Small Space Gardens Types admin
Small Space Gardens Types
Small space gardening is a subjective term. it can range from a single hanging basket with a chili pepper, to a backyard loaded with spring bulbs and summer tomatoes or a community plot filled with beans. The variations are endless, but they all offer the gardener a chance to work the dirt and grow.
Backyards and side yards are the most common place for gardens. They are usually the biggest section of ground space on the property, which makes them the best suited to grow crops. most backyards also offer a little privacy and are exempt from homeowner association rules. This is in direct contrast with front yards, which are often viewed as a community façade, if not a communal property. It is common for associations to exclude veggie growing in the front and insist that all plantings be flowery and neat. but where it is allowed, I have seen spectacular front yard veggie gardens that really make a statement. to protest the wastefulness of lawns, some hard-core gardeners replace all their turf with veggies.
Before you go veggie garden crazy and rip out your grass, answer a few questions. do the kids, dogs, or anything else need a patch of lawn on which to play? According to your site analysis, which yard is the most suitable? How are your neighbors going to react? What do you want to grow? This will give you an idea of what’s possible in your yards.
Patios, Balconies, & Rooftops
Patios are common in urban areas. Decks are more popular in the suburbs. Neither has ground area, but both are suitable for container growing. growing space is usually limited, though, as people use decks and patios for living. Decks with railings have more options because you can grow vertically on the balusters.
Balconies and rooftops have challenges that other areas don’t face, like wind. On my rooftop there is a constant breeze, and the gusts are much more powerful than those at ground level—strong enough to damage plants and topple containers. On fully exposed areas, place containers in a sheltered spot (maybe against a wall) and protect the plants with wire cages and trellises. Wind also affects watering. a dry southwestern breeze can suck all the moisture out of large pots in a few hours. containers may require daily watering during the hottest, driest times of the year.
Heat is another factor to consider. Patios, balconies, and rooftops are typically hotter than other parts of a building. Urban roofs (blacktop and reflective) are notorious for their scorching summer temps. containers literally roast from radiant and convective heat. In some urban areas, the stifling heat—combined with hot, dry weather—creates desertlike conditions with high rates of water loss through evapotranspiration (evaporation plus plant transpiration).
Large containers handle adverse conditions the best. First, they are heavy enough to withstand wind gusts. The increased soil volume means more moisture-holding capacity, which means less water stress for the Types of Small Space Gardens 51 plants. Large containers also allow for individually contained gardens. Bulbs, annuals, perennials, veggies, and even shrubs can be combined for multiseason interest.
Community gardens have been around for centuries. My english neighbor calls a community garden an “allotment.” They are common in europe and have a rich history here. Community gardens were wildly popular in america during world war i and world war ii. At least 20 million people tended community gardens during world war ii. About 40 percent of all the veggies consumed in america were grown in these victory gardens in the 1940s.
We may not make it back to those numbers, but community gardens are still a great way to grow nutritious food, promote self-reliance, and beautify the local area. Like parks, most community gardens are public green spaces owned and operated by local municipalities. (locate your nearest community garden at the american community gardening association< website).
Rules and regulations differ across the country, but typically there is a registration process for participants. My community garden charges a nominal fee for administration and water usage. Upkeep and weeding are the gardeners’ responsibility or pleasure, depending on your perspective.
The Benefits of Community Gardens
Provide food and nutrition to the community.
Filter and purify the air and water in the community, especially important in urban areas.
Provide habitat for local wildlife like birds, rabbits, and butterflies. Beautify the community.
Allow for social interaction within a community.
Gardeners help other gardeners. Community gardens also promote intergenerational interactions.
Provide a location for social activities like gardening demos, harvest parties, and potlucks.
Remove carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the air (they are sometimes called carbon sinks).
Provide opportunities to exercise and engage in physical activity. Keep the community active, which encourages social interaction and deters crime.
Sustainability & Courtesy in Community Gardens
The community garden i am part of decided to go organic because none of us wanted to bring produce with toxic chemical residues home to our families. All community gardeners should adhere to the same sustainable practices because of their close proximity and chemical drift. It is just a common courtesy
Decide among yourselves what practices and products are allowed. Make sure it is well known by all gardeners because an unknowing person can contaminate the whole place. It only requires one application of toxic chemicals from one person on a windy day to remove the organic label from an entire community garden. You should be considerate with plant choices too.
