How to Grow a lot of Food in a Small Garden – 9 EZ tips


We’re always looking for ways to grow more food in our small garden, and over the years, we’ve adopted 9 strategies for maximizing our growing space. Today I thought I’d share these strategies with you in the form of 9 simple tips. The first tip is to grow in garden beds instead of rows. Growing in beds maximizes the amount of growing space relative to walking space. For example, this 4 x 8 potato bed has 32 square feet of growing space, but if it were planted in single rows with walking spaces in between, we’d only have about 16 square feet. Additional space savings can be achieved with keyhole beds, which allow access to all crops but only have a small inlet or keyhole, in the middle, thereby significantly increasing growing space relative to walking space. The second tip is to optimize the spacing between beds and plants. We decided to make the center path in our garden only 25 inches wide, which frees up a lot of growing space, but is still wide enough to carry buckets of compost, mulch, and compost tea around the garden. Of course, if you want to use a wheelbarrow, you’ll have to make your path wider. The paths between the beds on either side of the garden are only 18 inches wide. We find this width to be just right. We can still comfortably navigate between the beds, but any narrower would be awkward. When it comes to plant spacing, we like to plant crops as close as we can without hindering their growth. A great reference for plant spacing is Mel Bartholomew’s book “Square Foot Gardening”. We often follow Mel’s recommendations to the letter. For example, these indeterminate cherry tomatoes each occupy a square foot of space, and we prune the suckers to keep them from getting too crowded. Tip number 3 is to grow vertically. This may be the best space saving tip of all. If you’ve ever seen a squash or pumpkin plant sprawled out on the ground, you’ll know how much space can be saved by growing vertically. We grow a wide variety of crops on trellises, including tomatoes, peas, pole beans, winter squash pumpkins, and malabar spinach. Growing these vining crops vertically frees up a lot of room for other crops. In the future, we hope to grow some non-vining crops vertically as well, using other vertical growing systems. The fourth tip is succession planting, which is a great way to keep a bed continually producing. One example of succession planting is here in our potato bed. As the potato plants are starting to die back and the potato harvest draws near, we’re already planning what will take their place. After the harvest, we’ll plant carrots, rutabagas, beets, kale, collards, and swiss chard for a late summer and fall harvest. it’s important to consider crop rotation and not follow one crop with another related crop. Tip number 5 is interplanting. A recent example of interplanting in our garden was when I planted sunchokes and radishes in the same bed this spring. Even though I had already fully planted the bed with sunchokes, I also planted radishes, hoping they’d mature quickly and be ready to harvest before being completely shaded out by the sunchokes. The plan worked well and the radishes were ready to harvest just as the sunchokes really started to take off. Tip number 6 is to grow in the shade, or at least partial shade. Even if you already have a garden in full sun, you may be able to grow even more by planting leafy greens, herbs, rhubarb, paw paw trees, mushrooms, and more in partially shaded areas of your yard. Tip number 7 is to grow food in the front yard. It’s a shame let all that space go to waste! Even if local ordinances forbid front yard vegetable gardens, you can still usually sneak in some attractive edible plants as part of your landscape. Tip number 8 is to grow microgreens. One of the great things about a lot of leafy greens is that you can plant them much closer together than the recommended spacing on the seed package. As they develop, you can do a cut and come again harvest of microgreens, which gives you a much earlier harvest, as well as a potentially more bountiful one. And, last but not least, tip number 9 is to grow in pots and containers. The great thing about pots and containers is that they allow you to grow where you otherwise could not. So, you can have a garden on your patio, deck, or in our case, our front steps, where we grow peppers and eggplants. So, there you have it – – our 9 easy tips for growing more food in a small garden. If you have more tips along these lines, please let me know in a comment and I’ll include them in a list in the description for everyone to benefit from. Well, that’s all for now. Thank you very much for watching, and until next time remember you can change the world one yard at a time.

100 thoughts on “How to Grow a lot of Food in a Small Garden – 9 EZ tips

  1. Hei, it is excellent to note all the tips. I do really appreciate the words you apprehended as " for the benefit of all "….
    It shows your vested interest on public interest, welfare of all and social concern. *THANK YOU*

  2. Hi! I have one really cute tip!! I saw once in a magazine; someone built a boxy sort of garden bench out of leftover pallets and included planters around the back & arms of the bench. They also used wooden supports to build a planting box overhead of the bench almost like an awning where they were able to then grow both shady and full-sun plants. It was especially magical because they planted vine-y crawling plants on the awning which cascaded down the back and both sides for a shady private spot to read a book or relax in your garden swoon
    Also; Rooftop Gardening!? Can anything edible be grown in one of those?

  3. Plant red Chori slender beans,harvest when 4-5”,will love it.Very effective measures undertaken.Changing the world! this way is the best.I hv huge trees,so constantly making teas for garden.

