Grow Your Own Way! Gardening in Small Spaces…

Gardening in its many forms is a popular hobby in Kentucky. It promotes healthy habits such as spending time outdoors, being physically active, and raising homegrown fruits and vegetables for your family. If you live in urban areas, have little space, or have limited mobility, you may think gardening won’t work for you. However, raised beds and container gardening are good solutions for these challenges.

Raised-bed gardens allow you to have control over the planting media. You can create your own soil or soilless mixes. This is great for areas with poor soil quality or poor drainage. You’ll get better root growth with amended soils and typically higher yields. Raised beds are easier for those with mobility issues because they usually require less stooping and bending during weeding and watering tasks.

Vegetables usually do well in areas that receive full sun, but many will thrive and give you a good crop with less than a full day of sun. For example, carrots, lettuce, radish, spinach, onion, winter squash, cucumber, peas, cauliflower, parsley and Swiss chard will grow in areas with as little as four to six hours of daily sunlight. Make sure you put your raised beds near a good water source as they will dry out quicker than if planted directly into the ground.

Container gardening may be a great solution for those living in apartments and condominiums or those who just want to garden on the patio. You may use just about any container that holds soil and is large enough to support the plant when it’s fully grown. You will need drainage holes in the bottom of any container to avoid overwatering. You don’t want the plant roots standing in water. Think about clay or wood pots, plastic buckets, wheelbarrows, window boxes and hanging baskets. Try to avoid very small or dark-colored containers as they will hold heat and the root zone could get dangerously overheated in full sun.

Nearly all leafy vegetables will do well in containers. You may find many dwarf varieties of your favorite vegetables that will thrive in containers. Crops with many fruits per plant such as tomatoes are good choices.

The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service has a publication with many more details about gardening in small spaces. Find and download it here

For more information on gardening, contact the Extension service in your Kentucky County. Also check out:  

Source: Rick Durham, extension horticulture specialist