There’s nothing like the taste of freshly picked vegetables on your plate. Did you know you can grow a surprising amount in a small space? Even if your backyard is tiny, or you just have one little raised bed to work with, you can use that space in many inventive ways to grow your favorite vegetables. Read on for a few ideas on how to get started.

Use a Window Box

A window box is ideal for herbs and some “cut and come again” salad leaves. Make sure you select suitably hardy varieties of leaves that will grow well in a Midwest climate; look for “hardiness Zone 6a” when checking the labels. Combine parsley with a few chives, and you’ll have a box full of delicious flavors to add to your meals. In winter the box can be placed on a window ledge indoors to escape the colder weather.

Window Box Garden

Go Vertical

Vertical planting is a practical way of using space you never thought you had. You can attach a trellis frame to a wall and plant vegetables in containers below. Alternatively, add some planters to the frame to create that vertical display, but ensure the masonry is secure beforehand — plants are heavier than you think, especially when they get waterlogged. Plants such as beans, tomatoes (in summer) and even squashes can all be grown vertically. Don’t forget to add some edible flowers such as nasturtium, which make a colorful display and are great in salads.

Fill a Hanging Basket

Hanging Basket with Tomatoes

Hanging baskets are not just for flowers: you can grow herbs, tomatoes, peppers and even green beans. Look for the baskets that come in tiers, since you’ll get even more space for planting. Strawberries are also perfect plants for a hanging basket in summer.


Use the Unusual

One of the great things about vegetable planting is that you can do it in a variety of containers. Potatoes, for example, can be grown in a pile of old car tires stacked on top of each other. Seriously … it’s a trend on Pinterest (we were shocked too). Baby varieties of vegetables like leeks and corn can be grown in large pots or old containers. You can also fill in small spaces with “cut and come again” salads, radishes and other varieties so you have a constant supply of fresh food.

If you’re interested in starting a garden, don’t be discouraged by a small space or think that it takes too much effort to prepare a designated area. Plenty of little gardens thrive in containers. Check out Pinterest for inspiring ideas, and when your veggies start to grow, snap a pic – we’d love to see how they turn out!