Garden / June 26, 2018 / .
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.
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.
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.
Most seeds and seedlings will tell you the mature size of the plants you are selecting. Knowing that, you can space things out and see just how much you can fit into your space. More likely however, you will do what most gardeners do and squeeze in as many seedlings as you can fit into your garden, then deal with the crowding later.