Small Spaces: Gardening Small for Big Results

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Missing Your Vegetable Garden?

This summer it was a pleasure to read of all the successful gardens.  The beautiful flowers, the abundance of fresh vegetables, the herbs, all sounded delightful.

It made me a little wistful since I no longer have a home with a yard.  For the most part that is a good thing, but it sounded lovely to go outside to pick fresh basil when I needed it.  It even sounded fun to have too much zucchini to know what to do it all. Memories of the days with big gardens returned.

It Only Takes A Little Space

Finally, it occurred to me that I could easily have a little garden.  We don’t need that much room to container garden any more.  At the complex where I now live, there is a good size balcony.  Plenty of room for a few planters.  So I went on a mission to find some small space saving planter that would provide a nice variety.

Since many of us are downsizing these days, more of us face the same circumstance.  I wouldn’t trade it either.  I no longer wish to maintain a big yard.  For that reason, I thought I would share some of the ideal containers I found, in case you might be looking for a way to grow a few veggies and herbs of your own.

I’ve included my favorites at the moment, but there are so many varieties to choose from.  You can see a huge variety here to fit every space. 

A Living Wall: Vertical Wall Garden Planter

Living Walls are growing more and more popular.  It’s an excellent idea as a means to grow food, whether large scale like community gardens or in your own home.  Besides it is good for the environment to have the greenery and it adds beauty to your space.  You can see the effect of the 7 pocket hanging planter in the photo above.  The picture shows four of these great hanging planters mounted side by side on a heavy duty rod.

What a pretty way to bring a garden to your balcony or patio.  You can hang one or several. Each comes 11.8 inches across.  I’d pick this  7 pocket version, but it comes in smaller sizes as well.  With 7 pockets it is 40 inches long (or high).  I like the idea of wall mounting one or two to protect the plants from blowing over in wind.  The shelter of the wall would provide additional warmth as well.

It’s well made of a combination of polyester and felt fabric.  I would not use it indoors since water can drip out.  Still it is so reasonable, and a love way to decorate a wall or fence with flowers or vegetables you can eat!

The Flower Tower

3 feet high with spaces for 30 plants, this looks like a winner.  It’s so narrow it would fit on nearly any balcony or patio.

Plus how fun it would be to plant a variety of herbs and perhaps some strawberries as well. It will easily move if you need to, so it isn’t something that has to be left behind.

If I have enough room, it would be lovely to have one filled with flowers and the other herbs and strawberries.  The flowers look beautiful, as though it is one giant plant rather than many little ones.  Be sure you get small plants for this one, since the holes are fairly small.  The six-pack plants should work excellent.

Mr Stacky Strawberry Planter

This set, stacking 5 high also offers a lot of plant space for a small footprint of 12 inches wide.  It’s plastic to keep it lighter weight, but it is food grade safe.  I’m not sure if I will fill mine with strawberries, herbs, or perhaps a combination with seasonal flowers as well.

Doesn’t this look charming?  Perhaps it is because I have always liked furniture and things with lots of small compartments, but this really appeals to me.   All so condensed, yet offering a good amount of planting room.

Is there a down side?

The only issue that I see with most of these is the small space it provides.  It probably wouldn’t work as well for larger items, and certainly not for heavy vegetables, but the pleasure of picking strawberries or herbs would make any of these worthwhile to me.  It would be fun to plant flowers among them too.  Petunias perhaps, or alyssum for its lovely scent.

It’s also important to check them daily to see if water is needed.  While some say they keep the water more evenly distributed, if they are outside in the heat, they are bound to get thirsty. So while it is good that the water doesn’t collect, that it drains off, it may mean watering more often.

Lastly, several say they are indoor/outdoor.  If you plan on having or moving them indoors, be sure to protect the carpet and walls in case of dripping water.

I’m going to try peppers in one of the lower sections to see how they do, and spinach in a few.  Once it’s planted,  a couple of more low pots, one for tomatoes and one for zucchini should fit nicely.  It will be great fun to watch my little garden grow, and much easier to tend than the full yard of old.

Nancy Janes 12-inch Stacking Planters 

Another option that stacks. Each set comes with 3 levels.  As you can see in the photo, you can stack these more than 3 high.  Buy two or even three, and go as high as 9.  Use a metal dowel  down the space in the center  to keep them stable,  That is definitely a space saver.

The watering system this set comes with (patented) keeps the plants more evenly watered. They can be hung if you prefer. The idea of stacking them even 7 or 8 high appeals.  Less bending, more plants, without taking up much of the limited floor space.

For my balcony, I haven’t decided if I can get one of each of these.  I love every one of them.  If I do, they really wouldn’t take up that much room.  Perhaps one corner or one end of the balcony would suit them well.  If I decide only to use one, it will still be a joy to watch the plants grow!

A Solo Pot For The Zucchini and Tomato Plants

I want to save room for one or two of these good sized pots.  To feel like I really have a vegetable garden, I think a zucchini plant, a tomato plant, or both, should be included.

It used to make me a little crazy to see how much and how fast zucchini grew in my garden, but now, since I love them for noodles and in all sorts of recipes, it sounds like fun to have one plant.

Now I can’t wait to start.  I’m excited to see how much can be fit into a very little space.  I love that these are easily moved too, in case I decide to move myself.  My needs may have changed, but there are still plenty of options for fresh vegetables of my own.  Do you think you would have room too?


Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Mystery Suspense Reviews .

Author: Merry Citarella

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