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Expand your small gardening space, no matter where you live, with these 6 tips to make your garden more efficient.

When I first started this homesteading adventure I had grand thoughts of owning acres of land full of fruits, veggies, chickens and maybe even a goose or two. Visions of wide open spaces, fields full of prairie grass and trailblazing on the back of a horse is what I had imagined. 

Okay so maybe my imagination got the best of me after watching too many videos about pioneering the land or visiting western states like Montana. Here in Ohio we don’t have lands full of prairie grass where you can see for miles. Our countryside is full of corn. And soy beans.  Forests. And deer. Not many horses around these parts.

My husband and I currently live in a small town of about 1,100 people, on a half acre property. We still have big dreams of owning a large property with plenty of space to grow our own food and raise livestock but we know God has a purpose for our living in our little country town and as His word says, “He will give us the desires of our heart” (Psalm 37).

Homesteading isn’t about the amount of property you own. Rather it is about learning to grow your own food, being self sufficient and living a simpler more natural lifestyle in the space you have.

Upon moving into our home, we wanted to get the most out of our small acreage. The first couple of years we started with a small garden plot full of traditional veggies like tomatoes and peppers. Each year we expanded our garden a little more. Eventually we reached the point where if we enlarged our garden any more we wouldn’t have a backyard for the dogs to play in.

Ingenuity was afoot. The question on our minds was “how can we grow more without purchasing additional land?”.

This summer we successfully maximized our garden space by growing plants vertically using a trellis system, planted around our entire property – not just in the backyard – and added pots and planters to our deck for container gardening.

Do you have minimal space but love to garden? Maybe a small patio outside your apartment or a backyard in the suburbs? Where you are at is perfect. Everyone can grow something, no matter where they live. 

Here are 6 ideas for maximizing your small garden space.

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6 Tips to Make Your Garden More Efficient

Grow Vertically

Instead of taking up more space in your garden, try growing items vertically. A trellis system can grow cucumbers, beans, peas and many other types of vining veggies. My husband and I repurposed some barn ladders into a trellis to grow pole beans. It proved to be quite successful – excellent yield without taking up much room in our garden.

Container Gardening

Instead of expanding your in-ground garden, try adding pots and containers on your deck or around your patio. Not only will they add a beautiful touch to your landscaping but they will feed your family – talk about multipurpose! Matt and I added a variety of pots and planters to our deck this year. We’ve got sage and lavender growing around the stairs, a deck railing planter with tatsoi and our favorite, the cedar elevated garden beds that hold plenty of medicinal herbs.

Use All of Your Space

Your garden doesn’t have to be limited to your backyard. Herbs such as yarrow, calendula and echinacea create beautiful flowers that add curb appeal to your home. And when those herbs are ready to harvest, simply clip their blooms, dry them and you’ll have natural medicine you can use to keep your family healthy during the winter months.

Matt and I began growing edible sunflowers this year in a space on our property that we had previously deemed as useless.

Grow Plants Indoors

Indoor plants don’t have to be limited to decorative succulents or culinary herbs, although I do love my window herbs! One year my Mom and I grew miniature tomato plant on our kitchen window sill. What a delight it was to have fresh tomatoes in the dead of winter. All you need to grow plants indoors is a few small pots and a sunny window (south facing is best). Lisa from the Farmhouse on Boone has a great tutorial for creating an indoor plant hanger.

Rent a Garden Plot

If you don’t have enough room on your property to grow all of the food you need, why not rent or borrow land from a neighbor or friend? You could even join a community garden. I read a story about a woman who used a friend’s property to garden. She grew so much she ended up making a profit by selling the excess.

Our garden space isn’t large enough to grow vining veggies like butternut squash. My parents graciously allowed us to create a garden plot on their land to grow some squash along with a few other veggies.

Succession Planting

When your lettuce plants are waning, start up some new seeds. Or towards the end of the tomato season, plant some cold hardy plants such as kale or swiss chard to replace the tomatoes. The idea is to keep a steady flow of fresh veggies as long as the weather allows.

There are countless ways to maximize your garden space. Get creative! Experiment and try new ways to get more fresh food in your life.

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