Do you want to take a step towards sustainability and start growing some of your own food but worry about how you can pull it off with a small backyard?
As the economy continues to struggle more and more people will be growing some of their own food this year. Even if you only have a small space to supplement your food budget you can benefit from growing your own food in your small backyard.
The challenges of small backyard gardening
Small backyard gardening can be a rewarding and enjoyable hobby, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. Here are some of the main challenges that small backyard gardeners may face:
Limited Space – The biggest challenge of small backyard gardening is the limited space available for planting. This means that gardeners need to be creative and strategic with their planting choices and garden design.
Sunlight and Shade – Depending on the orientation of the backyard, there may be areas that get more or less sunlight than others. Gardeners need to be aware of these variations in light and choose plants accordingly.
Soil Quality – The soil in a small backyard may not be ideal for gardening, particularly if the area has been covered with grass or other plants. Gardeners need to assess the soil quality and take steps to improve it, such as adding compost or other organic matter.
Pest and Disease Management – Small backyard gardens are often more susceptible to pests and diseases than larger gardens, due to the close proximity of plants. Gardeners need to be vigilant about monitoring their plants and taking action if pests or diseases are detected.
Watering and Irrigation – Small backyard gardens may not have easy access to water, which can make watering and irrigation challenging. Gardeners need to consider the water needs of their plants and take steps to ensure they are getting enough water, such as installing a drip irrigation system or using self-watering containers.
Plant Selection – Choosing the right plants for a small backyard can be challenging, as gardeners need to balance their desire for a diverse and interesting garden with the limitations of space and sunlight.
The best plants for your small backyard garden
Basil: Basil is an excellent choice for small backyard gardens because it is easy to grow and does not take up much space. It is also a versatile herb that can be used in a variety of dishes, from Italian pasta sauces to Thai curries.
Mint: Mint is another herb that is easy to grow and can be grown in containers. It is a refreshing herb that can be used in teas, cocktails, and a variety of culinary dishes.
Thyme: Thyme is a hardy herb that can be grown in a small backyard garden. It is a great herb for adding flavor to soups, stews, and other savory dishes.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a popular choice for small backyard gardens because they are relatively easy to grow and can be grown in containers or in small garden beds. They are also versatile vegetables that can be used in a variety of dishes, from salads to pasta sauces.
Peppers: Peppers are another great choice for small backyard gardens. They are compact plants that can be grown in containers, and they come in a variety of colors and heat levels.
Cucumbers: Cucumbers are easy to grow and can be trained to grow vertically, making them a good choice for small spaces. They are also versatile vegetables that can be used in salads, sandwiches, and other dishes.
Carrots: Carrots are root vegetables that are well-suited for small backyard gardens because they do not take up much space. They can be grown in containers or in small garden beds, and they are packed with nutrients like beta-carotene.
Blueberries: Blueberries are compact bushes that can be grown in small backyard gardens. They are packed with antioxidants and other nutrients, making them a healthy addition to any diet.
Strawberries: Strawberries are another fruit that can be grown in small spaces. They can be grown in containers or in small garden beds, and they are a sweet and healthy treat.
Dwarf fruit trees: Dwarf fruit trees are a great option for small backyard gardens because they take up less space than traditional fruit trees. They can be grown in containers or in small garden beds, and they provide a variety of fruits like apples, pears, and peaches.
Marigolds: Marigolds are a great choice for small backyard gardens because they are easy to grow and provide bright and colorful blooms. They also help repel pests like aphids and mosquitoes.
Zinnias: Zinnias are another flower that is well-suited for small backyard gardens. They come in a variety of colors and can be grown in containers or in small garden beds.
Cosmos: Cosmos are a hardy flower that can be grown in small backyard gardens. They come in a variety of colors and provide tall and showy blooms that are attractive to pollinators like bees and butterflies.
Tips for a thriving small backyard garden
:: One of the best ways to grow plants in a small backyard is by using containers. Containers come in all shapes and sizes and can be placed on patios, decks, or even hung from walls. This is a great option for those with limited space or for those who want to move their plants around to get the best sunlight.
:: Another way to maximize space in a small backyard is by using vertical gardening techniques. This involves growing plants up trellises, walls, or fences. Vining plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans are great for vertical gardening.
:: Companion planting involves planting different plants together that complement each other. For example, planting marigolds with tomatoes can help repel pests, while planting basil with peppers can improve flavor and deter pests.
:: Soil preparation is key to successful gardening. In a small backyard garden, it’s important to amend the soil with organic matter like compost or manure. This will help improve soil fertility and drainage, which can lead to healthier plants.
:: In a small backyard garden, it’s important to water plants regularly and fertilizes them as needed. Plants grown in containers or raised beds may require more frequent watering than those grown in the ground. Using a drip irrigation system can help conserve water and ensure that plants are getting the right amount of moisture. Fertilizing with a balanced fertilizer can help ensure that plants have the nutrients they need to grow and thrive.