Beetroot and carrots at market

The Best Vegetables to Grow in Small Spaces


Lack of space is no reason not to try to grow your own vegetables at home. While some vegetables require more space, such as zucchinis, several vegetables that grow in small areas. Many plants, even large ones, can be trained to grow up trellis and fence to decrease the space required. Everyone can grow vegetables no matter the space available.

Growing in small spaces requires a few forethoughts before you make a selection. Think about:

  • Growing vertically. Plants that grow upwards can save you tons of space because you can plant around your existing fence.

  • Using pots and containers. You can grow almost anything in pots and containers, but you want to think about the size of the container needed. If you only have a small balcony, you’ll want to have shelving to increase the number of pots you can grow.

  • The sunlight available. If you don’t get a lot of direct sunlight, you’ll want to pick vegetables that can tolerate some shade. All vegetables require some sort of sunlight throughout the day, but veggies such as lettuce can handle more shade than a hot pepper plant.

The Best Vegetables to Grow in Small Spaces

1. Lettuce

Lettuce grows fast. You can get a harvest in fewer than 50 days, and it grows well in a container. You can get a long window box planter and hang it on your balcony railing. Use that space to produce a continuous row of lettuce. If you attached a few of these boxes, you could always have fresh lettuce available.

2. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are perhaps the most desired vegetable plant in any garden because of its versatility. You can put tomatoes in salads, slice them for sandwiches and burgers, or puree into a sauce. Many people assume that tomatoes are too large to grow in small spaces, and some varieties are, in fact, too wide.

Cherry tomato plants can grow in hanging baskets or grow upside down in containers. Yes, tomatoes can really grow upside down. If you want larger tomatoes, pick a determinate tomato. A determinate tomato variety is more compact, and they yield all at one time rather than in a large period. That makes harvesting a bit challenging.

3. Pole Beans

Pole beans are the growing vertical cousin of the bush green bean. The plants grow basically the same thing, but pole beans grow upwards rather than in a bush. Simple.

Pole beans produce green beans all summer long rather than at one time like bush beans. That’s why so many people prefer pole beans because dealing with a massive harvest at one time can be challenging.

All you need is some sort of support system. That can be a wooden trellis attached to a growing box. That could also be a few stakes with twine wrapped around, giving the tendrils other surfaces to grip as they grow upwards.

4. Carrots

Carrots are another great candidate for a small space garden. You just need to have a deep pot filled with fluffy, well-draining soil. The soil shouldn’t contain rocks or huge lumps because it’ll cause the carrots to have stunted growth. You’ll end up with weirdly-shaped or small carrots.

5. Beets

Another root crop that grows well in small spaces is beets. The seeds should be sown ½ inch deep, and space them sparingly. Beet seed is basically a compact ball of many tiny seeds together, so they’ll sow several when you put the seed inside the soil. You’ll need to thin the seedlings out. If you want to grow beets in a container, make sure you have light, well-draining soil that’s free of clumps and rocks.

6. Peas

Peas grow just like pole beans – up against a support system. You can pick garden peas or snap peas, whichever you prefer. You’ll need to develop some sort of support system for these as well, but that can be a makeshift fence out of twine and stakes or an actual fence. That’s up to you. The most important thing is that they do have a way to grow upwards.

7. Garlic

Garlic grows in pots well, but it is a bit of a challenge because cloves of garlic require a long growing season. Garlic needs regular watering, but it’s worth the work. If you grow hardneck garlic, you also can eat the scapes, which are considered a delicacy in many cultures and are catching on in the United States.

8. Radishes

Radishes are so underrated. They’re so often picked out of salads, but that’s best the flavor of a store-bought radish is nothing compared to the flavor of a fresh radish out of your garden.

Radishes can be harvested in as little as 30 days, so look for the fast-growing varieties for your small space garden. They’re a great pick for children’s gardens because they grow so fast and keep the children’s attention span on gardening. All you need is a pot that’s 8-inches deep or more. Plant the radishes and watch them grow. It doesn’t get easier than that.

9. Ground Cherries

Ok, so these aren’t a vegetable, but ground cherries are in the tomato family. Believe it or not, you can grow some fruits in your small garden. Ground cherries only grow 2-3 feet tall, on average, and produce several handfuls of fruits.

Some varieties produce a harvest in 65 to 70 days, and they’ll continue to provide fruits for the growing season. Make sure you use a container that’s at least 8-inches deep and add compost into the soil. Ground cherries, like tomatoes, require well-draining soil, and they prefer more sunlight than shade so remember that when picking where to grow the plants.

10. Peppers

Many pepper plants are compact, especially compared to tomato plants. Pepper plants grow upwards rather than out, so they aren’t a bushy plant. They’re a great candidate for a smaller garden space, and you can find smaller pepper varieties that are perfect for containers.

11. Herbs

Herbs are so easy to grow and compact. You can get small pots and fill them with your favorite herbs. Many people grow herbs indoors on window sills and shelves near windows. Think about the meals you typically make or scents you love the most.

A few choices include:

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Lavender
  • Chamomile
  • Parsley

Picking Vegetables for Your Small Space Garden

Anyone can be a gardener, and anyone can grow their own vegetables. Being self-sufficient doesn’t need a specific amount of space. You just need a determination to grow your own vegetables and the creativity to try something new.

You may also like