Food fresh from the garden is a delight that even those of us with small yards can enjoy. Even the tiniest of yards can produce a considerable bounty of fruits and vegetables to enjoy all summer long. With proper planning, you too can have your small edible garden oasis!
My yard is a great example of this. It is approximately 15 by 30 feet, including a brick patio and small lawn. But even in this little yard I have vegetables, six varieties of berries, grapes, figs, kiwi, rhubarb, and herbs and have plans for espalier fruit trees this coming year.
Here is how I fit so much in such a small space:
Use Edibles As Ornamentals
The time of separating the vegetable garden from the ornamental garden are long gone, opening up the possibilities of having a beautifully landscaped yard as well as lots of delicious healthy fresh foods no matter how small your property is.
Check out my article 4 Easy Edible Perennials For The Flower Garden for some ideas on great plant choices for edible landscaping.
Carefully Position Plants To Fit More Without Crowding
My edibles are thoughtfully placed considering their growing habits so that they all mesh together like a well planned garden should. Each year I am moving and tweaking the arrangement, just as you would with any annual ornamental garden, getting it progressively closer to my idea of the ideal layout.
I like to think of gardening in small spaces as putting together a puzzle. The heights, widths, and growing habits of each plant has to fit together with the neighboring plants in a mutually beneficial way so that the garden is ascetically appealing and the plants stay healthy. They can be quite close as long as there is sufficient airflow and sun penetration.
Include Bushes And Trees But Prune Heavily
Trees and bushes can take up a lot of space, but with heavy pruning they can easily be incorporated into spaces that you wouldn’t normally imagine they would work.
I have many berry bushes and a fig tree. Each of these are in tight areas which could easily lead them to be overcrowded, and prone to disease, pest, and fungus. Yet I have not had any problems. My secret, heavy pruning. I keep them small, growing exactly in the shape I want them to (think of the puzzle idea I mentioned earlier), with lots of airflow and sun penetration through the branches.
When I plant any plant I have a plan of the eventual shape that I want them to grow into so that they will work in the small space even as they get bigger. I make sure to prune every year, sometimes twice, not being afraid to remove lots of branches if need be. If the plants need to stay small, I prune in the summer after the spring growth spurt to help slow its growth. If I need to encourage growth to shape the plant, then I prune in the winter. Because of heavy thoughtful pruning, I have healthy plants that work perfectly in my small yard.
Check out my article Video Guide To Fearless Winter Pruning for more information on pruning.
Vertical Gardening With Vines
A big part of my landscape design involves vines. Growing your garden up is a great use of space and it also adds character to a garden. A small yard with lots of tall foliage has the feeling of being a magical outdoor room. Having vines as walls gives both privacy and atmosphere. This is an effect that is hard to duplicate in larger gardens, giving us at least one reason to be thankful for our small garden space.
In my yard, I have used vines on three of the garden’s walls to make it both beautiful and private. I have masked the cider block wall of my garage with both grapes and northern kiwi. On a shared fence I have used carefully trellised tomatoes vines to give privacy, and along the alley fence I have trained a blackberry vine to block the unpleasant view.
I love the way my yard is contained within these vines, not to mention the bounty of food that comes from these four plants.
Love Your Garden
Small gardens offer an opportunity for the gardener to be creative. They can be used to create an atmosphere of a secret garden where delicious food is abundant in our cozy private spaces.
Share Your Small Yard Edible Oasis With The World
I invite you to share your own small yard edible gardening experience. Whether you have pictures, advice, questions, related articles, or how to videos I would love to see them.
Leave a comment on the group board Small Yard Edible Oasis requesting to be added as a contributor to share with us.
Amy grew up on farm property with very large impressive gardens, and eventually found a community garden to practice her skills until she was able to have her own garden at home. She now has a beautiful garden full of edibles, flowers and insects (both predator and prey) where she and her family can be found digging in dirt and snacking on delicious food. Her son has grown up helping in the garden where he has picked up a love and knowledge of plants far beyond his years.
Besides writing for NaturalNews.com Blogs, Amy has an online store featuring her digital art.