View Full Version : Tiny garden needs top producing veg recommendations.

03-19-2009, 12:26 AM
Hello, I have a tiny, 3' by 12' raised bed that has been nearly fallow for a few years. It gets good sun 10 hours a day, with trees blocking the sun both early in the morning and late afternoon. There is a 6' fence behind it so it might get a bit hot in August, being that I am in northern VA which is a Burpee zone 7. The soil is decent, but I don't know if it is acidic or what. I am in need of some tips on what I should plant if I want some good producing vegetables. I did 3 cherry tomato plants last year and they did great, producing 8 or 9 tomatoes every other day for months. My neighbors heirloom tomatos got eaten up by the squirrels so I may stick with the cherry tomatos. So I thought I might do 5 cherry tomatoes staked up at the back of the bed, then maybe a cucumber or two below, with 2 or 3 bean plants, a little cilantro, replant my favorite basil plants which I took inside over the winter. But I bet I am missing some productive plants, I like to eat what I grow. I will also probably line the front of the bed with a low standing (so it won't shadow the cucumbers or the beans) flower to give it some color, but I would prefer the color to be edible if possible. Is there a colorful sage?
Also, are there veg's that don't tolerate each other, i.e. will the cuke strangle the tomatoes or suck away their water? I don't know what I don't know, I guess.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!

03-21-2009, 03:44 PM
I'm not familiar with veggies that "attack" each other, but there are many beneficial reliationships. Beans and corn (the beans help fertilize the corn AND use the corn as supports). Apparently tomatoes and carrots (though I don't know why).

If you planted any flower consider marigolds. They're not edible, but they serve beneficial purposes near vegetable gardens by attracting good critters and warding off bad ones.

If the fence is close you can put pole beans or your cucumbers up near it and let them climb it (perhaps with the help of hooks or nails) thus saving space.

Generally, the main issue when mixing plants is making sure you don't put a plant that needs dry soil next to a plant that needs wet soil. OR you can place according to sunlight needs, making sure the ones that need the most sun in the best place for such. Most vegetables have roughly the same feeding & watering requirements so that isn't a big deal. Just, veggies that you grow for their foliage (basil, lettuce, cabbage, asparagus, etc) would do better with nitrogen fertilizer. Veggies you grow for their fruit (Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini) would rather have phosphorus.

Here is a list of veggie companion plantings:


If you want to be able to crowd your plants in closer together, dig your soil deeper and ammend it with a lot of compost. With the right soil you can do very high density planting.

Also, most people grow basil as an annual, you really don't need to take it indoors, and I'm not sure that it'll even perform well this year if you did. I would plant a new batch.

03-22-2009, 01:12 AM
I have added Marigolds, Carrots and Beets and maybe some sort of Kale or Broccoli to go between the tomato and bean plants. I am thinking it might look like
Tomato Kale Tomato Marigold Bean Beet Bean
Basil Basil Zuccini Carrots Carrots
marigold marigold marigold marigold marigold

Not sure if that will look like I entered it, but I am trying to keep my tomatos and my bean seperated by stuff that won't steal their sunlight and use the marigold to keep the critters at bay.
This started out as a way to get more tomatoes and basil, which were my best producers last year. My rosemary is looking pretty beat up after spending the winter out. Now I am kind of fired up to try beets, zucchini, beans, and carrots as well.
Thanks again!

04-08-2009, 06:13 PM
Tomatoes and cucumbers are a good combination. They both like sandy loam soils with lots of water. Cukes require bee pollination which tends to keep some pests away. Trellis both plants. They can co-exit side by side. Herbs will grow well at the base of the cukes and tomatoes. Hopefully your bed is oriented East to West to catch as much sun light as possible. Zucchinis and squash are also members of the cucurbit clan and will grow well but will require more space. They usually have very large leaves and the vines are extensive.

Good luck.

04-28-2009, 05:15 PM
With such a small garden, you need to garden vertically against the fence. I assume the twelve feet runs along the fence and three feet out from it.

The first foot against the fence can be planted with cukes, indeterminate tomatoes, beans up a trellis or net. Planting at twelve inch intervals, you could plant three cucumbers, three tomatoes, and twelve bean plants at 6 inch intervals.

Planting at close intervals requires high fertility and lots of water. Pour on the compost and organic fertilizer.

The tomatoes and cukes should be pruned to a single stem to get more fruit and less foliage.

That still leaves 2 x 12 feet for other veggies. Happy gardening.