Small Space, Low Budget Gardening Tips (Lessons learned from the Flower Show)

small space low cost gardening


I love spring anywhere,
but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.
―Ruth Stout

Oooohhh it’s that time of year again. And even though I’ve been told I’m not allowed to garden this year due to my repeated inability to bring a veggie garden to fruition… I’ve got that yearning. To get my hands dirty. To plant seeds and make great plans.

Gardening is the purest form of optimism. It’s the embodiment of hope.

Anyway, at the Philadelphia Flower Show there was an exhibit by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society that I found hugely inspirational. Look how many herbs, fruits and veggies they managed to cram into a space about the size of a typical city rowhome backyard! Is that corn?

It’s a beautiful illustration of how you don’t need a lot of land and a ton of money to grow your own produce: enough to make a difference in your diet (and likely your neighbors’ diets as well).

Small Space, Low Budget Gardening Tips
(Lessons learned from the Flower Show)


1. Raised beds rock the house.

The picture above has raised beds (and a walkway made with boards and a seat made of part of a tree trunk). Raised beds mean you don’t have to go digging down into your dirt and then amend it; you can start off with good, clean, well-balanced dirt to give your plants an extra boost.

2. Think inside the box. Or bell jar.

Cold frames and glass jars help protect from nips of frost, extending your growing season.


cold frame


3. Look up, down, and all around. 

Vertical gardening is an awesome technique to increase your square yardage for growing (and ultimately increasing your yield). Think trellises, wooden pallets to make walls of plants, archways, cages.


tomato trellis

Cherry tomatoes grown on a simple archway

lettuce wall

Wall made of lettuce!


4. Gardening doesn’t need to be fancy. 

Beds neatly hemmed in by logs. Oyster shells to create a pathway. Cages made from thin branches. Those wooden paint stirrers from hardware stores as row markers. Seats made from tree stumps. Used wooden pallets. Old windows for cold frames. Produce section twist ties for supporting and training plants. Pretty much anything with a hollow center as a planter… this is recycling at its best, and gardening at its least expensive. Plus, I think using as many natural materials as possible makes a garden so pretty.


small space veggie garden

Garden accessories


5. Seeds are cheap.

Add love, time and effort and the return is bountiful. Freeze up your surplus for those winter months when the price of produce soars! (I was paying $3.99 A POUND for red peppers this winter! But I can buy a pepper plant for $2 at my farmers market.) Check out this breakdown of the most cost effective plants to grow— salad greens are #3 and soooo simple to grow yourself. Not to mention, way better tasting than salad-in-a-bag or trucked-in-from-afar!

Share the wealth by planting a row for the hungry or checking with your local food kitchen to see if they’ll take garden donations. Turn your garden plot into a political statement.

Garden for victory. For your health. For your kids. For your mental well-being. For your wallet.


$10 of seeds...

$10 of seeds = one ton of tomatoes


Are you growing fruits, veggies, herbs in your garden this year?

What are you planting?




Please excuse the quality of the Flower Show shots. I had to resort to my pop-up flash.

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