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Your own Small Organic Vegetable Garden

Raised bed of lettuce, tomatoes, 6 different t...

Image via Wikipedia

You can have own organic vegetable garden almost wherever. Whether you live in a small apartment or on a suburban lot, you can grow at least some of your own health daily diet.

Container Gardens

If you live in an apartment, you can grow many plants in containers on a balcony or small patio. As long as the area gets sufficient sunlight, your plants should thrive. Most plants do best with eight hours of sunlight, but they can survive and generate with as little as six hours of sunlight per day. Since the plants are in containers, they can be moved out of the shaded area as the sun moves.

The fine blog, Life on the Balcony, covers this process in depth on an ongoing basis.

Types of Containers

Plants can be planted in a variety of containers:

  • Barrels
  • Baskets
  • Flats
  • Pots
  • Recycled items

Here are some tips for choosing containers for your container vegetable garden:

  • Use glazed ceramic pots with good drainage holes for the best results.
  • Containers that hold between 10 and 100 quarts are the most useful.
  • Use deep pots for deep rooted vegetables.
  • Set the pots on bricks to allow for drainage.
  • Clay pots will need to be watered more frequently because the dry out faster.

Soil

You will need a nutrient rich soil for your container garden. It should be light and drain quickly to keep the roots from rotting. High quality compost is thoughtl to use as a potting soil. About once a week (or as directed) give your plants an organic fertilizer to keep the vitamins and minerals in the soil.

Adding a thick mulch to the top two inches or so of the pot will help the soil retain moisture as well.

Square Foot Gardening

If you have a little bit of yard, you can do a larger garden. Using the techniques in square foot gardening can allow you to grow an abundance of organic vegetables in a very small space.

Like container gardening, square foot gardening relies on nutrient dense compost and enriched soils to grow a variety of vegetables and other plants. Rather than using containers, you build stable, raised beds to create your small, organic vegetable garden. The beds are generally four feet by four feet to keep them easy to maintain.

Seed are planted closely and the raised beds are kept watered, fertilized and mulched. This is an intensive gardening method which many people love.

Plants for a Small organic Vegetable Garden

You will want to make the most of the limited space of your garden. Plant only your family’s favorite items and maybe one or two experipsychological categories of seeds. For instance, sweet corn takes up a lot of room in any garden, but you can grow sufficient green beans in the same area to feed your family for several months. You will probably have sufficient to freeze as well. Tomatoes are another good choice for the home gardener.

Sticking with easy to grow items that are specially made for small spaces is a great way to fill up your freezer and be successful at gardening.

As more people plant vegetables, there is a growing trend among botanists and seed companies to create small plants that generate like large ones. Some of the most popular small plants are:

  • Big Boy Tomato
  • Heavyweight 2 Green Beans
  • Spacemaster Cucumber
  • Buttercrunch Lettuce
  • Gold Rush Squash

These are just some of the hundreds of plants and seeds on the market. Look for terms like bush, compact, space saver, and others that imply the plant will be a compact grower.

Choosing a Site

When you are creating a garden bed, no matter how small it is, you need to keep in mind the needs that the plants will have as far as soil, water, and sunlight. After you have chosen a site, observe it for a couple of days before planting. Notice how much sunlight the area gets and whether water drains easily or it puddles.

Having a small organic vegetable garden doesn’t mean that you can’t grow an abundance of vegetables. It simply means that you will need to plan carefully and make the most efficient use of your space.

Organic vegetables growing

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