The top 5 tips for living in small spaces are quite easy to follow and with a few handy products we can apply this to the garden, the allotment or the balcony too.
1. Get Rid of Stuff
Start by having a good declutter and creating a blank canvas. The decaying plastic pots that sit mouldering in the corner enjoyed by no one but snails. The old garden chair that the last plot owner forgot or the wood that you were going to make into... what were you going to make that wood into?
A good afternoon of clearing and you will be able to see the trees for the wood. You will reveal space to grow.
2. Double Up With Bunk Beds
On the surface this one doesn't translate easily from the house but there are many reasons why rising above the garden will work. Firstly it is quick and you can get results in a weekend or less. Secondly, if your soil is poor this can be solved in a flash. You could dig it, add organic matter. You could even throw chemicals at it to get it to a healthy growing place. Or you could get our screwdriver out, put in 16 screws and have a Raised Bed ready to fill with soil before the kettle has boiled for your well deserved cuppa. A fully functioning strawberry patch / salad bed by nightfall.
3. Find yourself Small Furniture
Getting a bench so you can enjoy your garden should be simple. Second hand shops are a place for bargains or garden centres stock a wide range to suit all sizes. But what about your growing space? There are many corners of the garden or plot where the careless previous owners didn't think to add a bed. Spaces wasted in terms of growing. Pots and planters are the way to solve this problem and use every inch. Transform a corner of the garden or balcony with a Pea & Bean Planter. This provides the space to grow up to 6 plants in just 2ft x 1ft. Or stylish Oxford Planters could have you growing potatoes, courgettes, tomatoes or herbs & salads in a disused corner and can be folded up and packed away once the season is over.
If you want to really use your space well and make life easy for yourself then the Vigoroot Easy Table Garden is a raised bed, a mini greenhouse and an irrigation system all in one! The Vigoroot™ fabric ‘air-prunes’ the roots of plants, dramatically changing their formation and increasing their ability to sustain the plant in a limited volume of compost. In real terms this means it punches above its weight in terms of yield compared to growing in the ground.
4. Expand Your Space With a Large Mirror. ...
Seems like the space is never big enough? Accessorising it with a mirror will add the illusion of more space. It works for gardens or balconies and will also reflect light into shady corners of the area. Small round mirrors surrounded by foliage will give a window into another world effect Trick your visitors into thinking there is a whole secret garden beyond. Be careful what you reflect and try and position it so that it reflects foliage rather than your wheelie bins!
Image courtesy of keen gardener Tracy Chapman
5. Maximize Vertical Space.
Your plot space is your plot space and not much you can do to increase the footprint. So if you can't go out then you have to go up. Architectural and design prizes are all going to dramatic living walls. These might be ambitious for the home gardener but wall space can still be growing space with products such as the Herb Wall planter. So if you like your pesto fresh or a muddle of mint in your mojito then space should not be an excuse.
Up, up and away - herbs are go!
If herbs aren't enough for you, you could also try the Self Watering Tower Garden. Like the Easy Table Garden this is a raised bed, a mini greenhouse and an irrigation system all in one. I have this at home (see my Blog for the full story) and have 4 bush tomatoes, 4 strawberries plus mint, coriander, chives and thyme in a little space under my scaffolding. All I have to do is check the water level once a week and give the odd once over to check for any snails that have set up home under the pots (2 snails and 1 mini slug found and removed to date). Other than that it seems to be looking after itself and the plants are thriving. If you are both short of space and time poor then this one is for you!
- Before the plants went in
So small is beautiful and can be bountiful too and I hope this has inspired you to have a try. Happy growing!