0
points
Most productive vegetables for limited space?

General   

What specific vegetables plants give really good yields of produce? I do not have a lot of space in my garden to dedicate to vegetable growing but I would like to plant some and aim for as big a harvest as possible. I was considering cherry tomatoes as I have heard they can be quite prolific and also some bush beans. Do you have any suggestions?


Posted by: Stan (1 point) Stan
Posted: April 22, 2013


Susan League, UF/IFAS Sumter Program Assistant commented,
What climate zone are you in?
almost 8 years ago.

Stan commented,
zone 7 i think
almost 8 years ago.



Answers

2
points
Cherry tomatoes are definitely great producers, as are green beans. Many greens such as lettuce, chard, and spinach, are cut and come-again vegetables, which would make them an ideal choice. With limited space you might like to employ square-foot gardening methods, and I highly recommend companion planting. For example, if you can cage your cherry tomato so that it's lowest limbs are up off the ground, this would leave space around the base of the plant to grow some greens. Try succession-planting. Plant spinach early in the spring before your tomatoes even need to go in the space. When the spinach is done, plant your tomato, and plant the lettuce around the base. Then when the tomato is done in the fall, plant some kale or another round of lettuces. OR try vertical gardening to maximize your small garden. Trellis cucumbers at the back of the bed, then grow greens, radishes, or herbs in front of that.


Posted by: Samantha Burns (15 points) Samantha Burns
Posted: April 24, 2013




2
points
I would certainly make sure that any tomatoes you plant are determinate. These are a "bush" type, as opposed to vining, requiring minimal support and taking up far less space. (Do not remove suckers.)

Intensive, square foot gardening and succession planting make great use of small spaces. Grow upwards if you can - by using a trellis you can plant high yield vegetables like snap peas and cucumbers without taking up a lot of horizontal space in your beds. then plant shade tolerant varieties like lettuce and spinach at their feet.


Posted by: Maggie Mae Farm (1 point) Maggie Mae Farm
Posted: April 26, 2013




1
point
Cherry tomatoes and bush beans are excellent choices - they would be first on my list. If you like peppers of any kind, you can get tremendous production from a single plant. Green leafy vegetable such as lettuce, spinach etc. are easily grown in small spaces. Consider onion sets, an herb plant here or there, and maybe even a small strawberry patch if you have room. Look up 'intensive gardening' or 'square foot gardening' for more ideas.


Posted by: Charlie B. (2 points) Charlie B.
Posted: April 22, 2013


Stan commented,
thanks Charlie, glad I was on the right track and I think peppers may be a great idea
almost 8 years ago.



1
point
Some overriding considerations are
(1) what do you like to eat?
(2) how do you plan to use the vegetables?
(3) how much work do you want to do?

If you like all vegetables equally, then certain varieties of beans, cherry tomatoes, and summer squash might give you the most return. It's a good idea to research specific varieties you are considering to see if they are known for high yields in your climate. These varieties were hugely productive for me in my cool-summer, long-season climate: Sungold, Sunsugar, Tommy Toe, Galina's Yellow, and Fox Cherry. I prefer pole beans rather than bush beans, because pole beans have to be planted only once, and they produce all season. Productive varieties for me include Blue Coco, Helda Romano, and Scarlet Runner. Bush beans might be a better choice for canning, because they tend to produce all at once, and you have to replant at regular intervals. Vining summer squashes are a good use of space if you can trellis them and use vertical space.

If you like some vegetables more than others, then the best vegetables to grow are the ones you like to eat. I like most plants, but I vastly prefer eating kale rather than lettuce or chard. In my gardens, I pick a few leaves here and there, and then the lettuce bolts (goes to seed and gets bitter), so I've learned lettuce is a waste of space for me. Chard is pretty, but I don't often eat it. But I eat bagsful of kale all year round, so any kale is an excellent use of space in my garden. If I could grow only one vegetable, my choice would be kale because it's productive year-round and I never get tired of eating it. It's also one of the most nutrient-dense foods, and I can pick exactly the amount I need. (Or rather, instead of buying a small bunch at the store or farmers' market, I can pick a grocery bag of kale.)

With some extra work, you can extend your season in both directions by using row covers, cloches, and other ways to protect your plants. It does take a lot of extra work (using walls-o-water and bubble-wrapped cages, restaking during windstorms, reinforcing the protection for unseasonably cold nights, etc.) and in my climate I can push the tomato harvest maybe a week earlier for every 2-3 weeks earlier that I plant them, so it's not a huge gain. If I had a greenhouse, I could try to extend the season even more.

But starting seeds to anticipate replacing a harvested crop is an easy way to make the most use of a small space. For instance, if you anticipate that your bush beans will be mature in a couple weeks, you can start new seeds in 6-packs so that they will be ready to go into the ground when it's time to take out the exhausted crop.

This article has a good discussion of how to decide what to grow.
http://www.harvesttotable.com/2009/04...


Posted by: Tanya in the Garden (128 points) Tanya in the Garden
Posted: April 29, 2013




0
points
Salads, spinach, for height either runner or french beans, mange toute, spuds in tubs, tomatos etc. need shelter and lots of sun or they are not worth bothering with outside. I grow strawberrys in tubs off the ground, have you thought about veg in the flower borders I have insect friendly flowering thing so get lots of little helpers when the dreaded aphids strike and tonnes of hover flies


Posted by: cathy barker (3 points) cathy barker
Posted: April 22, 2013


Stan commented,
Thanks Cathy
almost 8 years ago.



0
points
Use the "Three Sisters" planting method - corn, beans, squash together. Corn is a trellis for the beans, beans fix nitrogen in the soil and stabilize the corn to keep it from blowing over, squash becomes a spiny mulch that holds in water and prevents weed. Penn State Extension, Susquehanna County, has a good Master Gardener article on it.


Posted by: Susan League, UF/IFAS Sumter Program Assistant (1 point) Susan League, UF/IFAS Sumter Program Assistant
Posted: April 22, 2013


David Hughes commented,
Hi Susan
Do you have a link for that extension document? thanks

almost 8 years ago.

Susan League, UF/IFAS Sumter Program Assistant commented,
http://extension.psu.edu/susquehanna/...
almost 8 years ago.



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