How to make the most of gardening in a small space
With clever hacks and thrifty tips, you can make the most out of any garden space, whether you have a courtyard patio, new build garden, balcony, or even just a window box. Limited space doesn’t need to hold you back from enjoying the benefits of gardening at home.
David Domoney, TV gardener, broadcaster and SANE Champion, is passionate in demonstrating how gardening and spending time with nature can improve mental health. Here he gives some tips on how small spaces – both indoor or outdoor – can be used to create your own little garden.
Grow your own
Containers and growbags are a great way of gardening in a small space. Growbags are well-suited to grow crops like tomatoes, peppers, chillies, strawberries, courgettes, and cucumbers. Generally, these planters usually have dotted lines to guide you where to plant. Cut out the holes and remove some of the compost and plant in the plants before firming into place, watering in well and feeding with a liquid plant food weekly.
Another easy growing crop for containers and growbags is lettuce. The seeds can be sown from March until September with harvests almost all year round. It’s worth knowing that sowing lettuce seeds when soil temperatures are high can decrease germination. Therefore, a top tip is to sow the seeds in the evening, use cold water to add moisture, and ensure they’re positioned in a partially shaded spot.
When gardening in a small space you want to choose plants that you will benefit from the most. Whether you want to benefit from the visual beauty of the flowers or if it’s to get the routine of care and maintenance into your lifestyle. Start your gardening journey by choosing plants that are easy growers that will require some care but don’t demand lots.
The first low maintenance but stunning plant is lavender. It’s an easy to grow shrub that flowers in spring and summer with evergreen foliage that provides colour and structure all year round. A spot in full sun with well-drained soil is best, and they grow well in containers. Benefiting from a prune every year, this will keep them growing compact rather than leggy and straggly. Not only is it easy to grow, but it has a wonderful fragrance that is used in aromatherapy as it has been linked to reducing anxiety and as a natural sleep remedy. There are some great ways to add lavender to jams and jellies as well as adding a sprig to the bath to produce a stunning scent.
Another popular pick is Nepeta cataria (catmint) which is also fragrant and has purple flowers that pollinators enjoy. Plant up catmint in the ground or a container in a sunny position with well-drained soil so you can sit back and watch fluttering butterflies and enjoy the sound of buzzing bees pay it a visit.
Happiness from houseplants
Even without outdoor space, bring the greenery indoors by caring for houseplants. Indoor gardening has had a resurgence for good reason, they allow us to learn new skills by nurturing plants depending on their individual needs. Then, watching them flourish and flower or grow new foliage fills us with a feeling of achievement and accomplishment.
Start off with some hardy houseplants that don’t demand too much. Sansevieria trifasciata (mother-in-law’s tongue) can survive for weeks without being watered. In fact, it thrives when the soil is left to dry out before watering again, so don’t kill it with kindness by overwatering. It’s the perfect plant to brighten up a shady spot indoors, although they grow best in a spot with bright but indirect light.
A perfect plant for a shelf or indoor hanging basket is Philodendron cordatum (heart-leaf philodendron) which is an easy-going houseplant that needs low to medium light. Water when the soil feels dry, and it will grow by trailing and cascading out of the pot across the shelf or over the edge of the hanging basket.
With limited garden space, or no outdoor space at all, there are plenty of ways to get growing. Growing your own fruit is still possible in a small garden or in a window box or hanging basket. Choose wisely by picking plants that you’ll be able to care for to make the most of the space.
Visit David’s website for more information and tips at www.daviddomoney.com
Also written by David for SANE: 5 Ways to feel good in the garden