Creative Small Space Gardening Ideas

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

With limited property access, I’ve had to incorporate creative small space gardening options.

My name is Katrina, a graduate horticular student passionate about gardening.

My kids are at the ages now where I can spend more time working outside, getting dirty with nature, gardens, and landscaping.

Unfortunately, my property is not quite ready for my garden, so most of my gardening will have to be around containers, pots, and hanging baskets.

Today, I want to share with you some remarkable secrets I’ve learned in my profession about small space gardening.

small garden ideas
Small garden space ideas

Vegetable Garden Ideas For Small Spaces

While thinking about what fruits, veggies, and herbs I will grow, I must also consider where I will grow them.

Over the years, I have seen many innovative and creative ways to grow a flourishing garden without digging a hole in the ground.

These ideas got me thinking about how they could be used for small space gardening.

I lost count a long time ago how many times I’ve heard, ‘I don’t have the space for a garden,’’ or ‘I live in an apartment, I can’t grow a garden.’’

This is not true except for individuals with balconies without sunlight.

Adopting vertical and hanging plants such as tomatoes and strawberries can turn that small space into a beautiful, abundant vegetable garden!

Below are ways to incorporate small space gardening into your lifestyle without digging into the ground.

Shoe Organizer Small Space Gardening

Shoe Organizer
Shoe Organizer Small Space Gardening

Picture via

One of my favourite trends that I have seen is using a shoe organizer to grow vegetables and herbs. 

The simplicity of this idea is brilliant; it allows you to grow multiple varieties of plants, and you can hang it on a wall, a fence, or even a balcony.

I have seen cloth hanging shoe organizers online in the $10.00 to $20.00 range; you could even find one at Goodwill if you are lucky.

This vertical method is best used for growing herbs and plants such as lettuce and kale that can be confined to a smaller growing area.

Use this idea on a balcony, and place a container underneath to catch the drips when watering. Your neighbours below would appreciate that.

I am excited to do this; I already have the organizer and a suitable wall in my garden shed.

Having this on the wall will keep it out of the way, leaving more room for my other ideas while cleaning my property during the summer.

Small Space Gardening In Fixed Pots

fixed pots gardening

Small Space Gardening In Fixed Pots

If you have a small backyard with a fence or garden shed, you can attach some pots/containers directly to the fence, wall or shed.

Using single containers, you can use different pot sizes and allow more spacing between plants, which means more plant options.

Some bigger pots on the ground along the fence line could be planted with carrots, kohlrabi, tomatoes, peppers, etc.

I am giving my wall space to the organizer. However I have a small area of patios stones in the backyard that will one day be made into a nice sitting area.

In the meantime, it will serve as an area for multiple container plants such as pot potatoes.

Turn Hanging Baskets Into Planters

Topsy Turvey Tomato Planter 2

Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter

Most people typically think of flowers when they think of a hanging basket.

Still, multiple plants can be grown this way, including tomatoes, peppers, beans, strawberries, zucchini, and cucumbers.

I picked up a few of the ‘As seen on TV Topsy Turvy’  from the dollar store for $2.00 each.

I will try using the Topsy Turvy with tomatoes and zucchini this summer.

You can purchase a hanging basket stand at your local garden centre, which allows you to hang multiple pots if you have no place.

I have a long porch, and it will be lined with strawberry hanging baskets this year; I’m looking forward to those.

Wall Bags For Small Garden Spaces

Garden Wall Bags

Wall Bags For Small Space Gardening

I want to shake hands with the person who initially thought of these.

Wall bags are a great way to turn a small space into a vegetable haven.

Among many plants, tomatoes, peppers ,and strawberries can be grown in them.

I’ve found a website for DIY Walls Bags which shows a quick, affordable, bbudget-friendly way to make your own.

When filling wall bags with potting soil, they must be packed full.

The soil must settle firmly with no gaps to ensure full root coverage when watered through.

Container Gardening Tips

  • Make sure any container you use has a drainage hole, and avoid recycled plastic containers (ex., margarine containers) in the sun, as the plastic will deteriorate,
  • Choose a good quality potting mix; avoid the dollar store bags.
  • Never use garden soil or ‘dirt.’ It will not drain properly and makes the containers extremely heavy.
  • Fertilize often; plants need food!
  • Watering will be required more often than in a traditional garden; it’s better to give a plant more water once then a little water here and there. Most, but not all, plants like to dry out slightly (not bone dry) between waterings; you need to avoid over and underwatering but constantly watering thoroughly!

Small Space Gardening And The Environment

Climate will always be a factor in which plants you can grow, but do not feel restricted due to space and remember that realistically not all garden plants can be grown in small spaces.

Using trial and error is important; over time, you will know precisely what you can and can’t grow.

Be creative, use that small space efficiently, and enjoy watching your garden grow.

Please keep your eyes here at Canadian Budget Binder this summer, as I look forward to sharing the results of my garden with all of you!

Editors Note: Thanks, Katrina, for a very informative post about organic gardening in small spaces which a few CBB fans have asked me about.

Post Contribution By: Katrina is a horticulture graduate with over 10 years experience with landscaping and greenhouse production.

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  1. I have lived in an apartment on the third floor. My balcony had boxes with tomatoes,peppers,herbs & lettuce. You can take the girl out of the country ,but you cant take the country out of the girl. I m a true believer if you have even two feet of space the sun reaches YOU can have a small garden. It’s in my blood. LOL

  2. Great article and great ideas! I tried planting zucchini in a topsy turvy but these plants require lots of room to grow roots. I will try mine in an old garbage can along with potatoes in old blue boxes. I can’t wait to start my garden after reading this. 🙂

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience with the zucchini! How do you keep your potting soil costs down when filling garbage cans full?