Don’t grow weedy, invasive, or overwhelming plants. Sunchokes are a native sunflower grown for their edible tubers. My great-grandmother grew them, so i wanted to try. Not only do sunchokes grow 8 feet tall and cast shade on neighboring gardens, but their underground roots travel across pathways and into other plots. This large, rampant, impossible-to-eradicate, neighborangering plant should never be grown in a community plot.
Pumpkins, which can spread 20 to 30 feet in all directions, are another no-no. One year i grew gourmet cheese pumpkins and they spread into the adjacent plots of all my neighbors and their neighbors. Fortunately, they all like me, so instead of hacking out the vine, they pushed it to the side. The cheese pumpkins were prolific. They produced dozens of pumpkins that i gladly passed around to make up for the encroachment. Take caution with your flowers too.
Asters and goldenrods bring in many pollinators for late-season crops, but they are heavy seeders. Because their seeds spread by the wind and will definitely end up in other people’s plot, they should also be excluded. Community gardeners have to be thoughtful of their neighbors in their selections. Aggressive, spreading plants are best planted in large gardens and farms.
Deep, well-drained soil is not possible everywhere. In southern florida, a layer of limestone rock is often only inches below the soil. In parts of texas, the hardpan (caliche) makes good drainage impossible. Urban soils may be contaminated or completely paved over. Raised beds offer a solution to these problems. I’ve built raised beds to improve drainage, provide ample root room, and limit contaminants, but the main reason i garden in raised beds is convenience.
They are easier to manage. You add the soil-compost mix of your choice. There’s no worry about contamination or missing nutrients. Because you bring in a good clean soil mix, there are no weed seeds and therefore less weeding. Gardeners with achy backs and tired bones will find them easier. You don’t have to bend or stoop as much to garden in a raised bed.
Harvesting is a snap because the crops are higher. Your knees will thank you. After a few seasons of growing in raised beds, you’ll wonder why you didn’t get some sooner. Wood, plastic composites, and cinder blocks are some of the common materials used to make raised beds. You don’t have to be a carpenter to construct them.
Kits are available with all the materials you would need. If you ever played with lincoln logs™ or legos™ or alphabet blocks, you can build a raised bed. Many companies supply raised bed kits, one of which is greenland gardener™. It offers modular kits so you can build horizontally and vertically. They are surprisingly easy to assemble.
When placing beds, allow enough room between them to comfortably walk without tripping or damaging the plants. Don’t place raised beds too near alleys or streets where they can be damaged by an errant car or snowplow. Site the bed in a sunny location, fill it with a good compost soil mix, and you’re ready to plant.
If you don’t have room for a garden plot or raised bed, you can always find space for containers. More people live in cities than ever. They move into apartments, retirement communities, and townhomes without much ground space but plenty of room for containers. Container growing is not as productive as in the ground, but if it is only 50 percent productive that’s much better than 0 percent. While a 16-inch pot is sufficient to grow most veggies, in this case, bigger is better.
Get as large a pot as you can handle. Durability is another important factor. Digging in amendments and lifting out root crops could chip or break fragile pots. Freezing and thawing cycles can crack or damage fragile containers too. Plastic composites provide a solution. They can take a hit, and plastic expands and contracts without breaking. Currently, plastic composites are the best material for veggie gardens because they are tough and ornamental.
They come in a variety of styles and colors to mimic ceramic, stone, and wooden barrels. These are not your grandmother’s old, faded plastic pots. You’ll also have your choice of sizes and shapes to fit any patios, balconies, porches, rooftops, entranceways, decks, or windowsills.
If this is your first time growing veggies in containers, choose the biggest pot that you can safely handle. Remember that it weighs much more with wet soil inside. You can test the weight in the garden center by putting soil bags inside and lifting. If it’s too heavy, choose a smaller one. Container mobility affects your gardening enjoyment and your back. Also, those of us with balconies, decks, back porches, and rooftops must be conscious of weight limits.
To help lighten large containers filled with soil, use container inserts. Several of my planters are over 2 feet tall, but tomatoes need only about 8 inches of soil depth. The large containers make a bold design statement, but i don’t need 2 feet of soil. By using container inserts, which take up space, you lessen the amount of soil mix needed. Anything that reduces container weight and spares my back (two fewer 50-pound bags of soil to carry up four flights of stairs) is welcome.
