Small Garden Design Tips

Creating and enjoying a garden even in the smallest of spaces

Archive for the ‘vegetable container gardening’ Category

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Vertical Gardening Book Review

“>Read recent review in Los Angeles Times with authors Susan Morrison & Rebecca Sweet of Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces.

Vertical Small Garden Design

The authors discuss vertical gardening craze and their new book.  The article also provides pictures of vertical garden ideas for small garden design!





Small Garden Design using containers from around the house…

“>Using household items as planting containers is a great “green” way of recycling items.  Use your creativity to turn shoes, boots, bowls, old pails, and other household items into containers for herbs, flowers, vegetables, and other plants in your small garden design.

Check out this short video that shows how you can use household items for small garden design and spruce up your container gardening.

What household items have you used for unique garden containers?  Share your ideas by commenting!

Vegetable Small Garden Design – The Heirloom Tomatoes

Vegetable Garden Design - Black Krim Heirloom Tomato

Black Krim Tomato

At my local university Ag Field day recently, I looked to purchase a local breed of tomato seedling for my vegetable garden design.  Unfortunately, the variety I wanted was already sold out by the time I arrived.   One of the vegetable specialists convinced me into purchasing a Black Krim seedling.

I didn’t notice, until after I purchased the seedling, that the Black Krim is an heirloom variety.  Not knowing much about heirloom tomatoes, I decided to do some research.  Here’s what I found out…

My first question…what is an heirloom tomato?  Heirloom varieties are defined as being open-pollinated cultivars.  The draw to heirloom varieties is that they have lots of flavor, look beautiful, and are easy to grow.  Heirloom seeds have been passed down through several generations.  Heirloom varieties are genetically unique, and have evolved resistance to pests and disease, while adapting to specific growing conditions and climates.  They come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, flavors, and sizes.

Heirloom tomatoes can be described in different ways –

Commercial heirlooms – open-pollinated varieties introduced before 1940 or are more than 50 years old

Family heirlooms- varieties whose seeds have been saved and passed down from generation to generation

Mystery heirlooms – these arise accidently from natural cross-pollination or mutation

Heirloom tomatoes are not commercially available.  They are not shippable over long distances, do not ripen perfectly and do not have a uniform shape.  These imperfections are what make them appealing to gardeners.

What is open-pollination?  This is when a cultivar or plant can be grown from seeds and will come back “true to type”, meaning the next generation comes back looking identical to its parent.

How do heirlooms compare to F-1 hybrid breeds of tomatoes?  These are the ones we consider “supermarket tomatoes”.  Seeds collected from F-1 hybrid tomatoes typically don’t germinate when planed the next season and may be sterile.  If they do sprout, they will not have the same characteristics as their parents.

The attractiveness of hybrids for commercial growers is their ability to produce more transportable fruit, with minimal spoilage.  They also have a more consistent color and shelf appeal.  While hybrids have outstanding characteristics, the ability to reproduce is not one of them.

There are many varieties of heirloom tomatoes.  Here are some popular varieties:

Vegetable Garden Design - Big Rainbow Heirloom Tomato


Big Rainbow – large yellow tomatoes with red swirls and mild, sweet flavor



Vegetable Garden Design - Black Krim Heirloom Tomato


Black Krim – dark red to brown, can be grown in containers with rich flavor and considered to hail from the Isle of Krim on the Black Sea



Vegetable Garden Design - Brandywine Heirloom Tomato


Brandywine – one of the most popular heirlooms with large pink fruit and a slightly tart taste



Vegetable Garden Design - Green Zebra Heirloom Tomato



Green Zebra – light-green stripes against an amber background, with a tarter flavor


Vegetable Garden Design - Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomato



Cherokee Purple – deep, dusky pink purple, beefsteak in style with a dense, juicy texture

Vegetable Garden Design – Vegetable Container Gardening

Posted by admin on Sep 2, 2010 under vegetable container gardening, vegetable garden design

Vegetable Garden DesignGrowing your own vegetables isn’t just for those with lots of space or a big backyard.  Do you only have a small area to work with, say a deck, patio, or rooftop?  Then consider a small vegetable garden design planted in containers.  You will harvest plenty and they are easier to maintain than larger gardens…an added benefit of vegetable container gardening.

When just starting out, many new gardeners will plant multiple plants of the same type.  Has anyone ever tried to give you some of their homegrown produce?  Ever see vegetables sitting in the coffee room or cafeteria where you work with a sign saying “Take Me”?  This is because the gardener has grown too much for his or her personal use.

If you only have limited space to work with, the best plants to select for your vegetable garden design are those that will give high yields.  You will get plenty of harvest from a single plant, allowing you to plant fewer plants, but a greater variety.  Some high yielding plants include cherry or grape tomatoes, zucchini, Japanese eggplant, beans, and peppers.  One to two plants will probably produce all you need.

With limited space, try growing vegetables vertically.  Vegetable container gardening using trellises is another space saving design option.  Choose vegetables like cucumbers, beans, and some types of squash for a vertical vegetable garden design.

Get the most from your space with vegetable container gardening by planting a few vegetables together in the same pot.  If you like making salsa, for example, plant a tomato plant together with a jalapeno pepper plant and some cilantro.  Be creative in combining your plants.  Even consider combining some vegetable plants with some flowers for a mixed small garden design.

When you create your vegetable garden design, make sure to use containers that are large enough for the plants you’ve selected.  Most vegetables require at least six hours of sun.  Make sure your planting containers are not only large enough, but have good drainage.  You will need to water frequently, especially as your vegetable plants mature.  Your containers can dry out quickly on a very hot, sunny day.

Do you only have partial shade to work with for your vegetable garden design?  First, consider an area with partial shade should still get about three to six hours of sun during the day.  Vegetables that grow well in partial shade are typically of the leafy green variety – lettuce, spinach, arugula, kale, and mustard greens.  Other plants that may do well in partial shade include broccoli, certain beans, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.  As with all gardening, you will need to experiment to find out what works best in your vegetable garden design.

Harvest your vegetables regularly.  Not only will you enjoy the “fruits of your labor”, you will encourage your vegetable garden design to continue to produce more vegetables throughout the growing season!

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