No Yard? No Problem! How to Set Up a Mini Garden in a Small Space

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Suppose you want to garden but all you have is a balcony, back deck, or a space that’s completely devoid of dirt. Or, maybe your evil landlord isn’t so keen on you digging up their beloved patch of lawn. Or, you’re just not sure how to turn two inches of soil into healthy crops. In any of those scenarios, the solution is clear. You can plant a mini garden that will keep you in fresh herbs, greens and other tasty crops using inexpensive containers. It is so easy even an amateur can do it! Read on if you want to learn how to create your own mini garden with minimal effort and expense!

mini garden assortment
An assortment of plants.

Mini Garden – Basic Supplies

Small Herb and Vegetable Plants
You want to look for things that don’t take up too much space. After all, it’s a mini garden not a full scale one! Most culinary herbs and leafy greens are good choices here. Other culinary plants that don’t take up too much space may include things like radishes, sugar snap peas, and strawberries. Blueberries, ginger, and citrus trees can also be added to the mix if you’ve got a little more space and some larger containers.

Potting Soil
When it comes to vegetables and herbs, it’s a good idea to buy midrange potting soil if you can’t afford the high-quality stuff. Don’t bother with the cheaper options. You’ll spend far more trying to correct the problems that you could have solved by spending $3 more per bag.

The most common options are plastic and terracotta. The main thing to remember is that the former is good for moisture loving plants. The latter is better for species that need good drainage. Plant containers don’t have to be expensive either. You can occasionally find some good deals at thrift shops and yard sales. Or you can even make your own from recyclables that you already have on hand.

Extra Items You Might Need for Your Mini Garden

mini gardens need saucers
Saucers are not optional when gardening in small spaces.

Watering Can
This can be anything from a genuine watering can to a plastic pitcher, a leftover milk jug or even a large drinking cup. Just use whatever you’ve got on hand to make sure that your mini garden stays appropriately hydrated.

Plant Saucers
These are truly essential items if you want to avoid water stains and arguments with your roommates, landlord and/or significant other.

Even if you’ve bought potting soil with fertilizer already added-in, you’re still going to need this stuff in a couple of months. That’s because once the plants use up all their available nutrients, they are going to want more. So you better be prepared to give it to them.

Mulch/Top dressing
Not necessary for success but can be useful if you want to make your mini garden look stylish.

Look for a variety that does double duty by killing harmful bugs and treating minor diseases. There are plenty of organic options. These are usually a better choice if you’ve got pets or the plants are going to be living indoors with you. However, keep in mind that just because chemicals are organic doesn’t mean they won’t hurt you. Follow the directions on the label to avoid any problems.

Mini Garden Step by Step

a blank slate for a small space garden
Got an empty space? Perfect!

1. Decide where you are going to put your mini garden. Figure out what will grow best there based on temperatures / light availability, and purchase your plants accordingly. Keep in mind that most vegetables and herbs like the sun but leafy greens and mints will grow just fine in shadier conditions.

2. Purchase the appropriate supplies mentioned above.

3. Once you’ve gotten all the stuff you are going to need for your mini garden, you’ll probably want to set up an assembly line to put the plants in appropriate containers. Be sure to place saucers under the bottom of each pot.

4. Water the plants until liquid comes out the bottom of the containers. Add extra dirt to stabilize the plants if they keep flopping over.

5. Toss in some fertilizer, taking care to follow the directions on the package, and top dress the mini garden with mulch if you like.

6. Water the plants on a regular basis if it doesn’t rain or if they are somewhere that rain does not reach. Where I live that’s about twice weekly in the winter and daily in the summer if the plants are outdoors. Check them over for ailments while you’re doing that.

7. Treat problems as they arise. Not all bugs are harmful so look them up first to be sure before you spray. Cover plants with nets or cloches as needed to protect them from birds, rabbits, deer and other garden menaces. (I’m a big advocate of eating said deer and rabbits.) Pick off damaged leaves as needed.

8. Clip off bits and pieces of your herbs as your cooking requires it. Cut leafy greens once they reach their desired size. Replant as them as needed. Harvest the fruits of your mini garden labors when they ripen.

small space garden
If you’ve got extra space, why not try larger containers like this one?

That’s all there is to it – you’re on your way to your own mini garden in your small space! Good luck and happy gardening!

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About Lauren

Lauren Purcell is a freelance writer from Savannah, Georgia. She is the proud owner of two spoiled little dogs. Her hobbies include gardening (in case you hadn't noticed), cooking, traveling when she has money, and waiting on her key lime tree to produce fruit.

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