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5 Spots to Start a Garden

Finding Garden Space
Yes, every garden needs a little gingham! You know I love gingham, right?

My yard is pretty small and the amount of space I have to grow vegetables is not very large. This keeps me on the lookout for more spots to grow food and start gardening. Maximizing growing space in a small yard takes a bit of creativity and a keen eye. If you’re on the lookout for more areas to start a garden so that you can grow more of your own food, these 5 spots are ready to be discovered.

5 Spots to Start a Garden

  1. Look up:Sky gardening” as I like to call it. Green beans love to climb and a ladder may be necessary for harvesting. You don’t need much ground space but climbers like to go up. Staking the plants is key so find a source for inexpensive materials. Ask a neighbor who has bamboo growing in their yard when harvest time is!
  2. South side and sunny: Any spot that faces south and gets afternoon sun is a good location. Look for walkways or driveways where you can line up pots. Pots can be inexpensive or free plastic ones. My neighbor gave me his plastic ones when he planted small trees.
  3. Replace hedges with vegetables or fruit trees: Slowly replacing non-edible plants with edible ones is my gardening goal and this keeps the project easy. By not taking on too much – I’m ripping out a huge laurel bush today – it’s more a manageable job and it can be a process.
  4. Raised beds: Adding raised beds to a grassy area takes a morning of work but results in a summer of fresh vegetables. Make sure to use non-pressure treated wood (no chemical leaching) for your building project.
  5. Flowers need greens: Add a spinach plant to your flower pots! Every pot of flowers needs a little greenery. Add spinach or arugula and those pretty pots of flowers can have something edible in them, too.

A tour of my garden with additional space…

This a walkway along a porch that faces south. Plastic pots were given to me by my neighbors and would have otherwise been recycled.


Garden space (5)

And by the end of summer they filled in nicely. It was a great spot for peppers and tomatoes.

5 steps Found Garden Space
By the end of summer, this walkway was productive growing space.

“Sky gardening” works for green beans in this spot that used to be a hedge.

Green beans like to grow up
Pole beans grow up and salad greens “mesclun mix” get planted below in this very small space.

By the end of the season, my husband had to use a ladder to pick the green beans.

Go Gingham Sky gardening
Hubby on ladder picking green beans for dinner!

This was an unused spot on the south side of our house.

Go Gingham finding garden space
South side and next to the house – tomatoes love to grow here!

It produced so many tomatoes last year that my regular staking methods tipped over and I ended up with a tangled – but delicious – tomato mess! Start saving your eggshells for planting with your tomatoes, too.

Tomatoes gone wild
Tomatoes gone wild – they even grew underneath the wood siding!

All of my flower pots get a little greenery. Lettuce and flowers look pretty together.

Flowers with greens
Every pot of flowers gets lettuce, spinach or other green. Eat those veggies!

Whether your yard is large or small, look around for places to maximize your vegetable growing space. It takes a bit of creativity and a keen eye but if your goal is to grow more food, be on the lookout! These 5 spots to start a garden are probably in your yard. Go look! You’ll be eating fresh vegetables from your “farm” this summer.

What’s growing in your garden right now? Inspired to find new spots to grow food?

Go Gingham related links:

I also like to save seeds and re-use those in my garden!
How to stake tomato plants – a very stylishly frugal method!
Why my tomato plants are happy – what I plant with them
My non-gardener-gardening-strategy – yes, non gardeners can fake it
Three easy herbs to grow – you won’t be able to kill these, I promise!
Easy grids for your garden – get square foot gardening!
Composting tips – add richness to your soil with scraps from the kitchen

More related links:

Amy from “Frugal Mama” has a list of edible flowers you’ll want to check out. Flowers that you can eat – a win-win in the garden!

Rita from “This Sorta Old Life” is sharing her “lawn to garden” conversion. She claims she doesn’t know what she’s doing but it looks professional to me.



9 thoughts on “5 Spots to Start a Garden

  1. Sara, we started our garden! We tore out a line of shrubs (in our southwest-facing back yard), and we’ve put a few other things in pots. We don’t really know what we’re doing, but we started anyway. 🙂


    1. Rita, it looks great! I just added your link to this post – it is really inspiring.
      Honestly, I don’t know what I’m doing either – I just go with what seems to keep plants alive and without chemicals. My backyard chickens seem happy with the gardening efforts, too. They get to eat all of the plants that don’t survive. 🙂
      Great job, Rita!


  2. Sara, I love your effort to make your plants work for you. It just makes sense to be able to eat the plants if you are going to invest time and energy into caring for them! (Although, I do get so much pleasure from seeing my flowers grow!) Your ideas for finding space are smart!!!


    1. Thanks, Annie! Check out Amy’s post above about edible flowers – you’ll be thrilled to know what flowers you can eat and still enjoy them in your garden. We just had a salad of spinach, lettuce, and dandelion greens (think weeds here) topped with flowers from the garden. Bon appetit! 🙂


  3. Just an FYI, I was investigating pressure treated wood for raised beds a while ago and found out that they changed the regulations in 2003. Pressure treated wood for residential use is no longer allowed to have Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA), which was the main concern with pressure treated lumber.
    The EPA regulations are here: “http://www.epa.gov/oppad001/reregistration/cca/

    There is a really nice explanation of why using pressure treated wood is probably less risky than not eating enough vegetables here:



    1. Cee, thank you so much for these links! This is absolutely helpful. I’m glad for the update and that the wood is better now. And I would agree – eating vegetables is always the better choice to make.
      Thanks again. 🙂


  4. You must be related to my husband. I’m constantly amazed at all the places he sneaks in edible plants.


    1. Oh, Kris, I love it! Well, I’m sure you do, too. One of my neighbors was showing me his yard and all the spots he had Swiss chard planted. He didn’t know you could eat it – he thought it was a pretty plant! Vegetables and other edibles do look really pretty in a yard or garden and they taste good, too.
      Thanks, Kris! Happy gardening ~ and eating veggies.


  5. I never would have thought to combine veggies and flowers, but you’re right, the lettuce does look pretty!


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