Getting the most out of the garden is one of the biggest goals of all gardeners. Wouldn’t it be great to harvest enough vegetables so you no longer have to rely on the grocery store? Thankfully, there are many ways to maximize yields as well as increase growing space so you can enjoy huge, wonderful harvests. Many of these methods are quite simple and can be utilized with minimal effort. Whether you’ve got a huge garden plot in the backyard or a small space on the balcony, using these practices will have you swimming in fresh vegetables all season long.
Here’s how to maximize your vegetable garden space and boost your veggie garden yield so you can enjoy a bountiful harvest and supercharge growth for any season.
To Increase Your Vegetable Garden Yield
Gardening isn’t just about throwing some seeds in the dirt and hoping for the best. There is much to consider, especially when you want to achieve the highest vegetable garden yield. It’s awful to invest a lot of time into planting and only get minimal harvests. If you’ve had this experience in the past, don’t be dismayed. It happens to the best of us! Here’s how you can ensure it doesn’t happen again, and that you get the most out of your garden:
1)Plant For Your Area:
One of the biggest reasons a vegetable crop doesn’t thrive is because it is the wrong seed for the climate. Yes, you may love that special type of cauliflower or those leafy power greens, but if the growing season is too hot, it’s not going to grow well. There isn’t much that can be done about it. To be successful, you need to choose seed varieties and plants that do well in your climate and zone. Every seed packet indicates which USDA zone the plants do best in; pay close attention and choose types made for your area.
2)Plant Your Vegetables Where They Do Best:
Read the seed labels! If the label says the vegetable needs full sunlight, you need to plant it in full sun. If you put tomato plants in a shady location, they aren’t going to produce any fruit. Vegetables have some pretty simple needs: sunshine, water, and nutrients. With so few needs, it’s a big deal if one isn’t done correctly. Lettuce wilts, then bolts, in full sun. Many plants prefer protection from hot temperatures. Learn how much sun exposure your vegetables plants need. Giving them the best start will help maximize yields.
3)Plan, Plan, Plan:
I know, planning takes time and effort. However, it’s worth it once you see the huge harvests you get at the end. Timing the plantings based on vegetable type is essential. Peas die-off in extreme heat and need to be planted as soon as possible. If they aren’t planted at the right time, they won’t produce any pods. The right time, though, varies by climate. In the south, they can be planted in March or April. If you plant peas that early in the north, you’ll end up with snow-covered vines. Before you put any seeds in the ground, make a chart of all the types you’ll be planting, their growing season, days to maturity, and ideal growing conditions. Also, plan out what spaces you will use — are the plants going in raised beds, pots, or window planters? Use every square foot you have, if possible. Success will quickly be yours with a chart or list like this!
4)Improve The Soil:
Soil provides the majority of nutrients that a vegetable needs. If the soil is poor, the vegetables will struggle to grow, and yields will be minimal. There are many simple ways to improve the garden soil. The easiest is adding compost and organic matter. Compost provides important minerals, and even gardens with excellent soil will benefit from additional treatments of compost. Soil health greatly improves if you practice no-till gardening. Tilling the soil every year kills beneficial microbes and earthworms, two important features of healthy soil.
Another way to improve garden soil and improve plant growth is to mulch. Mulching can be done with grass clippings, wood chips, straw, cardboard, manure, or leaves. The benefits of mulching are vast. It prevents weeds, improves soil moisture levels, reducing the amount you need to water, and as it decomposes, it adds nutrients and minerals back into the soil.
Pesticides and other chemicals are available everywhere for pest control. However, their use comes at a great cost to the vegetable garden. Most pesticides are indiscriminate; this means they kill the beneficial insects along with the pests. Your garden needs beneficial insects to be at it’s productive best. Other options should be used before ever resorting to harmful chemicals. Pests can also build resistance to chemicals over time, meaning they get stronger, and you need more chemicals to kill them the next year. Instead of relying on the easily accessible pesticides, try implementing methods that encourage beneficial pest predators, like bats with a bat house, beetles with a bug house, and birds. They will happily help you with pest infestations if you provide a safe space for them to live.
For more info on chemical free gardening visit our ultimate guide to chemical free gardening.
