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9 of The Best Vegetables to Grow in Small Gardens

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Gardening in small space can be just as rewarding and fun as growing in a large garden area.  These days, urban gardeners are growing more of their own food in sometimes less than 100 square feet.  Balconies, patios, even indoor windowsills are a great place to grow vegetables and herbs.  Almost anything can be grown in a container, and if you're wanting to know what you should plant to maximize your yield in a small area, here are 9 of the best vegetables/herbs to grow in a small garden. 

1. Shallots:

Space shallots approx. 4-6 inches apart with the rows 18 inches apart. Plant the bulb root side down, the top of the bulb 1 inch below the surface. Planting too deep grows elongated bulbs that don’t store well.

2. Carrots:

Sow seeds evenly in a very shallow trench, about 1/4 inch deep. Keep seeds moist so they will germinate. Space rows about 12" apart and when the first leaves emerge, thin to 1" apart; when true leaves emerge, thin to 3" apart.

3. Cherry Tomatoes:

To start tomatoes indoors, sow seeds using expanding seed starting soil pods about 8 weeks before the last frost date for your area. Seedlings will be spindly with less than 12-14 hours of light per day, try to keep them in a warm sunny location. When seedlings have 4 leaves, transfer to a deeper pot (3-4") and again when 8-10 inches tall. Each time, place the uppermost leaves just above the soil line and remove all lower leaves. Transplant (see: guide to transplanting) into the garden when the stem above the soil has reached 8-10 inches tall. Be sure to harden them off before transplanting them outdoors. Allow up to 10 days for the tomato plants to harden off to the outside temperature fluctuations.

4. Runner Beans:

Set three 6 foot poles in the ground, tepee fashion, and tie together at the top. Leave 3 to 4 feet between the pole groups. Make a hill at the base of each pole, enriched with compost or well-rotted manure, and plant 6-8 seeds in each. After the second pair of true leaves appear, thin to 3 plants per pole. With regular harvesting, the pole beans should bear all summer.

5. Garlic:

Break apart cloves from bulb but keep the papery husk on each individual clove.
Ensure soil is well-drained with plenty of organic matter. Plant in Full Sun.
Plant 4 inches apart & 2 inches deep, in their upright position (the wide end down and pointed end facing up). Come springtime, shoots will begin to emerge.

6. Kale:

Plant Kale in rows 18 inches to 2 feet apart. When the seedlings are 3 or more inches high, thin plants to 10 inches apart (read about thinning) and use the thinnings for salads or as a cooked vegetable.

7. Basil:

Try to space your basil plants about 12 inches apart. As long as you harvest the leaves when they are young, basil plants make a wonderful container crop. 

8. Lettuce:

Seed should be sown thinly in rows 1 foot apart; for leaf types, thin plants to 2-3 inches apart, then thin again by pulling every other plant when half grown. This will encourage thickly developed plants. For head, Bibb, and cos types, space rows 18 inches apart, plants 8-10 inches apart. Closer spacing results in smaller heads, which may be preferable for small families. 

9. Beets:

Sow seed 1/2 inch deep in rows 12-18 inches apart. The beet seed is a compact ball of many tiny seeds. Many plants germinate where each seed is sown, so seed should be placed sparingly. When seedlings are 4-6 inches high, thin plants to stand 1 1/2 inches apart. (They can be used in salad or cooked as spinach.) Then, as these beets grow to about an inch in diameter, pull every other one to allow larger beets to grow.

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