Garden / February 23, 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.
That is one way to get a large yield from a small space, but not the best. If you are truly short of space, interplant your vegetables with your flowers. There is no rule that says you can not mix the two. It can be a bit harder to harvest, but many vegetables are quite ornamental in their own right. If you do opt for a variety of vegetables in your garden, recommend the compact varieties and also vining crops that can be trained up on supports. Pole beans take up less space than bush beans. Vining cucumbers and squash, as aggressive as they can be, actually take up less area than their bush cousins.
All successful gardening endeavors, big or small, start with fertile soil. If you have a large plot, you can get away with having less-fertile soil by planting more and spacing out your crops. In a small space, however, that approach simply does not work. When preparing front yard garden, remember sifting sandy soil through fingers and realizing to improve it. Added lots of organic compost along with a little lime and bone meal, and add more organic matter each year.
Small-space gardening can have a few challenges: The space may shaded by walls or adjacent structures. There is often little actual ground exposed—much of the space is hardscaped with patios or on a balcony for example. Sometimes there is no water source. Sometimes drainage is poor. And, in particular in multi-family dwellings, such as apartment homes and condos, there is often a lack of privacy in these outdoor spaces.