By Catriona Tudor Erler
Q: I've always wanted to grow a kitchen garden, but I don't have a lot of outdoor space. What do you suggest?
A. There are many ways to get more vegetables into less space:
- Grow "stealth" vegetables and herbs by integrating attractive ones into your ornamental beds. Try such herbs as parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, as well as crops like carrots, eggplant and bell pepper.
- Get sprawling vegetables such as squash, pumpkins, cucumbers and tomatoes off the ground by growing them on a vertical support. Peas and pole beans are another option for vertical gardens. You'll save oodles of space and add visual interest.
- Increase your harvest and get more use out of each square inch of the garden with double cropping: using the same space for, say, a cool-season spring crop such as spinach or lettuce and then later a warm-season crop such as tomatoes.
- Interplant compatible vegetables, with two different crops in the same space. For example, grow radishes that mature quickly with broccoli, which takes a long time to come to harvest. The radishes will be long gone by the time the broccoli needs the space.
- Practice relay intercropping where the second crop is planted when the existing crop is near to harvest.
- There are a host of vegetables that do well in containers, including hybrids, such as broccoli "Munchkin," carrot "Babette," "Cosmic," "Kinko," "Little Finger," "Thumbelina" and even pumpkins ("Casper," "Cheyenne Bush" and "Spirit Hybrid").
Expert Catriona Tudor Erler has written nine garden books, including Design Ideas for Home Landscaping, Complete Home Landscaping and Poolscaping: Gardening and Landscaping Around Your Swimming Pool and Spa. You can learn more about gardening on her Web site, CatrionaTudorErler.com.
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