Garden / June 17, 2018 / .
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.
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.
Raised beds offer excellent drainage. Soil compaction in no longer an issue, so working the soil and weeding will be much easier. Every square inch of soil will go towards food production as none will be wasted underfoot. Depending on how high you choose to build your raised beds, you could completely eliminate the need to bend over. At worst, even if your raised beds are only a foot and a half high, you would not be bending as far.
Vegetable gardening used to be the poor relation of ornamental flower gardens. Perennial borders reigned and large, messy, vegetable gardens were hidden in the back yard, usually the domain of the man of the house. Vegetable gardens were about producing food, not beauty. Now that vegetables have taken a more prominent place on the table, they are gaining more respect in the gardening world. And with the increased interest from home gardeners, there has been a surge in the development of new varieties: colorful novelty vegetables, heirlooms, ethnic varieties and compact growers.