Even without access to a big area in your compound, you can easily learn how to design a small family home garden capable of providing a steady supply of homegrown vegetables. But before you start gardening, digging, sowing, and seeking the best vegetable, make sure you have a plan.
The best home gardens are built on a clear plan. This should address your particular needs, including the why and what of setting up the garden. For instance, you may establish a garden based on a particular style, layout design, or to demarcate your home per set preferences.
Some people set up home gardens just to produce a few more groceries. Would you rather use fresh onions? Or produce fresh, organic tomatoes, pepper, and so on? Or is your motivation to cut back on your grocery shopping budget?
All these are valid reasons to start a small family garden. For those with the space, you could still use this guide to establish a big enough family garden that caters to your needs throughout the year.
Small family home garden needs
The conventional wisdom in home gardening is to start small and only grow what you know you and your family needs. This makes it easy on you to manage your garden. Even so, you still need to consider a few aspects of home gardening if you want to be successful.
In the following sections, we discuss what you need to establish a vibrant and highly successful small family garden capable of complementing your grocery needs during the year.
1. Location with sufficient sunlight
The first tip on how to design a small home garden is choosing a good location. Pick an area that gets at least six hours of sun every day. Keep in mind that most vegetables and flowers need full sunlight to grow properly. Therefore, go for the brightest area in your compound.
If you can’t locate an area that receives full sunlight, pick flowers and vegetables that can grow well in the shade.
2. Easy to access garden
Another important tip on how to design a small home garden is choosing a place where you can easily access. A good area is one that you can see from your kitchen, home office, or dinning room window. Your garden should not be in an area that is challenging to see or access.
While close to the kitchen, ensure you can easily walk to your garden, access each of its ends a better experience tending it, and more.
3. Location close to a water source
Water supply is essential when designing your home garden. Therefore, pick a place that is near a hose attachment or has a natural water source.
This will ensure the soil remains moist for your plants. If it is impossible to place the small garden directly by the water source, ensure it is as close as possible.
4. Use appropriate garden space
Another essential tip on how to design a small family home garden is to know the measurements of the garden. This will help to determine the number and type of plants you need.
Your home garden should ideally occupy no more than 20 square meters of garden space per every person expected to depend on its produce. This ensures a sufficient harvest to subsidize the family’s grocery shopping throughout the year.
However, the amount of space needed depends on how reliant you’ll be on your home garden. For instance, you can cultivate a small garden of onions, tomatoes, and sukuma wiki for the occasional use, or set up a larger garden for more frequent harvesting.
5. Select the best seeds and plants
What do you want to plant? Do you plan to plant cabbages, tomatoes or cucumbers? You need to know there are plants that do well when they start from seeds and there are those that are doing well as mature plants.
Do a bit of research to determine the best route to take. Also, check the climate, your garden size, and the source of water before choosing seeds and plants.
6. Mix edible and ornamental plants
Even if you aim to grow edible plants, make sure you have ornamental plants as well. This will make the garden healthy and attractive. Therefore, go for plants with different leaf shapes.
Some of the best ornamental plants you can mix with vegetables include hibiscus, hostas, salvia, sedum, and allium among others.
7. Select combat varieties of plants
Another great tip on how to design a small home garden is choosing compact varieties of good plants. Some of the common vegetables you can consider are tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and zucchini among others.
Avoid planting fruit trees and other plants that they are hard to maintain. Most of the fruit trees need a lot of care and they will take away nutrients from other plants.
8. Embrace companion planting
To reduce competition for nutrients, consider adopting companion planting practices that benefit all your crops. By planting tomatoes with basil or pair garden vegetables with marigolds, you will be able to manage pests and reduce nutrients competition.
Also, place small plants in between the larger ones. But ensure all the plants you pick are compatible with each other.
Other plants you can pair with each other are tomatoes with dill, sage with broccoli, rosemary with kale, sage next to turnips, and many others.
9. Use trellises or fences to help the plants
To help most of the plants grow vertically, you can have a fence or trellis. This will support the plants and ensure they get enough light throughout the day. Therefore, do not place a trellis or a fence somewhere it can cast shade.
A fence or a trellis will be perfect for plants such as beans, peas, tomatoes, and squashes. Also, you can use containers or shelves when growing flowing plants.
10. Engage your local gardening store
The last tip on how to design a small home garden is contacting your local gardening store. This will ensure you are on the right track.
Learn about the plants, the climate, and any additions to the garden. Also, get inspirations from the internet, magazine, and other materials.