Gardening in small spaces can be quite challenging for many reasons. From the planning phase through harvest, making the best use of small planting beds and containers has both advantages and drawbacks. When I first began growing vegetables in my backyard, I was very focused on the production of high yields. Though some crops were well adapted to the intensive gardening methods used in my yard, others were more difficult to manage.
Plethora of Tomato Plants
Tomatoes have long been one of my favorite food crops. With so much color and diversity among heirlooms, I could not help but collect a wide variety of seeds to plant each season. The first summer, I watched as the tomatoes quickly outgrew their individual support stakes. As my plantings became larger and larger, I knew that another solution would be necessary if I wanted to produce as much fruit as possible.
The next summer, I devised a new trellising plan that I hoped would allow me to plant the tomatoes in a dense row, as well as increase my harvests throughout the summer.
At planting time, I carefully arranged the seedlings in a grid pattern, very similar to that which is suggested by those who practice square foot gardening techniques. Each vegetable bed was roughly 4 feet (1.2 m.) wide. This would allow for me to be able to easily reach into the center of the bed at harvest time from either side.
As the plants began to grow larger, I felt quite optimistic about my new tomato crop. When the plants reached about 16 inches (40 cm.), I carefully added metal stakes to the four corners of the bed. Then, I stretched out a small length of trellis netting. After stretching it across the tops of the plants horizontally, I secured it tightly to the posts. Though this technique is most frequently implemented by cut flower farmers, I was extremely eager to see how it would function in this capacity.
Successful and Prolific
I repeated this process two more times before the plants started to produce juicy, colorful tomatoes. This technique proved to be a massive success!
Though the size of my backyard garden currently limits my ability to grow tomatoes, there is little doubt that I would implement this growing technique again in the future.