As a child, I remember walking through grandmother’s garden. The whole thing was huge and ringed with marigolds to keep the bugs and rabbits out (not sure if that trick works or not). The rows were neat and weed free and everything that the family would eat during the winter was growing there. In my mother’s slightly smaller garden, I learned how to keep the rows weed free with a hoe and a lot of hard work in the hot summer sun. As an adult, I live on a lot in the city where there is not enough space for a huge garden. However, I still want to grow some of my own food. Let’s be honest, it just tastes better than the produce you buy at the store. I am going to give you some tips on how to grow your own veggies in a small space.
Choose a good location for your garden. This should be an area with 6-8 hours of sun light. To prepare the soil remove the grass or sod growing in that area. You can place this in your compost pile to break down for use in your garden next year. Dig up the soil with a garden fork or tiller and add 2” of organic matter or compost. Fluff the soil again until it is loose and crumbly. Your “bed” is now ready.
When deciding which plants to grow you have two choices, either start them from seed or let someone else do the work and start with a small plant. If you’re starting with a small plant, it is important to purchase your plants from a local nursery that you trust. Though the box stores might have cheaper product you can never tell what diseases they might be selling as well. www.extension.org/…/Plant_Disease_Threatens_Tomatoes_and_Potatoes
Great plants for beginners would be tomatoes, bush beans, peppers, and cucumbers. You can grow early spring crops of leaf lettuce and peas.
Plant at least 2 but no more than 3 plants of every plant; unless you have a huge family or plan on canning or freezing the excess. Plant the plants with enough space to grow, 2 to 3’ spacing for tomatoes. 3’ space for cucumber etc. I let my cucumber vine trail through the tomatoes to keep the weeds down. After planting, you should water carefully and soak the soil at least 1” deep. I place newspaper in between the rows and cover them with grass clippings to reduce the weed growth . After all, who has time to weed a garden these days? This will break down over time and you can till the organic matter back into the garden in the spring.
Keep an eye out for insects and disease. If you remove the insect by hand, you can reduce the need for chemical control. If you have to spray you should use an organic product. http://extension.agron.iastate.edu/organicag/supplpm.html
It is always good to remember that any chemical product will leave a residue which you will then consume, not a good thing if you want to live a long life. For fertilizer you have several organic options. Cow or poultry manure can be applied to the soil and worked in before planting or you can use topdressing of fish emulsion or bone meal.
With these tips you can grow enough food for fresh salsa, BLT’s minus the B of course, or a cucumber salad in a space as small as 10’x10’. Pick and enjoy!