How to Grow a Home Garden in Small Spaces
Learn how to cultivate and harvest homegrown ingredients, just in time to cook all your favorite spring recipes.
If you've always wanted to start your own home garden but never knew exactly how, consider this your sign get growing this season. Below, we chat with Niels Thorlaksson, Senior Horticultural Manager at Lettuce Grow, who shares his top tips and recommendations for small-scale gardening at home.
For folks curious about home gardening, especially in small spaces, what are the top three things they should know?
1. Give your plants plenty of light. For the plants to thrive outside, place them somewhere they can get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. If you are growing inside, make sure that you have some good grow lights to get the plants the light they need.
2. Choose your varieties based on the space you have. When growing in small spaces, I recommend varieties that are more compact like herbs and leafy greens. Large plants like tomatoes and zucchini can get very large and can crowd themselves and other plants out, starving them of sunlight and proper airflow.
3. Don’t be afraid to harvest your plants. You may know the feeling when you have been watching your plants grow and finally they are ready to harvest, but you are hesitant to actually harvest the little guys. Just go for it, even if you are a little late or early, just do it!
What kinds of veggies would you recommend planting for gardening newbies?
For outdoor growing, start out with some leafy greens like Butter Lettuce, Arugula, and Toscano Kale. They can grow in both cool and warm climates. Direct light is best but they can tolerate some shade as well.
For indoors, start with herbs like basil, cilantro, parsley and chives. They are short and compact, great for small spaces.
Are there any growing techniques or practices that work particularly well in small spaces?
When you have limited space for a garden, using a hydroponic system like the Lettuce Grow Farmstand is super useful. It stacks grow levels vertically giving you space for more plants. It also helps with watering since it does it automatically, and it has lights you can attach if you want to grow inside.
"There are so many ways to grow food at home, and you can do it with just a little bit of space. Just keep trying until you find a way that works for you and you will eventually reap the rewards."
How has farming at home changed your relationship to cooking, food and the environment?
I love growing things at home. I have been at it for many years and at this point it feels completely normal. At first when I was new to it I wasn’t sure what to grow and how to do it. But over time, I have tried many different varieties, and figured out the things my family and I like the best and that will get used the most. I tend to grow a lot of herbs and leafy greens since I like to have a nice selection of fresh herbs to choose from for cooking and plenty of leafy greens for salads and smoothies. During the summer I love to grow tomatoes and peppers. Many times I have more than I need so I am able to share the harvest with friends and family.
Any last words of advice for new gardeners?
Have fun and keep trying new things. Don’t give up if you encounter problems and don’t be deterred if you don't have a large space to grow in. There are so many ways to grow food at home, and you can do it with just a little bit of space. Just keep trying until you find a way that works for you and you will eventually reap the rewards.