There are several options. Ups-a-daisy® is a plastic circle that fits inside planters and acts as a fake bottom. Ups-a-daisy comes in various sizes to fit any pot. Better than rocks™ is a recycled plastic material that resembles a mesh filter. Better than rocks is cut to size and placed in the bottom of containers. You can use as many layers as you want. My largest containers have five layers or about 5 inches of better than rocks on the bottom. Packing peanuts are another common option. Regardless of your choice, container inserts are a big help in reducing the overall weight of the container.
Gardens before filling the containers, place inserts in the bottom to reduce the amount of soil mix needed. Inserts also reduce the weight of a finished container. Packaged potting mixes are the best choice for growing media. Using soil dug from the ground in containers is never ideal. Packaged potting mixes are lightweight, moisture retentive, ph balanced, and well aerated. Plus they do not harbor any fungi, bacteria, insects, or weed seeds that would cause problems later.
Finally, the plants selected should have a stern constitution. The largest container with the best potting mix will fail if the wrong plants are chosen. Know your climate. If you are in an extremely arid environment, choose drought-tolerant plants. If you are on the coast and receive sea spray, pick salt-tolerant plants. If you are in the far north and expect early frosts, select cold-hardy plants. But don’t fret —choosing plants is the fun part.
For gardeners without yards or community plots, container gardening gives us a taste of that all-american dream of a backyard garden. We can go outside and enjoy sitting by a green oasis with herbs, veggies, and flowers. Like any gardening endeavor, start small. Plant a few containers to feel your way and see what works best for your particular site and taste. In a short time you will have decorative containers brimming with edibles (or flowers or foliage). Remember, it is a learning process with occasional setbacks, but all in all container gardening is a great way to green your space and your life.
Some people have no flat space for a garden or a container. For them window boxes may be the only option to grow outdoors at home. Window boxes make a bold statement wherever they are used. For those in buildings, check with your association and/or superintendent to make sure you meet all codes before installing a window box. Because most window boxes (and rail troughs) are long and shallow, they dry out quickly. A moisture-retentive soil mix can mean the difference between watering every day or watering twice a week.
When it comes to placing window boxes, accessibility, not light exposure, is the most important factor. If you have to put the box on a shady side, you can find plants that will grow happily. But if your box is hard to reach or water, you won’t be successful. Also, out of sight, out of mind. That window box of purple basil in the second bedroom might look great from the street, but if you always enter through the garage and rarely visit the second bedroom, that planting is in trouble. More plants die in window boxes than anywhere else. Place them where they are within easy reach and improve the view (both indoors and out).
Vertical gardening has been a popular technique for dealing with small spaces since at least the Hanging gardens of babylon. Vertical space is often overlooked (pun intended), but adding vertical elements in small spaces greatly increases the growing area. Besides providing more space for veggies, vertical gardens can also soften walls and fences, screen unsightly views, and provide shade. Cages, strings, poles, stakes, chainlink fences, and hanging baskets offer simple ways to grow up. Trellises, pergolas, and wall garden units are more complicated versions on the vertical theme.
Trellises, Pergolas, & Arbors
Trellises, typically made from interwoven latticework, are either freestanding or attached to a wall. They are perfect for small spaces. Trellises provide support for weak-stemmed plants and small vines, such as tomatoes and summer squashes. Arbors are large, freestanding structures with a canopy for shade. Pergolas are a type of extended arbor that can be freestanding or attached to a building. Pergolas often follow pathways and have a canopy of latticework. Arbors (including pergolas) can support heavy vines, like pumpkins have, and large hanging baskets. In small spaces, arbors are the defining hardscapes and are typically placed in courtyards, parks, and school gardens.
Hanging baskets may be the most popular form of vertical gardening. Seems like everyone’s grandma had a basket of impatiens hanging on the porch. But today, grandma might have a tomato hanging from it. Hanging baskets can be placed on balconies, decks, and other places where it is impossible to grow in the ground. As long as there is light and a place for a hook, you can hang a plant. The basic design is available in many styles and purposes. They range from ornate baskets for colorful annuals to inexpensive grow bags for veggies.
