1. Home
  2. Agripedia

Small Space Gardening Tips: Learn How to Grow More Plants in Less Space

Keep in mind that all gardening involves regular care, patience, and plenty of trial and error. Here are some ideas to consider while planning a garden in a tiny backyard or apartment.

Shruti Kandwal
Small Space Gardening Tips: Learn How to Grow More Plants in Less Space
Small Space Gardening Tips: Learn How to Grow More Plants in Less Space

Although the backyard garden isn't exactly a staple in Las Vegas, the growing popularity of gardening throughout the country has surely made its way to the valley. Many homeowners are increasingly experimenting with gardening in their modest (and often less-than-ideal) backyard spaces or at community gardens; even apartment owners are getting in on the act. 

Nonetheless, keep in mind that all gardening involves regular care, patience, and plenty of trial and error. Here are some ideas to consider while planning a garden in a tiny backyard or apartment.

Plant Should be Positioning the Sun

According to Leslie Doyle, leader of the Desert Gardening School at The Sweet Tomato Test Garden in Las Vegas, plants require bees, light, and water, the first two of which are difficult to come by inside. So, whether you have a garden, a balcony, or an inside space, you'll want to start by locating areas that receive the most sun throughout the day.

According to many experts, fruits and vegetables require six to eight hours of sunshine every day. Doyle adds that this is a minimum need for life; a healthy plant requires a lot lighter. That doesn't rule out the possibility of growing a fruit or vegetable in a tiny area or apartment; you'll simply have to change your expectations for how well it will grow.

"You can grow it (with six or eight hours of sunlight), but the plant’s not going to be all it can be," Doyle said. "If you're cultivating a 10-ounce tomato, you could get a 3-ounce tomato if you're lucky."

Water plants to cool them

When you offer plants as much light as possible, you must keep them cool by giving them plenty of water. In this regard, the desert can be of some aid. Doyle discovered that the valley's natural groundwater temperatures fluctuate from 50 degrees in the winter to 75 degrees in the summer. Use this knowledge to your advantage.

Every year, Doyle's 10-by-14-foot vegetable bed yields hundreds of tomatoes. She watered her plants nine times a day using a drip system for four to six minutes each time. This keeps the plants from getting too hot. Doyle also stresses the necessity of reading the instructions for each plant before planting to figure out how much water it needs.

"Everyone thinks they need to provide shade for their plants, and that is just incorrect," Doyle explained. "They're thought to be overly hot... However, the fact that you're probably watering irregularly is what's causing the burning."

Start with quality soil and set a nutrition schedule

Doyle also applies a liquid kelp fertilizer to plant leaves three times a year and adds soil fertilizer every 30 days. She believes that a good base soil is essential, and she has had success with Dr. Earth and Arizona's Best brands.

"I've heard the saying, 'If you only have a dollar, spend it on the soil.' That is very accurate. I like ViraGrow's organic, bio-solid-free options," said Jonathan Spears, owner of Sage Design Studios, a landscape architectural firm in Las Vegas.

Doyle isn't picky about the type of soil she uses. She claims that there are a variety of high-quality options available. However, she advises against using Miracle Grow, as it is designed for plants rather than fruits and vegetables.

"The nitrogen level is excessive. "You'll get lovely plants, but not lovely tomatoes," she continued.

Use a raised bed if you can

You should avoid planting straight in the ground if you're dealing with a backyard space. According to Doyle, cinder blocks are ideal for constructing borders in tiny backyard spaces, and planting only requires around 8 inches of soil above ground.

The "square-foot gardening concept," which is a raised-box garden divided into 1-foot squares, is recommended by Sarah Jameson, a representative for the website Green Building Elements.

"If you're not sure where to begin designing your garden, this can help you figure out how many plants will fit in a 2-by-4-foot space," she added.

Plants that require the same amount of sunshine and water should be grouped, according to Jameson.

"This allows you to keep a better eye on their growth and stops you from overwatering or overexposing them," she added.

Pick what grows best in the desert

With the correct amount of sun and water, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, maize, melons, and lettuce kinds like kale may all thrive in the desert. A modest backyard space will be required for the larger fruits and veggies.

"On the side of my old home, situated between two two-story residences with barely 5 feet of the yard on either side of the wall, I had good results growing serrano peppers," Spears continued.

Herbs require less light, making them an ideal choice for apartment windowsills and other circumstances with limited light. Herbs like parsley, chives, lavender, thyme, and rosemary, according to Brody Hall, horticulture with The Indoor Nursery, a website dedicated to indoor growing, may perform well in tiny gardens or pots.

"They can endure drought and give a lot of flavor to home-cooked dishes." Root vegetables such as carrots and radishes would thrive in a sunny location with good soil," he noted.

Don’t forget to get permission, and keep learning from others

Herbs require less light, making them an ideal choice for apartment windowsills and other situations with limited light. Herbs like parsley, chives, lavender, thyme, and rosemary, according to Brody Hall, horticulture with The Indoor Nursery, a website dedicated to indoor growing, may perform well in tiny gardens or pots.

"They can endure drought and give a lot of flavor to home-cooked dishes." Root vegetables such as carrots and radishes would thrive in a sunny location with good soil," he noted.

There are also educational opportunities across the valley, according to Doyle, and it's a good idea to get in touch with others in the local gardening community so you can learn from their experiences and have some of your concerns addressed.

Doyle's Las Vegas Gardening Club has a Facebook page where you may learn more. She recommends using community gardens for seminars and teaching, such as San Miguel Community Garden. Other horticultural and educational options include the University of Nevada's Cooperative Extension and Springs Preserve.

Take a Quiz on Green Revolution Take a quiz
Share your comments
FactCheck in Agriculture Project

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters