Ditch the Produce Aisle: 21 Vegetables That Grow Well in Small Gardens

  • By: SFUAA
  • Date: April 15, 2022
  • Time to read: 9 min.

When it comes to gardening, one of the most important things you can do is to create a diverse garden that provides a variety of different foods you can eat.

Unfortunately, not everyone has access to large plots of land and abundant space.

If you’re in this category, here are a few vegetables that grow well in small gardens! (Whether you have a small back yard or just an apartment patio or spare room to grow in.)

Cut & Come Again Lettuce

hyper red rumple waved lettuce hydroponic
Hyper Red Rumple Waved Lettuce (One Week Old) | Source: My Aerogarden

Lettuce is a great option for those who don’t have enough space to grow a full garden.

Cut & Come Again Lettuce is an easy-to-grow lettuce that can be grown close together in a bio-intensive setup. This means you’ll get a lot more lettuce plants in the same amount of space than you would other types of crops.

It thrives in cool weather and doesn’t need a great deal of light, so it’s perfect for growing outdoors during the cool months or indoors during the very hot or very cold months. Growing indoors also reduces the amount of pests you have to deal with.


One of the easiest vegetables to grow, potatoes are great for cooking and can be eaten raw with a little salt. They’re fairly easy to grow in small spaces such as grow bags, just make sure you have enough sunlight or else are using grow lights.

Since potatoes are relatively cheap at the store, you may opt to grow a fancier variety of potatoes – such as purple potatoes that are healthier and cost more at the local supermarket.

Dwarf Tomatoes

Tomatoes are normally not a crop you’d be able to grow in a small space because of how much room they can take up once mature. If you pick up a dwarf variety (and there are many), though, you can get plants that will grow in under 2′ of space – sometimes under 1′ tall by 1′ wide.

Because dwarf tomatoes won’t get as big as the traditional tomato, they really open up your options for growing tomatoes in a small garden. (Including growing them vertically.)

If you plant them in a container, you can easily move them around to different spots in your garden (or house) to catch the maximum amount of sun.

Dwarf tomatoes may be small, but they still pack huge amounts of flavor. If you don’t have much space, dwarf tomatoes are an excellent vegetable to grow.

Yardlong Beans

Yardlong beans are something you’re not likely to find very readily in stores, and if you do, they’ll taste pretty bland from being harvested early and sitting in trucks and on shelves for too long.

Because these pole beans are grown vertically, they don’t take up much space in your garden, and you can plant several plants on the same trellis, making them even more space efficient.

These beans are both delicious and extremely easy to grow. You practically just plant them and pick them. They’re a perfect plant for a low effort garden without much room to grow in.

Dwarf Blue Curled Kale

Dwarf Blue Curled Kale is a great plant that is perfect for small gardens. This type of kale grows well in containers, so you can grow it indoors or outdoors. In terms of flavor and nutrients, this variety of kale has similar properties to regular varieties of kale, but it only takes up about a square foot of space (staying around a foot tall as well).

This type of kale is a much better choice for a small garden than some of the normal varieties (like dinosaur kale). It’s also easy to care for: just keep your plant watered and start it off with a little bit of compost..


Spinach is one of the easiest vegetables to grow in a small garden – as long as it stays cool where you’re growing. It can be super productive and very easy to grow, so you can harvest plenty of it during its growing season.

If you’re growing it indoors, you can keep it growing year round. Even though it doesn’t provide a lot of calories, it’s very nutrient dense – being a great source of iron and other vitamins and minerals.

Paris Market Carrots

Paris Market Carrots are a type of carrot that is great for small gardens. They grow well in smaller spaces and are ready to harvest a lot faster than most other types of carrots. These carrots may not get as long as your normal supermarket variety carrot, but that also makes them a great choice for growing in relatively shallow containers.

If you like carrots and want to grow some, these are a great choice and can be ready to harvest as soon as 50 days after planting in optimal conditions.

Prizm Hybrid Kale

Prizm Hybrid Kale is a variety of kale that produces leaves with a lot fewer stems than other varieties of kale. It has a nice mild taste when the leaves are harvested early, so it’s perfect for those who don’t like the bitterness of other greens.

Prizm Hybrid Kale is a perfect dwarf variety of kale, only getting to about 10-12″ wide, though it does get a bit larger than the dwarf blue kale mentioned above, potentially getting up to 2′ tall.


Beets are a super easy vegetable to grow, and if you plant a variety like bulls blood beets, you can harvest their leaves and their roots both. If you like the taste of beets, you can almost certainly find the space in your garden to grow them.

When following the square foot gardening method, you can plant between 9 and 16 of them per square foot, so they really give you a lot of crop for the amount of space you’re dedicating to them.


Radishes are another plant that you can pack a ton of into a tiny space. When using the square foot gardening method, you can pack 16 of them into a square foot if you’re growing them for their roots or greens. They’re also quick to germinate and grow!

Radishes are a multi-use plant. Not only can you grow them for their roots, but you can also grow them to eat their greens (which have a bit of a peppery taste) and their seed pods. (Personally, I think the pods are the best part of the plant. If you agree, you can grow a variety developed for the pods specifically – like dragon’s tail radishes.)

Dwarf Cucumbers

Cucumbers are an excellent plant to add to your garden, but not all of them are fit to plant in a small space. If you want to fit some cucumbers into a small garden, there are a few varieties you can look for. I have an article here with a list of them.

First are small bush varieties if you don’t have room to set up a trellis. Saladmore Bush and Bush Champion are two such varieties that stay under a 24″ spread but produce cucumbers that get 8-10″ long.

Next are vining varieties. Itachi is one such variety that produces 11″ long white cucumbers and are perfect for growing up a small trellis. Spacemaster, on the other hand, is designed to be grown from a hanging basket – letting the vines drape over the side. This eliminates the need for a trellis and lets you grow cucumbers without taking up any planting space in your garden.

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is another vegetable that grows well in small gardens that provides lots of health benefits. It can be used in a variety of dishes, including soups and salads. The leaves can even be eaten raw.

Chard is a colorful green, leafy vegetable that can be grown 2 to a square foot using the square foot gardening method and is great for a tiny garden or growing in a container.


red rubin basil hydroponic
Red Rubin Basil (A Few Weeks Old), Grown Hydroponically

Basil is a delicious green that is great in salads, rice, pestos, and tons of other things. It requires very little space and can be picked throughout the year. Its leaves are edible and can be used as an herb in cooking.

Honestly, it’s my favorite spice thanks to its pleasant taste, and it’s perfect for being grown in a pot, planter, or solo cup in a window, making it one of the ultimate plants for growing in tiny spaces.

If you want a tiny basil variety, greek basil stays about 6-8″ tall and wide, and red rubin is another smaller variety of basil.

Chilly Chili Peppers

One of the vegetables that grows well in small gardens is chili peppers. These are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. And they’re relatively easy to grow. Besides being tasty, they’re also versatile. You can use them in soups, stews, sauces, and many other dishes.

Chilly chili peppers specifically is a variety of pepper that stays at or under a foot tall and only gets a 6-10″ spread. This makes it excellent for packing into a spot you’d otherwise never be able to fit a pepper plant.

As the name implies, chilly chili has no heat to it, which sets it apart from most other small, ornamental peppers.

If you don’t think this is the pepper for you, there are quite a few other dwarf varieties.


Arugula is a great leafy vegetable to grow. It has a mild, peppery taste, so you can use it in salads and sandwiches. Arugula also grows well in cooler weather gardens, so make sure to plant it before it gets too hot.

Like other leafy vegetables, you can grow this in a very intensive setup – up to 16 of them per square foot. If you’re looking for a healthy salad vegetable to grow, arugula is a great choice.


Turnips are a great vegetable to grow in your garden because they have beautiful, white and purple edible roots – in addition to producing edible leaves. They don’t need much space or attention for great results, so this is a great vegetable for beginners or those with less time to devote to gardening.

Throw them 9 to a square foot in a garden and harvest them while they’re still small so they don’t get that bitter, turnipy taste to them.

Green Onions

Onions are a great vegetable to grow because they are easy to grow and store. They are also a staple in many different cuisines around the world, so growing some means you know you’ll always have some in your garden if you need it for a recipe.

If you’re growing red onions, you can put 4 to a square foot, but if you go with green onions, you can fit a lot more of them into the same space. I know of some gardeners who will grow 200 of them to a square foot, only giving them .75″ between plants.


Peas are another plant that tastes great and can be grown in very little space. Because they are small, you can grow 8 to a square foot, and because they are grown vertically, they take up very little space in your garden.

In fact, you can interplant them with your carrots or lettuce so they really take up practically no space at all. That’s definitely a fair trade for something that’s both healthy and tasty.


Parsnips are easy to grow and don’t need much space. They will grow best when planted in a very rich soil. They are a root vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked. In a square foot garden, plant 9 of these plants per square foot.

You can plant parsnips any time during the Spring as long as the soil is not frozen. If you plant too early, you may need to cover the plants with mulch to protect from freezing temperatures.

In warmer regions, parsnips should be a fall plant instead of a spring one.


Leeks are one of the easiest vegetables to grow and require little maintenance. They’re great for adding flavor to soups and stews, but also as a side dish, sautéed with some garlic and onions!

By planting leeks next to your tomatoes, you may find that fewer pests make it to your tomatoes. In a square foot garden, you can plant 9 per square foot.


greek oregano
Greek Oregano

Oregano is a herb that has a spicy, aromatic flavor. It’s very easy to grow, and the seeds can be found almost everywhere seeds for anything are sold. Oregano is used to make pasta sauces, pizza, and condiments like marinara sauce and salsa, so you’ll never run out of uses for this versatile herb.

Like other herbs, it is perfect for growing in the kitchen or on a sunny window sill, so it is a perfect plant to grow if you don’t have a lot of space for growing vegetables.

red rubin basil hydroponic

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