Garden / June 22, 2018 / .
As summer approaches, many of us look forward to the unmistakable taste of fresh, locally grown vegetables and fruit, especially those that come from our own soil. For those of you who would like to grow food but have limited space, do not despair. Your dream of home grown food is still within reach. You may be wondering how to grow vegetables if you have little to no space with full sun exposure, but many vegetables will tolerate partial shade, and a few could even be considered shade vegetables as they would not tolerate full sun exposure.
Keyhole gardens are designed to maximize space by eliminating the need for walkways as found in traditional row gardening or with raised beds. The design is also intended to be draught-resistant and deliver nutrients via compost throughout the entire growing season. Keyhole gardens are a raised style bed that take the rough shape of a circle with a keyhole shaped path allowing access to the entire garden. In the center of the circle is a vertical tunnel that houses many layers of compost. As the compost breaks down it delivers nutrients and moisture directly to the bed. Certainly an efficient way to grow, keyhole gardens can be constructed with many different materials as a quick Google search of the term will confirm. If you have space for a circle roughly 8 - 10 feet in diameter you can use whatever appropriate materials that are easily accessible corrugated siding, cedar posts, landscaping rock, bricks or any combination thereof. We have a page dedicated to keyhole gardens for more details.
Virtually any fruit, vegetable or herb can be grown in a container, if the container is large enough. As with ornamental container gardening, this is a great way to control the soil, sun and growing conditions of your edible plants. It is also a great way to squeeze edible gardening into the smallest spaces, by siting them on your patio, front steps or driveway.
Crop Rotation is a great tool for keeping pests and diseases out of the vegetable garden. Rotating your vegetables so they grow in different areas of the garden each year is an excellent way to cut down on diseases and insect pests that over winter in the soil. This really is not possible in small vegetable gardens. You will just have to be vigilant about not letting problems get out of hand. If a large scale problem should occur, such as squash beetles or septoria leaf spot on tomatoes, seriously consider not growing the crop for a year. It will be a sacrifice, but one year without is better than several years of a disappointing crop.