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My property is just under 1/4 acre and it is forced to fulfill many purposes. The buildings alone take up a third of the area and the rest has to occupy poultry, children’s toys and still offer space for my flower gardens. That is a lot of work for a small space. However, I can still produce a lot of food for my family and customers. It simply takes some planning and innovation.
If you haven’t read the books Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre and Maximizing Your Mini Farm, then I highly recommend them. The author, Brett Markham, has created the homestead that I dream of on the same amount of land that I have. Not only that, but he’s located in New England so he conquers the short growing seasons with finesse.
Planning for a Small Space
The way to be successful, as mentioned before, is to plan. Spend time researching new and innovative ways to grow your food in smaller spaces. Just today someone sent me a Pinterest link about a neat way to grow pumpkins in a small area. Not only was that a genius idea but while looking at the picture I found myself thinking I could put some shade tolerant herbs under there.
Vertical Gardens Expand a Small Space
Much like my pumpkin dream, vertical gardens are a wonderful option. Vertical gardens grow up instead of out, saving on space. Some benefits of growing vertically include easier pest control, less waste since ripe produce is more visible, and harvesting is super easy on your back. Tomatoes, gourds, melons and vining vegetables are just a few things you can grow vertically.
Utilizing Container Gardens
Container gardens are perfect when you only have a porch or patio, or you are trying to grow foods that aren’t meant for your gardening zone. Container gardens may also be your saving grace if you rent from a landlord who would prefer you not dig holes in the lawn. A bonus to container gardening versus in-ground gardening is that you have a lot more control over the soil conditions.
Embrace the Space You’ve Got
If you have a lot of trees on your property, you can choose shade-tolerant plants for those less than ideal locations. Straw bales are a great way to grow produce if you have poor quality soil or even no soil at all. Yup, straw bale gardens can even be set up in the corner of your driveway or on a concrete slab. I have heard wonderful things about strawberry yields in straw bale gardens.
Additional Reading Resources
Great Tools for Small Space Gardening
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