Gardening in a small lot

You don’t need to have a large lot to grow vegetables and fruits.  When we lived in a townhouse, we kept some herbs in pots on the patio stones, and grew half a dozen tomato plants along one fence, with beans, peas, lettuce, and occasionally potatoes and pumpkins along the other side.  The yield was not large, but for a few months, fresh vegetables were available onsite.

The biggest obstacle you may find in a small city plot, besides lack of space, is lack of sunlight. Most plants need at least six hours of sunlight to produce. If your property faces the north, is surrounded by fences, or contains a garden shed or similar structures, you can find sunlight limited.  Unfortunately, too, in some developments and municipalities, there are regulations prohibiting you from planting vegetables in the front of your house, or too close to the sidewalk.  Check before you plant.

Here are some ideas for growing in small spaces:

  • Plant berry bushes, such as strawberries, blueberries, currants, honeyberries, lingonberries, and raspberries.  Many berry bushes are just as attractive as ornamental shrubs, with the added bonus of being productive, too.
  • Plant a few tomato and or pepper plants in the ground or in pots.  When selecting seeds, check to see how big the plant is expected to grow.  You may be able to purchase dwarf varieties.
  • Sow lettuce and other greens, radishes, and onions in successive batches.  That way, you’ll have fresh produce available all summer.
  • Sow pole beans and peas against the side of your house or fence, and add trellises or stakes if needed.  We once grew a variety of purple pole beans that climbed to the second storey!
  • Fruit trees such as apricots can also be grown against a wall.  You can purchase dwarf varieties of these and other fruit trees, such as pears and apples.
  • Grow cucumbers and similar plants up a trellis, or down from a window box.  Place containers of herbs on your deck, patio stones, or step.  Remember that anything planted in a container needs to be watered frequently.
  • Plant vegetables that are harvested early with ones that mature late, so they can share the same space.  For example, peas are one of the first vegetables to die off, whereas broccoli takes a long time to mature.