For Barbara Gunn Helen Chesnut stories [PNG Merlin Archive]
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Lots are typically small and plots in community gardens are not always available.Q. Like many people, we lack the room to grow all the vegetables and flowers we would like. Can you give us some space-saving ideas?A. This is a common challenge. Lots are typically small and plots in community gardens are not always available. Here are a few ideas on making the best possible use of available space.First, make a list of vegetables and flowers that are family favourites. Give priority of place to them.Set up netting or wire fencing for growing as many plantings as possible vertically. Suitable vining plants include pole and runner beans, cucumber, peas, staking tomatoes, climbing zucchini (Tromboncino, West Coast Seeds), sweet peas. Along the plant bases grow bush zucchini, peppers, bush beans, basil, marigold, nasturtium, alyssum. For dense plantings like this, make sure the soil is amply plumped with compost.Plant in blocks. Smaller growing vegetables like the roots (carrots, beets, parsnip, onions) as well as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower can be grown in a solid block rather than in single rows. This space-saving technique also demands a fertile, humus-rich soil.Fit small, fast-growing plants next to large, long-term plantings; for example, sow spinach between seeded corn rows and transplant lettuce around young zucchini plants and along the bases of pea and tomato vines.In summer, when some spring plantings like peas, lettuce and early cabbages have been harvested, remove and compost the plants, re-plump the soil, and make follow-up plantings like bush beans, more lettuce, arugula, spinach and chard. At the coast, sow carrots and beets at the beginning of July for fall and winter use.Check through your list of favourite vegetables and flowers for smaller plants that could be grown in containers. Some likely candidates: dwarf “patio” type tomatoes, basil, leaf lettuces and (mesclun) blends of mixed greens, small bush varieties of cucumber and zucchini.Put the word out that you are looking for extra gardening space. Friends or neighbours may have suitable growing spaces they do not use.