Plants that Thrive in Small Spaces and Containers

Growing a garden is a great way to provide you and your family with healthy, nutritious, and fresh produce, however, for those who have limited growing space, knowing what to grow can be more difficult. Whether you have limited growing space due to smaller living spaces, lack of sunlight, or simply do not want to take on a whole garden, there are plenty of viable crop options for your small space or container garden. Plenty of plants can be grown in small spaces, but there are certain plants that will provide you with more edible material in a shorter amount of time to thereby increase your crop production. 

Important things to remember when planting in small spaces or containers:

-Know the growth habits of the plants you want to grow. Crops like lettuce, radish, turnips, and greens tend to keep a uniform and compact growing habit, but plants like squash, cucumber, and melon will sprawl and take over much more space.

-Pay attention to the depth of your garden space. If you are planting in containers or pots, remember that crops like carrots, turnips, and other root vegetables grow downwards and will need a deeper container.

-Don’t overcrowd plants just because space is limited. In order to ensure the healthiest and fullest crops, follow the planting spacing on the seed packet, plants that are too close together are more prone to disease, can be stunted, and can be shaded out by one another. 

There are a variety of plants that do really well in small growing containers. For pots and small containers try: lettuce, herbs, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and squash. Growing crops like squash, cucumbers, and beans in a pot will help control their growth habit. For cucumber and beans, use a trellis or stakes to guide the plant upwards, this will give the plant a more aesthetic growth habit and help keep your produce from trailing the ground. Lettuce is a great choice for container gardens, it is a fast crop allowing you to get multiple harvests in a growing season and it is easy to care for.  Herbs like sage, rosemary, parsley, mint, cilantro, thyme, oregano, and basil also do great in pots. For sage and rosemary use a well draining soil and a container with ample draining, as these herbs dislike too much consistent moisture in the soil. Peppers and tomatoes are also great options for container planting. For these crops, make sure you choose a bigger pot that has ample depth as they have larger root systems than other container crops. Also make sure that you stake or trellis your peppers and tomatoes to prevent them from leaning over and possibly snapping. Eggplant and squash are also good container options; just remember that these crops get bushy over time and will need space to extend into. 

If you have a garden space or a container garden but want to get the most out of the growing season (meaning the most produce volume possible), try growing crops with shorter seasons. Radishes, lettuce, spinach, peas, arugula, bok choy, swiss chard, and beans are some of the fastest sow to harvest vegetables that you can grow. 

A great way to also save space, is to grow vertically. Peas, beans, and cucumbers can all be grown on a trellis, meaning that you can grow these vertically while still having plenty of space in your garden to grow other crops; just remember to plant them along a wall or side of your garden that won’t block sunlight for other crops. 

There are plenty of ways to grow beautiful gardens in small spaces or containers, you just have to be creative and experiment with different crops to see what works best in your space. Other crops to consider in your small spaces: edible flowers like calendula and pansy, strawberries, nasturtium, microgreens, hibiscus, dandelion greens, chamomile, Hon Sai Thai, and lavender. 

Whether you are growing on an apartment patio, raised bed, small pots, or indoors on a windowsill, there are plenty of delicious and nutritious plant options to add to your living space.