Garden / June 22, 2018 / .
The ideal soil type for growing most crops is loam, the rich halfway point between clay and sandy soils. If you are not sure which soil type you have, hold some in the palm of your hand, wet it and try to make a ball. If it forms a tight, hard wad, then you have lots of clay in your soil. If you can not form a ball, you have sand. If the ball forms but pretty easily breaks apart, you probably have loam. No matter which type you have, you can improve both your soils structure and fertility by working compost into the top layer each year. Those with really limited space can take heart in knowing there are effective composting options suitable for even the smallest of spaces.
Smaller garden spaces have advantages also: They are less costly to plant. Maintenance takes much less time and, changing the style or spirit of the garden can be quick and easy. Seasonal garden change-outs can be a fun way to change these spaces. And, they are easy to enjoy and appreciate since everythings close by.
If your gardening space is big enough for raised beds, they can be a great way to maximize space and effort. Not only can raised beds accommodate more plants per square foot, but gardening in a raised bed greatly reduces the need to weed. It also makes weeds much easier to uproot throughout the season, which can be a real blessing for your back.
Companion planting is often touted for the benefit of cutting down on pest infestations, but it also serves well to conserve space. Shade tolerant plants will benefit from being planted next to taller crops. Basil likes a respite from hot sun and does well next to tomatoes. Lettuce will keep producing all summer if shaded by almost any taller plant. Early harvested vegetables, like spinach, radishes and peas, can be planted with slower growing crops like broccoli or peppers, which will not take over the space until the spring harvested vegetables are gone.