  4. Nice video. A little question.
    Do you have any issues with pest and diseases? Because of crowding or high density planting. Is lack of air circulation a problem? Thanks. ✌

  5. For cattle panel arches would t posts in open grass areas work well ? Would that be enough support ?

    Also do you recommend planting from seed or seedlings ?

    Thanks !

  6. I try find space between my walk ways to grow some root veges like beets and radishes and greens like chinese kale. They all do very well in these spaces…kinda like random spaces I can find in between garden plots and pavement.

  7. "Gardening With Vincenzo" here…Being an Avid Raised Bed/Container "Farmer:"…Great Video…My slogan is
    "We CAN save This Planet…One "YARD" At A Time…Beginning With Your Own" !
    Found the video entertaining, educational, reflective and visually expressive…Thanks for Sharing !

  8. Malabar-Spinach Star+of+David+Okra trip-l-crop-tomato- yellow-golden-california-wonder-bell-pepper- cucumber-straight-8-60- seed scrape spiral amb diag left right delegate realize seed crop raise floor evap scrape amb

  9. the weather is verry good in your country … not mine .. in jkt but Ican do it event .. not so perfect .., thank.s .. hope you succesfull in every ways … good done

  10. great advice thanks. I have a LOT of pumpkin seedlings getting ready to plant out. You mentioned growing them vertically…but wont the pumpkins be too heavy? thanks.

  11. Another word for interplanting might be companion planting, only the latter has the plants growing simultaneously in a symbiotic relationship. One example is corn and pumpkins (someone mentioned the three sisters). Consider planting herbs and certain wild flowers between or to border your crops, too. These help repel pests. In addition, you'll have culinary herbs and flowers for bouquets or crafting.

  12. The Zapotec home garden today is usually about 2sq.m/20sf and they grow about 50 species of herbs, food, medicinals, flowers and dry display, to do this they keep track of root and species relationships, a legacy the Europeans didn't destroy; from the book Zapotec Science that also describes their tool-making system all tools custom fit to the person worth reading.

  13. french intensive gardening for asparagus? If I go 2ft wide trench and plant on opposite and offset, can i then go to a 6" spacing instead of 12"?

  14. I have neighbors with 7 kids (they're from Mexico), they let their kids out w/o supervision and as a result that only 1 dad works, kids are hunry. Growing in the front is free food for them. Even when you put a fence, the climb over it at night and throw a lot of garbage on a property. So front yard only grass.

  15. You don’t need crop rotations in a small garden setting as soil depletion isn’t an issue, seeing as the soil is continually replenished with fresh compost and other soil amendments to keep the soil healthy

  16. Thanks for your great videos. They're very informative. You have a nice voice that's easy to understand.

  17. That looks like non treated lumber sitting on the ground.  Even treated structural lumber is not designed for direct contact.  Termites will destroy these beds inside two years.  I came across some salvage very heavy cinder blocks and am going to use them for my garlic and asparagus.  The blocks will never rot and if you want a deeper bed just add a second row.  Im planning on using treated 2x12s for the ends so I can run the tiller through if I plant the asparagus elsewhere.  The rest of the veg go into a traditional row garden, until I find more cheap/free blocks.

  18. I cant crowd my plants in square beds due to high humidity issues.  Gotta have room for the wind to blow through.

  19. Many glorious ground covers. Some drought tolerant. My faves are Hacienda Creeper or Virginia Creeper.

  20. Do you have any resources on how to design the beds in your backyard? We will have a good sunny area this fall where we are planning to build a few beds, I plan to do some growing vertically and utilize the space to the max, but deciding which way the beds should be facing is my biggest struggle right now.

  21. I use my back yard every year to plant vegetables i also have some videos on YouTube I enjoy planting fresh organic vegetables

  22. Thanks for your videos — enjoying them! If I were to buy one book on sustainable gardening, growing like everything, which one should I get first?

  23. Hanging planters can hold an amazing amount of plants, and the vines of some can just hang down, such as in strawberries. These do well attached to tree branches, fences, or even clothes lines.

  24. I learned that for cut and come again- the roots of greens can reproduce new set of leaves about 3x if I leave enough roots. i hope to try that soon to nourish the soil by leaving the roots

  25. What business is it of our local government to not allow us to grow food on our own property. Vote this tyrants and morons out of office.

  26. Thank you for the info. It really helped me. Question though. The only spot in backyard I plan on starting this only gets 5 hours of sunlight throughout the day. That’s 8:30am – 1:30pm. Is that ok? I’m planning on growing lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, eggplants and some chilies. Advise please. Thank you.

  27. Collect pots and wooden shelves from the curbside during council clean ups to use for your own growing needs ❤ that's what I did recently and it saved me a heap of money! I only paid for bags of potting mix and seeds. The plants can be put on the shelves on a verandah or patio ❤ just pick a nice spot 🌻
    Ppl also put pallets out that you can repurpose for raised beds.

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