The alternative title for this post was #grandmastatus. I love gardening, but talking about how much I love gardening makes me realize that I am not the 22-year-old that my mind keeps telling me I am. To be fair, I have, for the most part, always enjoyed gardening. It's kind of hard not to in my family of green thumbs. I've mentioned before that my Mom studied botany in college, so of course, gardening tasks were on the chore chart before we even had a chore chart. I also enjoyed spending time in my Grandfather's garden, eating the peas, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, asparagus and pretty much anything else I could get my hands on when no one was looking. He'd always give me different small tasks to do and I enjoyed helping him out (even though I was probably more of a hinderance than a help). My uncle too, has always been involved with gardening, whether running a landscaping business or working at a botanical center. I have memories of visiting him at his job when I was younger, and I was always amazed by his extensive knowledge on all of the different plants (per usual, I probably asked waaaaaay too many questions). While I don't have the same shade of green thumb as certain other members of my family, it's hard to deny that gardening seems to run in our blood.
You would think living in New York would eliminate any thought of gardening. But trust me, if there is a quote to sum up New Yorkers, it is that where there is a will, there is a way. You wouldn't believe some of the places I've seen people trying to grow plants. Up until last year when we moved and got a backyard, I typically stuck with the usual window sill or fire escape to have some greenery. Now that we have an outdoor space, it's still small, so getting plants to grow in it has been a bit of a challenge. In fact, I shared a few small space gardening tips in this post last year, but after working in the yard for what is going on the second season, I've picked up a few more tips that have worked and should help your small garden space too. Throughout last year, I've learned that there are a few things that definitely don't work (*cough* trying to plant 50 bazillion types of plants in 2 feet of space *cough*). So whether it's outdoors, indoors, out of a city, or in a city, here are 5 tips for small space gardening:
1. Proper Planning// Before you pick up a shovel, you'll want to pick up a pen (and some paper). Survey the space you have to work with (be it a window sill or an outdoor plot), take into account the amount of sunlight your space will get, think of plants that will work best for the space, etc. Then once you've taken a lay of the lend, plot out what plants you want to go where and what you think will do best in the space you have available.
2. Creative Spaces// While traditionally one thinks of plants going into the ground, consider other options to get the most bang for your buck, or should I say plants for your pots?! With a trellis or fencing, you can have plants that climb up. Use the edge of a garden for plants that like to sprawl (think cucumbers and watermelon). Alternatively, consider hanging pots from the ceiling or a shelf in spots like your kitchen, bathroom or bedroom.
3. Think Outside the Pot// In continuation of the creative spaces, consider growing plants in things other than traditional pots. Use wooden crates or boxes, cans, or even containers picked up from garage sale and thrift stores.
4. Variety is the Spice of Life, or in this case, the Garden// Whether you only have space for a window garden or you have room for flowers and vegetables, make sure you give yourself a variety of plants to work with. Some plants will only produce for a short window time, where as others will last all season, so you'll want to take this into account or you'll end up with a garden full of dead plants instead of one that is producing all summer long.
5. Sharing Caring is Caring// Last, but not least, make sure you have the proper tools needed to care for your garden. Of course, there is the obvious, water, but also consider a pair of pruning sheers for cutting back dead stems, and definitely invest in a plant fertilizer. Plants in untraditional spaces will need a little extra TLC and there is no better way to give them that than through a fertilizer.
A few plants that do well in small spaces
- Herbs (rosemary, oregano, thyme, basil, parsley, cilantro, sage, and mint.....mint, cilantro and parsley can all quickly take over a space so I recommend planting them each in their own pot, especially mint)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Cucumbers (they do especially well at the edge of a garden box)
If you're curious, you can see last year's garden here and here (this is the post that also includes a few more small space gardening tips). I'd also love to know if you're a gardener, small space or not, and if you are, what plants you're currently growing?