10 Inspiring Gardens for Growing Food in Small Spaces

published Jun 5, 2017
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(Image credit: Shannon Douglas)

Are you starting a garden this spring? For the last several years, the only gardens we’ve been planting have been in containers. But growing food in containers shouldn’t be a drawback; urban gardening in pots, containers, and windowboxes can yield quite a lot of food. Take a look at this gallery of ten different containers and good ideas for gardening in small spaces.

• 1 NYC Garden from Flickr member Tashian. Is there a more perfect shot of a city garden happily thriving in the sun while the world rushes by underneath?
• 2 How to grow veggies in pots at Sunset. A great introduction to growing vegetables in pots. Also see their article on the best crops for pots.
• 3 Cauliflower! by Flickr member LollyKnit. Container gardening doesn’t just mean tiny peppers and cherry tomatoes. How about a whole cauliflower?
• 4 An urban garden box by Flickr member Yozza. What a great container garden design! There is a deep box for larger vegetables to dig their roots deep, then smaller boxes for greens, and a top box with a trellis for climbing beans and tomatoes.
• 5 Easy-grow micro greens at Sunset. Another good guide to growing easy baby greens, which are often ready to eat in as little as ten days.

• 6 Baby kale inside by Flickr member briannaorg. This is an impressive little experiment. Brianna threw a few kale seeds into a bare 1″ of dirt and less than a month later had enough baby kale for a salad. And this was indoors…in February! Never underestimate kale. You can see more about her indoor gardening projects at her blog.
• 7 Beautifying a concrete corner from Flickr member treefell. Look what a few flowers and herbs can do to an otherwise drab urban concrete alley.
• 8 Self-watering containers by Flickr member Sugar Pond. Step-by-step instructions on making a self-watering container out of a few inexpensive objects. Watering creates a lot of extra work with containers, since they can’t draw up water from the earth, and they often have to be protected from rain that could flood them. Self-watering containers help them get water more naturally and with less work.
• 9 Scarlet runner beans growing UP by Flickr member Strata Chalup. When you have a small space, go up instead, and you’ll be amazed at how much you can grow. If you have a sunny patio or deck, put up a trellis against one wall, or create an inexpensive version with nylon cord strung taut between screws or hooks in the floor and pergola.
• 10 Romaines on a deck by Flickr member liza31337. Leaf lettuces grow very quickly and in little space. If you succession plant, sowing seeds every week in a few different planters, you’ll create a supply of greens that will be ready in a steady stream all summer. Greens like these are also good for sheltered decks or patios that don’t get much sun, since lettuce doesn’t like a lot of heat and will grow better during the summer in cool shade.

Do you have any plans for a container garden this summer?

Related: Kitchen Gallery: Living Plants in the Kitchen

Originally published April 29, 2008.