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Shana Williams
The Williams City Farm

Getting the most out of your garden space

As we stroll through our gardens, we always want to get the most out of every inch of space. Therefore, we need to know what to plant there next. There are always a number of factors to consider, such as positioning of the sun throughout the day, soil nutrients, water requirements, plant spacing, companion and crowd planting, and growing vertically — just to name a few. Often, we aim for maximum production without sacrificing beauty.


Shana Williams
Vine-like plants grow well on vertical supports

At the moment, we need to reclaim some space from our strawberry patch, plant pole beans, transition plants and utilize the space around their base to suppress weeds. Therefore, I have to consider which plants grow best together (companion planting) and implement crowd planting to help suppress the weeds in addition to keeping the soil cool and helping with moisture retention. I should also install more vertical supports for our viny plants such as beans, cucumbers, melons and squash. Here are a few things to consider in your garden.


● Crowd planting allows for healthy competition between plants, making their root systems stronger as they search for nutrients, along with weed suppression and keeping the soil cool. To get the most out of our space, we plant lettuce around the peppers, as we wait for them to grow larger, and beets and radishes among our kale.

● In transitioning row plants, we planted summer squash next to our kale before removing it, and we now have mature tomato plants growing. In a few weeks the squash will be removed and more compost added, eliminating any lost weeks as we wait on the squash to finish producing.

● It’s also time to reclaim space from the strawberries. We’ll remove several foot-wide trenches of strawberries allowing us to plant additional companion-friendly plants such as peppers, beets and onions. The strawberry runners will later fill in the space.

● Finally, vertical supports and arches are a wonderful space-saver perfect for utilizing every inch of ground space. Installing more arches will allow us later in the transition from bush bean rows to collards, kale and cabbage.

Take a good look at your garden! If maximizing production is your goal, always reevaluate your space to implement succession planting, companion and crowd planting strategies, as well as grow vertically to get the most out of your healthy and productive plants.

Additional Resource:

Companion Planting Chart