Small but Mighty Kitchen Gardens

By Michelle Domocol

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Luckily, November’s planting season includes vegetables that grow in small spaces or containers. Even with the reduced space, they produce a big harvest. Even better, these vegetables are readily used in meals so you’re plentiful harvest won’t go to waste.

Some of these high-yielding, small-space veggies (Photo 1 & 2) are: letchugas (lettuce), mustasa (mustard), petsay (pechay), okra, spinach, kamatis (tomato), luy-a (ginger), rabanos (radish), ahos (garlic), sibuyas bombay (onion), and atsal (bell peppers). And have some empty walls or fences, grow gourds (like kalubay and kalabasa) vertically. Check out this article for growing vertical, space-saving techniques.

Below are some container sizes and plant spacing suggestions to start your own kitchen garden this November (Photo 1 & 2). Keep these dimensions in mind when you’re deciding which vegetables fit in your small space. For detailed food garden designs, order my new Kitchen Garden design book.

Photo 1. Spacing for mustasa, pechay, rabanos (radish), letchuga (lettuce), & spinach.

All of these small but mighty vegetables can grow in raised boxes that are at least 3′ x 6′ or larger (Photo 1). If you prefer, individual garden tubs or pots, go for it. Here are a few special notes for particular vegetables (Photo 2).

  • Okra: 1 okra seedling can be grown in a container at least 12” wide x 11” tall
  • Atsal: 1 atsal (pepper) seedling can be grown in a container that’s 10” wide x 10” tall
  • Kalubay & Kalabasa: 1 gourd per 12”x 11” pots. You can plant more in larger containers.
  • Kamatis: Plant 1 kamatis (tomato) seedling plant in a 9” wide x 6” tall container. Depending on the variety, it may need a larger container.

Photo 2. Spacing and containers for sibuyas bombay (onions), gourds (kalubay & kalabasa), kamatis (tomatoes), & atsal (peppers)

Remember, don’t ever feel pressured to grow a huge variety in your kitchen garden. Grow what you regularly eat and use in the kitchen. I know beautiful, healthy kitchen gardens that specialize in different varieties of lettuce. And that’s it—just lettuce. If you have more time, resources and confidence, then add more vegetables each season. Be patient, enjoy, and grow at your own pace and skill level.

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