  3. What great ideas. I just have a small garden and was wondering on ways I could grow more, I may just have to use some of these. I am really going to enjoy following this series as well as your gardening blog posts Mr. CBB. Thanks so much Katrina for the information.

  4. Love that shoe organizer idea. We’re thinking of planting some plants in pots (or maybe a shoe organizer) on our roof this summer.

  5. Those are some great ideas! I’m sending this article to my wife, she can probably use some of them in our small greenhouse during the winter. Thanks!

  6. Mr CBB it’s like you’ve read my mind. I bought some little pots this week and the game plan is to do something like this: in our front yard. But we’ll use low water flowers and ferns like orchids, bromeliads, and tiny ferns and have more coverage. It’s going to be mostly decorative, but if it works, I’ll definitely start converting some of the herbs in the back to a similar strategy.

  7. Terrific article Katrina!!!! The younger son and I were thinking of planting scarlet runner beans in hanging pots and just letting them hang down. The driveway side of the house faces south. He’ll have his little dishpans out come the warm weather to collect rainwater for the plants inside like the lime plant we got him last year for his birthday. It spent the winter in the enclosed front porch blooming like crazy but so far only one lime. It is looking like it’s setting some more fruit so we shall see how many we get this year. He’s tried growing a lemon plant, some petunias and a couple apple trees from seed on his window ledge since last spring. The petunias are looking rough and we’re not sure about the baby trees. Guess we’ll have to see what happens now that spring is here… I need to do some work in the back raised beds once things are warm and dry enough to work there…..

    1. That’s great Christine that your son is interested in gardening!! It sounds like you have a good plan with the beans, good location too. My porch also faces south and I am planning to hang 6-8 hangers, strawberries , tomatoes, and peppers. They will be my decorative hangers lol. I`m getting the itch to work outside, I hope it warms up and drys up soon! 🙂

    1. I`m positive you can! Look for things you already have around your place to use, the possibilites are endless, if it can hold soil and water and has drainage or can have a hole put in it, it has the potential use to grow your veggies

  8. I’m a big fan of growing lots of little crops with short growing times, together with a few pots of perennial herbs. Right now I have annual herbs growing indoors, as well as a new crop of pea shoots (just started) and I’m experimenting with growing radishes and baby carrots in pots too. Salad greens – as shown in many of the links – are perfect small space crops: quick growing, shallow rooted, and often not requiring full sun.

    I’ve just been given a small corner of space in which to grow potatoes. I’ll be planting the spuds in the ground, then building a wire cage around them. As the spuds’ green stalks continue to grow upward, I’ll fill in the wire cage with soil, maximizing the number of potatoes each plant produces. To make best use of the space, I’ll plant peas around the outside of each cage. The vines will use the wire for support, and the pea stalks will help the soil inside the cage to stay in place.

    1. Beth I would love to hear how your radishes work out! I was considering growing some this year. As soon as you said you put wire around the potatoes I was wondering how the soil would stay in lol….brilliant idea and amazing use of space! I will be making note of this!

  9. Our wall bags did horribly last year! We’re trying again this year, though. Hopefully my “black thumb” doesn’t kill some more plants….

    1. What did you plant last year? Maybe trying something different this year. Always remember to make sure that when you fill the bags that the soil is getting into every nook and cranny, the roots of all the plants need full root coverage

    1. How about some cool weather crops, broccoli, kale, spinach, bush peas, carrots? They can be planted in the summer and will give you some nice fall veggies?

  10. There are many ways to start a garden. The issue that my wife and I have is dealing with our dogs that love to eat everything we have in the garden. I built a fence and they would just jump over it. Very annoying. I don’t know if we are going to do one this year.

    1. Our dogs don’t care for vegetables thankfully but I have read that red pepper flakes, you can buy in bulk, spread around the garden will give the dogs the same reaction it would to us, sneezing and watery eyes. Maybe they’d learn not to go over there? It might keep even more critters than just your dog away

  11. I just stopped renting a house with a huge backyard where i built a garden to a small apartment with a patio that gets very little sunlight so I’m curious if I can use any of these methods to get my tomatoes back!

    1. how little sun does your balcony get? Tomatoes are pretty resilient plants, they love the heat, water and fertilizer. A few hours a day may be enough, its worth a try!

    1. Thanks for sharing the tip! Raised beds can made out of several materials, kijjij is a great place to find left over buildings materials that people are looking to get rid of 🙂

  12. those are great ideas to save space! in my small UK flat we had tomatoes at the window instead of flower plants, they grew up to make a nice green curtain and smelled delicious!

    1. Thanks for reading the post and good luck with adapting some them into your small space. Let us know how your gardening does this year 🙂

  13. Great tips! We ran into this when we rented, but it just requires you to be a little more creative when it comes to growing things. We would use containers as much as we could and had to be selective in what we grew.

    1. Thanks John for sharing, I’m hoping more people will find creative ways to use the space they have. 🙂

  14. Great post. My wife and I will probably use a couple of these ideas when we move in a few months.

    I bought my dad the Topsy Turvy for $0.99 and I think he is having success with tomatoes. Seems like a decent puchase…

    1. It’s worth a shot, right mate? There are so many people that have a green thumb but not the space so Katrina has some pretty cool ideas here that I never even thought of. Let me know how your garden goes. I would love to see pictures down the road. Hook up on FB! Cheers Jacob!

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