Whether you have acreage to spare or your yard could be compared to a postage stamp, small gardens boast advantages for all. The low startup cost, water usage, and general maintenance make it a smart decision for anyone who wants to try out their green thumb without the costs and commitment that come with a large garden. Not to mention the delicious and beautiful fruits (or veggies, or flowers) of your labor.
Raised Bed Garden
Raised beds can be built in an afternoon to fit your specific space and plant needs or pre-cut kits can be purchased at your local hardware store for quick and tool-free assembly. Cedar is best for this project for its rot- and insect-resistant qualities. Be sure your bed is placed in a level, weed-free area prior to filling with dirt, then fill with nearly any type of plants. Trellises and cages can also easily be added with this method for vertical growth.
Straw Bale Garden
A quick trip to your local hardware store and about $10 in supplies can help you achieve a straw bale garden. With this method, you’re containing your new garden as you would with pots or a raised bed, but at the end of the season, your bale can be used for compost which you can use to feed your garden next year! To achieve this, place your bale narrow/cut side up, condition the bale, remove enough straw to fit your plant and it’s root ball, and fill in with quality soil to feed the plant and add stability. Be sure to fertilize with this method since the straw won’t provide as many nutrients as soil.
If you’re really low on space, a vertical garden might be the best option for you! A bare wall or fence make the perfect location for these gardens and are easily customizable to include some added privacy from neighbors or stand as an art piece. Small pots can be hung from a chain-link or hex-wire fence, recycled pallets can be leaned and filled with soil for small plants, crates can be stacked for larger plants, and wall gardens can be created using pocket gardensor even shoe organizers.
If you have neighbors interested in helping and a space for a larger garden, another way to keep your costs and maintenance low but return on investment high is to start a community garden. Popping up in neighborhoods of all types, these gardens provide a multitude of rewards but with the shared responsibility of maintaining the space. Some communities have even had success securing sponsorships for their gardens to purchase tools and other supplies, so be sure to look for resources in your community. Reach out to your neighbors, lay some ground rules, and come up with a plan prior to beginning the project. Be sure to maintain good communication with all involved so everyone is on the same page and has the same expectations.
Indoor Herb Garden
With a few small pots and a lot of natural sunlight, anyone can have an indoor herb garden that’s ready to garnish your dishes or add flavor to your beverages. Just be sure to provide your pots with good drainage and protect any surfaces that may be damaged from excess water or fallen leaves. If even this is overwhelming, the Miracle-Gro AeroGarden is a nearly fool-proof method for growing plants indoors.
Regardless of your chosen method, be sure to plant, water, and fertilize according to your plant’s included directions. Keep us posted on how your little garden is growing in the comments section below!