.

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10 Rachel April 11, 2011 at 7:56 pm

mxgal, I am working on a post on my blog where my husband will explain the watering system in our garden. It should be at http://www.domesticdoins.blogspot.com within a couple days! And, yes, we do mulch where we can…it helps alot! Sorry I didn’t reply sooner, we have been camping this weekend!

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