Garden / June 4, 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.
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.
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.
An extended growing season. A raised bed will warm up faster than the ground in the spring and in the fall your bed can easily be tented to extend your growing season by a few weeks or so. Location, location, location: Grow food in the location of your choice regardless of soil conditions as you will be adding your own.