Vegetables don't have to take a lot of space. Plant breeders have given us many compact varieties of vegetables that grow well in small spaces, including flower pots.
Look over your yard and decide where to locate your garden. Take note
of the sun and how it changes position different times of year.
The majority of vegetables grow best in full sun. (6 hours/day) Many vegetables will tolerate partial sun. (2-6 hours/day)
The veggies will grow slower with less sun. And it will be longer until harvest, but it is still achievable.
Prepare your planting area by mixing plenty of organic matter into the soil.
Green beans (snap beans) are an easy vegetable to grow.
Green bean plants come in two forms, bush beans or vining beans. The vining green beans are more productive.
Bush beans are easier to take care of because you don't have to train them on a stake, trellis or tomato cage. Bush beans are good for small spaces and growing in containers.
Green beans like full sun, 6-8 hours per day. They will grow in a variety of soils.
Plant them after the weather warms up and the soil is warm. Beans don't do well in cool, damp conditions.
GREEN BEAN CARE
Once the beans are up, water them with infrequent, deep waterings instead of daily light sprinklings.
When the beans are 4-6" high give them a bit of fertilizer. Fertilize again when the pods start forming.
Fish emulsion is good. If you use a granular vegetable fertilizer, don't allow it to touch the stem of the bean. The granules could burn the plant.
Harvest the beans while they are still young and tender, before the beans start to make bumps on the side of the pod.
Harvest regularly, every 5-7 days. They grow fast. When they get too big, the pods are tough and chewy. If you let the bean pods grow to full maturity, the plant will stop producing.
SELECTING A VARIETY
Radishes are the fastest vegetable. They are ready to harvest in 20-30 days. You can't get any better than that.
You can grow them anywhere. This small vegetable doesn't take much room in the garden. You can even grow them in flower pots.
PLANTING and CARE
Like all vegetables, mix some rotted manure or compost into the soil before planting. Remove the rocks so you don't get misshapen radishes.
Sow the radish seeds 3/4"-1" deep in rows 12" apart. Plant more seed every 2-3 weeks for a continual harvest. When the seedlings are 2" tall thin them to 3" apart.
When you see the top of the bulbs sticking out of the soil, they are ready to harvest. Pull the radishes while they are still young and tender.
Cherry Belle, White Icicle, Sparkler, Black Spanish, White Chinese, China Rose
A lack of water produces hot tasting radishes.
No garden should be without carrots, another easy vegetable. Carrots can be harvested in 60-80 days depending on the variety.
They grow best in the sun. Cultivate your soil deeply and remove any sticks, stones or vegetative matter that would cause the carrots to grow crooked.
Carrots will grow in cool weather, so plant the seeds 2-4 weeks before the last spring frost. Do successive plantings every 2-3 weeks to prolong your harvest. Plant again in the fall 70 days before the first killing frost.
The carrots seeds take about 14-21 days to sprout. So many gardeners mix their carrot seed with radish seeds. Radishes are very quick to germinate. They will mark where the carrots are until they sprout.
Supermarket type carrots require a foot of good soil. If you don't have good deep soil, grow the shorter varieties.
Keep the seeds moist until they germinate. Dry soil may form a crust that the tiny little sprouts won't be able to push through.
After the carrots sprout thin them to 3" apart and later to 6". The thinnings make good buttered carrots. Harvest the radishes as they are ready to make more space for the carrots.
Keep the soil moist. Alternating dry, then wet soil will cause the carrots to split.
Harvest the carrots when they are 1/2"-1 1/2" in diameter. The best tasting carrots are those that have grown quickly.
Carrots are good either raw or cooked. Don't let your garden be without this easy vegetable, the nutritious carrot.
There are different types of lettuce, leaf lettuce, upright lettuces, and head lettuce. Head lettuce and the upright types are a bit finicky to grow.
Lettuce is resistant to cold and it likes cool weather. It is a spring and fall crop. Hot weather makes it go to seed. Leaf lettuce withstands the hot weather better than other types.
Lettuce likes a rich, well-drained soil, so add plenty of organic matter.
It grows the best in the sun, but it will last longer into the summer with part shade.
PLANTING AND CARE
Plant in the spring when the soil can be worked. Plant again in the fall about 8 weeks before the first frost. Sow the seeds 1/4" deep in rows 14" apart. Sprinkle with water and keep it moist.
When the seedlings are 4" high, thin them to 3" apart, and later thin the plants to 6".
Fertilize lightly with a soluble fertilizer.
Harvest the leaves as soon as they get big enough. Cut the outside leaves and leave the center leaves to continue growing. This will extend your harvest.
Later in the season harvest the entire plant at ground level.
Cucumbers are a vining plant. There are pickling cucumbers that produce smaller, thicker fruit.
Slicing cucumbers have larger fruit. The slicers may also be used for pickling, either whole or sliced.
There are bush cucumbers that are great for the small garden or containers.
PLANTING AND CARE
Cucumbers like sun and plenty of organic matter. They need warm weather and a warm, well-drained soil.
Plant the seeds 1" deep, in rows or hills. After the seeds sprout thin them to the strongest plants. Grow vining cucumbers 6' apart. Bush varieties and trellised vining types are planted 3' apart.
Water the plants deeply and regularly. If the cucumbers go too dry, they will develop a bitter taste.
Harvest will begin in 50-70 days. Pick the fruit while they are young and tender. If the fruit is allowed to mature, they stop producing.
Check them regularly because this easy vegetable grows amazingly fast!
Swiss chard is heat, cold and drought resistant. What more could you ask for in an easy vegetable? This healthy vegetable is related to beets.
Chard is not fussy about soil. It grows best in the sun, but will grow in shade.
PLANTING AND CARE
Plant the seeds 1/2"-3/4" deep, when you can work the spring soil. Each seed actually contains 3 or 4 plants. Later thin the plants to 1 foot apart.
Water regularly with deep waterings and occasionally apply a nitrogen fertilizer.
You can harvest in 60 days and continue to harvest all summer. The hot weather does not make Swiss Chard bolt.
Cut the outside leaves for your salads or cooking. Leave the center leaves growing for more production.
Swiss chard is very resistant to cold and frosts. Cover it during in-climate weather and you will have an extra-long harvest season.
Swiss chard is a biennial plant. If it overwinters, the next year you will get some harvest and then it will go to seed. But plant more of this nutritious, easy vegetable.
Summer squash like, zucchini, yellow squash and scalloped squash are harvested before they mature. Summer squash grows on bush-like plants.
Winter squash, like acorn, butternut squash and pumpkins are harvested after maturity. They can be stored for the winter. Winter squash grows on vining plants. But today there are some bush varieties that save space.
PLANTING AND CARE
needs full sun and warm soil. Mix plenty of compost into the soil before planting.
It may be planted anytime during the warm months. Plant 2-3 seeds in rows 2' apart or 4-5 seeds in hills 4' apart.
When the seedlings are 4" tall, thin them to the strongest plants, no more than 2 or 3 plants together.
Give them good deep waterings at the base of the plant, not on the leaves.
They appreciate an occasional application of a balanced fertilizer.
Yellow and zucchini should be harvested at 6" to 8". The scalloped squashes are harvested when they are 3" to 4".
If a squash gets big enough to produce seed, then the plant thinks it doesn't have to do anymore.