Super small garden and wanting to be as self-sufficient as possible

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
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ManxcottageonthehillManxcottageonthehill Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
Hello all,

I'm looking for abit of advice and possible poking in the right direction.

We've just bought the most wonderful terraced cottage, sadly though I have had to give up having a suitably sized garden so that we managed to get a garage in our price range. The garden we are going to get is around 30-50sq ft rectangle (not in till the 4th so haven't fully measured it but my computer system says it’s between this size), and is south west facing. We're hoping to put a shed (for the bicycles) in this space, which will make it even smaller.

I am wanting to cram as much in this space as possible, I'm hoping to probably at the beginning to do a lot of container gardening till we've worked out exactly where the sun is and when ect, but till then has anyone got any ideas on what would be best to grow/do to become as self-sufficient as possible? I really would like this as my aim of a productive garden.

I'm looking at planting potato's in potato sacks, I've got some old window frames from the local tip so they are going to be a very small lean to/greenhouse thing to house a few toms and possibly if we have left over one cold frame. I'm looking at using window boxes to grow lettuce and herbs and that’s about all I've thought of at the moment so any other ideas would be great.

If anyone knows of anyone who does small scale gardening as well as my internet searches are bringing up nadda, that would be amazing to!

Thanks :)
Nessy x


  • bouicca21bouicca21 Forumite
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    Go vertical - runner beans. Decorative as well as edible.
  • REENREEN Forumite
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    Never tried it myself but this looks feasible.

    I have salad leaves doing well in hanging baskets, out of reach of the slugs.
  • RASRAS Forumite
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    Is there any chance of storing the bikes in the garage?

    One thing to watch with hard surfaced gardens is that the snail population can be much higher and they munch through anything green.

    Have a look at
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • edited 26 August 2015 at 3:58PM
    DaftyDuckDaftyDuck Forumite
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    edited 26 August 2015 at 3:58PM
    I'm adding bits as I think... work keeps intruding, dammit :mad: :D

    If shed isn't too high - use the roof! I did back in college days, and grew wonderful trailing strawberries, trailing cucumbers and tomatoes, lettuce in trays, all sorts. Ripen super-early, no slug problems (but the birds were a pest!).

    Grow on mini-greenhouse staging, so you can multi-tier. Sure, most would prefer to be out of the shade on top, but you can rotate as needed. Salad greens will be fine on a lower shelf.

    Hanging baskets for tomatoes, strawberries, mini cucumbers, chilli peppers. Window boxes for all and sundry.

    As bouicca suggests, go up and grow up... peas and beans, and blackberries, grapes, raspberries, they'll grow on a house wall.

    Start growbags horizontal, as you would, then turn them vertical, you can even hang them from a (strong!!!) bracket.

    If you have a compost bin, grow a pumpkin, marrow or courgette on top. It'll love the warmth and grow fast with all those nutrients; when done, you just pile it in and stick a lid on it.

    Mini greenhouse (if not small greenhouse) to extend the growing season.

    Pots can be grown amongst bed-planted veg, to give a greater crop.

    Look up square foot gardening (I think that's the term).

    It's worth spending extra on F1 seeds, grafted tomatoes, posh plants. Not very MSE, and goes against my stingy ways (waves at bouicca21 as he falls in the skip at the recycling yard) but, hey, when space is key, wateva!

    Enrich that soil! It's your lifeblood. Composting may take space, so see if you can get farmyard manure, well rotted. Try to compost if possible.

    Be ruthless (Ruth eats too much) and get rid of crops like tomatoes once they are past their prime, even if they do have a few small fruit. You can use their space for later-ripening peppers, chillis, whatever.

    Don't ignore those walls and fences... you might even be able to pinch a bit of light from your neighbour, with a stray tendril. Just make sure the ripening fruit is mainly to your side, and do avoid arguments over teeny, tiny bits of land.

    You have a GARAGE!!! Steps onto roof, stat! That's good growing, up there!

    Terrace. Oh, that poor likkle old lady two down, at number 22, she can't get out as much.... would she like a hand with [STRIKE]you[/STRIKE]her garden?

  • Go vertical! I've always been intrigued by these sorts of things: No idea how well they work in practise, but that allows you to use some of that wall/fence space without taking up much ground space.
  • Thanks everyone,

    Never thought of vertical gardening!!! It's defantly a way for me to go, we have two fences and one bush, which the other half wants to keep up, kinda hoping I can plant some peas against it in the hopes they will trail along.

    The garage at the moment has a scary absestos roof (soon to be gone!) and the other half would like to put on a clear roof so that he gets as much light as possible, he's very into his classic motorbikes and cars! I am pondering maybe getting some tall boxes ect and putting them on the mini driveway infront of the garage, maybe somewhere for the potatoes to go, just thinking through ideas at the moment, but this is defantly something I want to progress in.

    Wow @daftyduck some amazing ideas there. I'm hoping to get a small compost bin somewhere, what type to get I don't know but I do want to keep a couple of bags of leaf mould around and about. Sadly I'm all about heritage (thinking thifty to!) I'd much perfer to keep seeds for further years and save money than get an F1 variety!

    @Reen oh thats a good youtube vid! We don't have jugs like that but something kinda similer so might look into using them instead.

    Thanks @firebird082 they look interesting and if they work a suitable price, might get one and test it!
    Nessy x
  • DaftyDuckDaftyDuck Forumite
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    I'm hoping to get a small compost bin somewhere, what type to get I don't know but

    No expert here (I do mine on a large scale), but look up wormery, and look up hot composting.
  • I_have_spokenI_have_spoken
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    The Square Foot approach to gardening may work for you -

  • DavesnaveDavesnave Forumite
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    The garden we are going to get is around 30-50sq ft rectangle

    Is that really 30-50 square feet?

    I'm currently sitting in a a small, 42 square foot office, and there isn't room in here for me and a bike shed!:rotfl:

    30' x 50' rectangle = different proposition.
    People who don't stand for something will fall for anything.
  • Good question re exact size.

    Re the square foot gardening concept - I seem to recall that its deemed 4 square foot beds of 4' x 4' size would produce a decent quantity of food for one person. So 16 square feet x 4 = per person is rather what I tend to have in mind.

    EDIT; just hoicked out a book that is recent addition to my collection that you might like to look at:

    "Grow all you can eat in 3 square feet". Its published by DK - so wouldn't have cost me much.
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