Already looking ahead to next year’s garden? Frost may be on the ground now, but it’s never too early to plan how you’ll fit all your fruits and veggies on your property, while leaving room for other structures and activities. Here are nine tips from One Yard Revolution on how to maximize your growing space:
1. Grow your plants in garden beds, not rows. It gets rid of the space needed for walking between the rows. If you need more access to your veggies, build an inlet or keyhole in the garden bed frame, so you can reach all the crops.
2. Optimize the spacing between garden beds. Place them 25 or 18 inches apart, so you can walk through and carry buckets. Widen the paths if you’re going to need a wheelbarrow. Also optimize spacing between plants, and put crops as close together as possible. Indeterminate cherry tomatoes can take up a square foot of space, for example, when you trim the suckers occasionally.
3. Grow vertically. You can grow a variety of crops — tomatoes, peas, whole beans, winter squash, pumpkins and Malabar spinach — on trellises. Growing them vertically frees up the garden for other crops.
4. Try succession planting. Keep a continually producing garden. For instance, as the tomato harvest draws near, plant other veggies, such as kale or Swiss chard.
5. Inter-plant. For instance, you can plant sunchokes and radishes in the same bed. The radishes can grow and be ready to harvest before the sunchokes get too big and overshadow the radishes.
6. Use all your space, and grow in the shade. You can grow rhubarb, leafy greens, mushrooms and other crops in partially shaded areas.
7. Grow food in your front yard. If you don’t want fruits or veggies, edible plants can be part of your landscape.
8. Grow micro-greens. You can plant them much closer together than the recommended spacing on the seed package. Cut them early, and come back later for a second harvest.
9. Grow in pots and containers. You can grow in lots of places where you can’t have a garden, such as on front steps and patios.