15 High-Yield Vegetables for Small-Space Gardens

Are you struggling to grow enough food in your small backyard or patio garden?

Don’t let limited space hold you back from producing a bountiful harvest!

This guide to “15 High-Yield Vegetables for Small-Space Gardens” will show you how to maximize every square foot and enjoy a continuous supply of fresh, nutritious produce.

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn space-saving techniques to grow 15 high-yield vegetable crops in even the tiniest gardens.
  • Discover succession planting strategies and vertical growing methods to increase yields.
  • Explore nutrient-dense options perfect for stocking your survival garden.

1. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a staple crop for any survival garden, offering a bountiful harvest in a compact area.

These prolific plants keep producing throughout the growing season with proper care.

Staking and Pruning for Maximum Tomato Yields

  • Stake or cage tomato plants to support their growth and increase yields.
  • Prune suckers (side shoots) regularly to direct the plant’s energy into fruit production.
  • Remove low-hanging branches to improve air circulation and prevent disease.

Best Tomato Varieties for Small Spaces

VarietyPlant SizeNotes
Bush GoliathCompactLarge, meaty fruits
Tiny TimPatioProduces abundant cherry tomatoes
Patio PrincessDwarfDisease-resistant, suitable for containers
Sweet ‘n’ NeatDeterminateSweet, flavorful fruits on a manageable plant

Tomatoes thrive in full sun and well-draining soil rich in organic matter.

Water deeply and consistently, especially during fruiting.

Mulch around plants to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

With proper support, pruning, and care, tomato plants can provide a continuous harvest throughout the growing season. For more tips on growing tomatoes, check out this article on potatoes as a survival crop.

2. Beans

Beans are an excellent choice for small gardens, offering a high yield in a short period. They also fix nitrogen in the soil, benefiting nearby plants.

Bush vs. Pole Beans

  • Bush beans grow compactly and don’t require staking, making them ideal for small spaces.
  • Pole beans climb vertically, maximizing space efficiency but requiring support like a trellis or teepee.

Beans as a Complete Protein Source

Beans are a nutritious source of plant-based protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals.

Consider growing a variety of bean types, such as green beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, and lima beans.

Beans prefer well-draining soil and full sun exposure.

Sow seeds directly in the ground after the last frost date, and provide consistent moisture throughout the growing season.

Bush beans typically mature in 50-60 days, while pole beans take slightly longer but produce a higher overall yield.

For more fast-growing vegetable options, check out this article.

3. Carrots

Carrots are a versatile root vegetable that can be grown in containers or raised beds, making them a smart choice for small-space gardens.

For more benefits of raised bed gardening, see this article.

Soil Preparation for Sweet, Crisp Carrots

  • Loosen the soil to a depth of at least 12 inches to allow for optimal carrot root development.
  • Incorporate well-aged compost or aged manure to improve soil texture and nutrient content.
  • Avoid over-fertilizing, as too much nitrogen can cause carrots to fork or become hairy.

Carrot Thinning Techniques

  • Thin carrot seedlings to 2-3 inches apart once they reach 4 inches tall.
  • Use the thinned carrots as tasty microgreens or carrot tops in salads or pesto.
  • Thinning promotes proper root development and prevents overcrowding.

Carrots prefer loose, sandy soil and full sun exposure.

See also  12 Secret Garden Ideas for Your Survival Garden

Sow seeds directly in the ground as soon as the soil can be worked in spring. Keep the soil consistently moist, and consider using row covers to deter carrot fly pests.

With proper thinning and soil preparation, carrots can provide a continuous harvest throughout the growing season.

4. Radishes

Radishes are a fast-growing, cool-season crop that can be harvested multiple times in a single growing season, making them an excellent choice for small gardens.

For more quick-growing vegetable options, check out this article.

Succession Planting Radishes

  • Sow radish seeds every 2-3 weeks for a continuous harvest.
  • Interplant radishes with slower-growing crops like carrots or beets to maximize space efficiency.

Radish Varieties for Different Seasons

VarietySeasonNotes
Cherry BelleSpring/FallRound, bright red roots
French BreakfastSpring/FallElongated, crisp, mild flavor
White IcicleSummerLong, white roots, tolerate warmer temperatures
DaikonFall/WinterLarge, pungent Asian radish

Radishes prefer cool temperatures and well-draining soil rich in organic matter.

Sow seeds directly in the ground as soon as the soil can be worked in spring or again in late summer for a fall crop.

Radishes are ready to harvest in as little as 3-4 weeks, making them an excellent choice for quick yields in small spaces.

5. Beets

Beets are a nutritious root vegetable that can be grown for their greens and roots, offering a double harvest in a small space.

Beets – A Nutrient Powerhouse

  • Beets are an excellent source of folate, manganese, potassium, and vitamin C.
  • The greens are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as fiber and antioxidants.

Harvesting Beet Greens and Roots

  • Harvest beet greens by cutting the outer leaves, leaving the inner leaves to continue growing.
  • Pull beet roots when they reach the desired size, typically 1-3 inches in diameter.
  • Store beet roots in a cool, humid environment for long-term storage.

Beets prefer well-draining soil rich in organic matter and full sun exposure.

Sow seeds directly in the ground as soon as the soil can be worked in spring.

Thin seedlings to 3-4 inches apart when they reach 4 inches tall.

With regular harvesting of the greens and roots, beets can provide a continuous harvest throughout the growing season.

For more nutrient-dense crops to grow, see this article.

6. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are a staple in any survival garden, offering a wealth of nutrients and versatility in the kitchen.

Cut-and-Come-Again Harvesting

  • Practice cut-and-come-again harvesting by cutting the outer leaves, leaving the inner leaves to continue growing.
  • This method allows for a continuous harvest from the same plant.

Greens for Cool and Warm Seasons

Cool SeasonWarm Season
SpinachSwiss Chard
LettuceKale
ArugulaCollard Greens
Mustard GreensNew Zealand Spinach

Leafy greens prefer cool temperatures and well-draining soil rich in organic matter.

Sow seeds directly in the ground or start transplants indoors for an earlier harvest. Provide consistent moisture and partial shade during the hottest months to prevent bolting.

With cut-and-come-again harvesting, leafy greens can provide a continuous supply of fresh greens throughout the growing season.

For more tips on indoor gardening, check out this article.

7. Zucchini

Zucchini plants are prolific producers, offering a bountiful harvest of nutrient-dense squash in a relatively small space.

Controlling Zucchini Plant Spread

  • Plant zucchini in hills or containers to control their sprawling growth habit.
  • Prune off excess vines and leaves to direct the plant’s energy into fruit production.

Recipes for Using Up Zucchini Harvests

  • Grate zucchini and use it in quick breads, muffins, or pancakes.
  • Slice or spiralize zucchini for zucchini noodles or fritters.
  • Grill, roast, or sauté zucchini as a side dish or addition to stir-fries.
  • Pickle or ferment excess zucchini for long-term storage.
See also  15 Bucket-Friendly Foods for Year-Round Survival Gardening

Zucchini plants thrive in full sun and well-draining, nutrient-rich soil.

Provide consistent moisture, especially once fruiting begins.

With proper spacing and pruning, zucchini can produce a prolific harvest in a small area. For more space-saving gardening tips, see this article on vegetables for small-space gardening.

8. Cucumbers

Cucumbers are a refreshing and hydrating addition to any survival garden, offering a high yield in a compact space.

Vertical Growing for Cucumbers

  • Grow cucumbers vertically on a trellis or cage to save space and improve air circulation.
  • Use a sturdy support system, as cucumbers can become heavy as they mature.

Pickling and Preserving Cucumbers

  • Pickle surplus cucumbers for long-term storage and preservation.
  • Explore various pickling methods, such as refrigerator, water-bath canning, or lacto-fermentation.
  • Dehydrate or ferment cucumbers for alternative preservation methods.

Cucumbers require full sun, consistent moisture, and nutrient-rich soil.

Sow seeds directly in the ground after the last spring frost, or start seeds indoors for an earlier harvest.

With vertical growing techniques and proper preservation methods, cucumbers can be a productive and versatile crop in small gardens.

For more tips on growing food vertically, see this article on vertical gardening for preppers.

9. Peppers

Peppers are a versatile crop that can add flavor and nutrition to your survival garden, with both sweet and hot varieties available.

Hot vs. Sweet Pepper Varieties

Hot PeppersSweet Peppers
JalapeñoBell Pepper
HabaneroBanana Pepper
SerranoShishito
CayenneCubanelle

Overwintering Pepper Plants

  • In mild climates, pepper plants can be overwintered indoors for an early start the following season.
  • Prune back the plant and bring it indoors before the first frost.
  • Provide ample sunlight and water sparingly during the dormant period.

Peppers thrive in full sun and well-draining, nutrient-rich soil.

Consistent moisture and mulching can help prevent problems like blossom end rot. With a variety of peppers, both hot and sweet, you can add flavor and nutrition to your survival garden crops.

