For anyone accustomed to the notion that  a   vegetable   garden  must be  a  fairly large affair – its rows stretching fifteen or twenty feet at  a  minimum, the concept of crops pushing up from  a  small container or appearing to burst the bonds of  a  tiny patch of ground only  a  few feet square – it is almost unsettling.

Yet  growing   vegetables  in cramped spaces is not only possible but highly rewarding. One can  grow  tomatoes in tubs at the edge of  a  patio, strawberries in empty milk cartons on  a  windowsill, lettuce in  a  modest window box, watermelons along  a  strip beside  a  driveway or beans on  a  trellis on  a  small apartment balcony.

 A  space no larger than  a  card table can supply you with  vegetables  year-round. The trick is to create  a   garden  that has the right  growing  conditions and to buy seeds that are well suited to smaller areas.

Many seed companies have started offering miniature, compact  plants  to meet the needs of people with limited space. You’ll often find them in their catalogs or on their websites under categories like space miser, midgets or space savers.

Producing  vegetables  on  a  reduced scale, however, is basically  a  different proposition from other kinds of  gardening . Small  gardens  devoted to woody ornamentals like dwarf conifers, rhododendrons or heathers or to miniature bulbs or alpines are arranged and managed largely for appearance: they exist to be decorative, to please the eye.

 Vegetables  are most often  grown  to reward not the eye but the palate. So while corn stalks and bean bushes can make the mouth water they rarely make the eye pop, and they are not likely to be found gracing  a  well designed border, although creative horticulturists have combined  a  few of the handsomest  vegetables  with flowering  plants  to good effect.

The biggest challenge with  a  small  vegetable   garden  is practicality. Some  vegetables  such as lettuce will  grow  fine with only 4 hours of sunlight  a  day, but anything that produces  a  fruit (tomatoes, corn, beans, etc.) needs  a  solid 8 hours of direct sunlight or they aren’t going to be very productive. That sunlight isn’t necessary for dwarf azaleas, however.

 A  proper soil mix is also important, along with the right fertilizer. It can be too much for some dwarf  plants , however and can make them  grow  beyond the space they’re given. Plus, you need to turn the soil in your  vegetable   garden  annually. This kind of tilling can’t be done in some small spaces.

In spite of the challenges,  growing   vegetables  in  a  small space is worth the effort. You’ll need to decide whether you want miniature fruit or just miniature  plants . Small  vegetables  are cute, but often not so practical. There are some that are widely used though – cherry tomatoes and radishes are two perfect examples.



Source by Dave Truman