Whether you have a wire basket with begonias or a topsy turvy® with tomatoes, hanging pots will require more watering and fertilizing. During hot, dry spells, you may need to water twice a day. A moistureretentive potting soil mix helps, but since the basket is exposed on all sides, water loss through evapotranspiration is extremely high.
Green or living walls are fast becoming popular, especially in urban areas where growing space is limited and walls are plentiful. Green walls can be freestanding or attached. Plants can grow up from the ground to cover a wall or units can be mounted on a wall to hold plants. Vines with suction cups and/or aerial roots are suited for this. Although they’re experiencing a resurgence, green walls are not new. At many of our universities, ivy creeps upward to form lush, green walls. Wall units allow other types plants to grow vertically.
They consist of shallow pockets filled with soil or some other light-growing media. Most are modular so you can start small and expand later. When installing a wall unit, secure it sturdily because after planting and watering, they will be much heavier. Although not suitable for most veggies, wall units can grow other edible plants. If you want herbs but don’t want to take away ground space from your veggies, then attach a wall unit in a sunny spot. You may have to water more than usual, depending on exposure. If you can’t water regularly, choose shorter, small-leaved plants, like thyme and oregano.
Green walls can be installed inside too. Indoors, a green wall serves as living art and purifies the air. Indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air, especially in office buildings. Volatile organic compounds (vocs) found in carpet, paint, plywood, computer components, toner cartridges, nail polish, hairspray, cleaning products, and so forth have negative effects on health. Use spider plants, dumb canes, flamingo flowers, ferns, and so forth for indoor wall units. The tropical plants act as mother nature’s biofilters by removing toxins and releasing pure oxygen. Whether in an office with tropicals or on a patio with herbs, green walls add decorum and vibrancy.
Outdoors, their aesthetic, environmental, and economical benefits are similar to green roofs and include the following:
Provide green space to a barren area screen and soften buildings and other cityscapes.
Insulate buildings against cold and hot outdoor temperatures.
Purify the air by removing pollutants and particles.
Absorb and filter stormwater.
Serve as habitat for beneficial wildlife, such as butterflies, honeybees, and ladybugs
Growing up may be the only way small space gardeners can grow some veggies. Fortunately, many veggies can climb and actually benefit from being off the ground. Some are ramblers, like tomatoes, that have to be continually tied to a support as they grow. Others, like cucumbers and peas, attach themselves.
The benefits to growing veggies vertically include the following:
You can plant more veggies per square foot of soil for intensive gardening.
Growing vegetables vertically allows good air circulation to keep leaves dry and prevent fungal diseases.
It prevents soil from washing onto leaves and spreading disease.
It makes veggies easier to monitor and harvest.
It’s a cleaner harvest. It also keeps dirt and slugs off veggies.<
Selection is important when growing veggies vertically. Choose smaller varieties. Many pumpkins and winter squash will grow too large on a trellis. Heavy fruits might break the vine and the trellis. Instead, plant a climbing summer squash variety or lighter crops like pole beans.
Trailers & Cascaders
Not all plants are suited for hanging baskets. The complete exposure, quick-draining soil, and limited root room make it a difficult environment for most plants. Resilient plants that cascade over the side are ideal for hanging baskets, green walls, and window boxes. Dwarf or bush types with smaller fruits are more successful.
For instance, cherry and plum tomatoes produce well in hanging baskets, while the larger tomatoes, like indeterminate beefsteaks, can fall off or break the vine altogether. Drought-tolerant, aromatic herbs are some of the easiest plants for vertical gardening. Hyssop, marjoram, and creeping rosemary can grow as tough ornamental trailers and can be harvested all season long. With proper selection, vertical gardening space can grow healthy, productive plants.
Many plants are adapted to climb or cascade. Vines are the most common climbers. Their methods for climbing include twining, tendrils, aerial roots, suction cups, and rambling. Vines that twine or have tendrils attach themselves to supports. They readily climb chain-link fences, trellises, strings, and poles without much help from you.
Those with aerial roots and suction cups will also independently climb, but they need solid surfaces like brick walls or wooden fences. Ramblers have no special methods of climbing. Gardeners must attach these weak-stemmed plants to supports or they’ll just flop across the ground.