7)Make Use Of Those Shady Spots:
Areas of the yard or deck that receive shade are often overlooked as a way to maximize the growing space in your garden. Of course, don’t plant sun-needy plants in the shade. But, do research which plants are quite happy to grow in there and start them. Kale, Asian greens, lettuce, and parsnips are all great options for those not-so-sunny locations.
8)Do Successive Plantings:
Radishes will grow in 30 days. This means, in 30 days, the space where the radishes grew will be open for another planting, of either more radishes or another vegetable. The space where the pumpkins are, though, is set for the season. Include this in your planning, and you’ll have multiple abundant harvests. Lettuce, greens, peas, and beans all provide bountiful crops more than once with succession planting!
9)Space Plants Properly:
Wouldn’t it be great if we could just squeeze a bunch of vegetable plants into one spot, and they’d all do well? Unfortunately, that doesn’t work. Vegetables planted too close together won’t grow to their full potential. For example, carrots spaced too closely will be thin and short. Tomato plants become a jungle of stems when planted too close. Diseases and pests also thrive in gardens planted too tightly. Your harvests will suffer if a disease or pests take hold. There needs to be air circulation between the plants, so they remain healthy. If you space them too far apart, though, you aren’t maximizing the space potential of the vegetable garden. Read the instructions for each vegetable before planting to make sure you give it the appropriate space, and just that.
Planting certain crops together is an easy and amazing way to improve vegetable garden yield. Native Americans used this method when planting the “three sisters,” corn, beans, and squash. Corn plants provide a support structure for the climbing beans as well as shade the squash. Meanwhile, the squash plants happily grow between the corn, using space that would otherwise be unused. Instead of planting each vegetable individually in long rows, their space is combined for the betterment of them all.
11)Stretch Out The Growing Season:
Starting seeds indoors or in a greenhouse allows the plants to grow strong before they are transplanted outdoors. The plants will mature faster, giving you quicker harvests. It also allows vegetables that need it extra time to reach full maturity. A greenhouse can also be used to start fall crops, protecting them from the summer heat while they are young. Using a greenhouse will lengthen the growing season exponentially. You can also use row covers once the seedlings are transplanted outdoors to protect them and increase their survival. The vegetable garden yield will improve significantly with these methods.
How To Grow The Most Amount of Vegetables in a Small Space
Vegetables are adaptable to many spaces, and sometimes all it takes is a little creativity to increase harvests in your vegetable garden.
- Use Trellises: Instead of planting out, plant up. Peas, pole beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, and small pumpkins can all be trained to grow up a trellis. Use that vertical space! Productivity dramatically increases when you use an area that is generally ignored. Arches, arbors, A-frames, and fences are elements often already around the house or yard that are waiting to be utilized.
- Don’t Just Plant in Garden Beds: Plant along paths and yard edges. Grow vegetables in pots, window planters, raised beds, and containers, which can be placed anywhere in the yard, on the deck, or porch.
- Interplant With The Landscape: A vegetable garden doesn’t need to be regulated to a square plot in the yard. Plant vegetables in your flower beds and around trees. Create an edible landscape that makes the best use of the ground space available. Companion planting with fruit and nut trees is a great way to expand the garden and grow more crops.
- Use Raised Beds:A raised bed can be placed almost anywhere, adding garden space where before there may have been none. Raised beds can be as simple or elaborate as you like. For more info visit our previous post titled
Raised Bed Gardening Everything You Need To Know.
What Can I Do To Make My Garden Grow Faster?
As mentioned above, providing the plants with everything they need is the best way to improve growth. The vegetable garden needs fertile, quality soil, regular watering, weeding, and sun. Yields will vastly improve if all the ingredients are there at the beginning.
Adding compost, organic matter, fertilizer, and a mulch layer will protect and improve the vegetable garden. Also, watering the soil consistently improves yields and quality. Consider setting up an irrigation system with soaker hoses to streamline this process and ensure the plants dependably get water.
Plants that get a head start in a greenhouse develop a stronger root system and grow faster. Harvests will happen quicker using this method. Yields will improve too since the plant will have more time to produce fruit. If you’re growing indoors, monitor the Carbon Dioxide levels because CO2 is necessary for plants to grow successfully.
Which Vegetable Plants Grow Fastest?