Arrange vegetable gardens in small blocks instead of rows. Watering a block of plants is a more efficient option than spraying water over a long row. Design blocks with a maximum 3-foot width to provide easy reachable access.
Hellstrips with vegetable gardens can include flowers for season-long beauty and better productivity. Annual hellstrip plantings can lie fallow under piled winter snow, then be planted fresh in spring, says author Evelyn J. Hadden, whose book, "Hellstrip Gardening," features this St. Paul, Minn., hellstrip. She suggests using a winter mulch to protect soil from erosion.
Regular harvesting will keep plants, such as these in containers along a walkway, producing. You also will get even more produce from your small space, says Melinda Myers, an urban gardener. For example, she suggests picking outer leaves of lettuce and other greens when they are 4 to 6 inches tall and Swiss chard and kale when 8 to 10 inches inches tall.
Vegetables that bear heavily, such as tomatoes, corn, peppers, squash, broccoli and watermelon, are heavy feeders. Most grow well with a 5-10-10 fertilizer mixed into the soil at spring planting. Once the weather becomes warmer, these veggies can benefit from a second application, or side dressing. Follow label directions on the product you're using.
Micro gardens can be started in even the tiniest of containers and spaces. You can make miniature greenhouses for seed raising and microgreens by upcycling plastic food-grade punnets and bottles, suggests Anne Gibson of themicrogardener.com.
Make every day a farmers market in your home by using crates to store and display fruits and veggies. This DIY crate stand project uses bins from Crates & Pallet in a wheeled cart made of reclaimed pallet wood.
Built-in planter boxes made of redwood give a young family easy access to vegetable and herbs in their backyard, surrounded by two- and three-story apartment buildings in San Francisco. The project by St John Landscapes won a 2015 award from the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.
Chef Ronnie Potter-Bowers used vegetables from the The Swag Country Inn's garden for this adaptable vegetable soup, but you can modify the recipe depending on what's fresh in your garden or at the farmers' market.
Your kitchen garden can be as elaborate as a large plot of land sporting many raised beds and trellises or as simple as a few pots on a sunny balcony. As long as you have a spot that gets five to six hours of sun (hopefully near the kitchen, thus the name), well-amended soil or a good potting medium and are committed to the process, your garden will thrive.