Check out this article on winter gardening techniques for tips on overwintering plants.

10. Eggplants

Eggplants are a nutrient-rich, prolific crop that can thrive in small spaces, offering a continuous harvest throughout the growing season.

Eggplant Growth Requirements

  • Eggplants prefer well-draining, nutrient-rich soil and consistent moisture.
  • Provide ample sunlight (at least 6 hours per day) for optimal fruit production.
  • Mulch around the plants to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Grilling and Roasting Eggplants

  • Grilling or roasting eggplants enhances their flavor and texture.
  • Brush or toss eggplant slices with olive oil, herbs, and spices before cooking.
  • Use grilled or roasted eggplant in dips, spreads, or as a base for vegetarian dishes.

Eggplants require warm temperatures and plenty of sun to produce their best yields.

Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last spring frost for an earlier harvest.

With proper care and preparation, eggplants can be a productive addition to small-space survival gardens.

For more beginner gardening tips, check out this article on easy vegetables for new gardeners.

11. Potatoes

Potatoes are a staple crop that can provide a substantial yield in a small garden space, offering a nutritious source of carbohydrates and essential vitamins and minerals.

Container Potato Growing

  • Grow potatoes in containers, burlap sacks, or raised beds to maximize space efficiency.
  • As the plants grow, continue adding soil or mulch around the stems to encourage more tuber production.

Curing and Storing Potatoes

  • After harvesting, cure potatoes by allowing them to sit in a dark, well-ventilated area for 2-4 weeks.
  • Store cured potatoes in a cool, dark location with high humidity for long-term storage.
  • Ideal storage conditions are 40-50°F and 90% relative humidity.
See also  Top 10 Edible Plants to Grow Indoors Year-Round

Potatoes require well-draining soil and at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.

They can tolerate slightly cooler soil than some other crops.

With the right container setup and curing process, potatoes can be an excellent calorie-dense crop for small survival gardens.

For an in-depth look at growing potatoes, check out this dedicated article.

12. Onions

Onions are a versatile crop that can add flavor and nutrition to your survival garden, with both long-day and short-day varieties available.

Long-Day vs. Short-Day Onions

Long-Day OnionsShort-Day Onions
Walla WallaTexas Grano
CopraBurgundy
Yellow Sweet SpanishRed Creole
Southport Red GlobeGranex

Onion Curing and Braiding

  • After harvesting, cure onions by leaving them in a dry, well-ventilated area for 2-4 weeks.
  • Once cured, braid onion tops together for easy storage and air circulation.
  • Properly cured and braided onions can store for several months.

Onions require full sun and well-draining soil.

Long-day varieties are typically planted in cooler northern climates, while short-day onions do better in warmer southern regions.

Consistent moisture is key during the growing season. Proper curing allows onions to be stored for months to extend your food supply.

For more long-term storage crops, see this article on essential survival crops.

13. Squash

Squash is a prolific and versatile crop that can provide a bountiful harvest in a small space, offering both summer and winter varieties.

Winter Squash Storage Tips

  • Cure winter squash by leaving them in a warm, dry location for 2-4 weeks after harvest.
  • Store cured winter squash in a cool, dry location with good air circulation.
  • Check squash regularly and discard any that show signs of spoilage.

Battling Squash Vine Borers

  • Monitor squash plants for signs of vine borers, such as entry holes or sawdust-like frass.
  • Use row covers or netting to prevent adult moths from laying eggs on the plants.
  • Apply beneficial nematodes or Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) to control vine borer populations.

Squash loves warm temperatures, full sun, and nutrient-rich soil.

Bush varieties are more compact for small spaces.

Proper curing allows winter squash to be stored for months. Stay vigilant for pests like squash vine borers which can quickly damage plants.

For more beneficial garden insects, see this guide.

14. Peas

Peas are a cool-season crop that can provide a bountiful harvest in a small space while also fixing nitrogen in the soil.

Pea Inoculants and Trellising

  • Inoculate pea seeds with a nitrogen-fixing inoculant before planting to improve soil health.
  • Provide a sturdy trellis or support system for pea vines to climb and maximize space efficiency.

Pea Shoot Microgreens

  • Harvest pea shoots as microgreens for a nutrient-dense crop before the peas mature.
  • Pea shoots are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron and zinc.
  • Enjoy pea shoots in salads, sandwiches, or as a garnish for added flavor and nutrition.

Peas can tolerate cooler soil than many crops, making them a good early spring option. They require consistent moisture and prefer nutrient-rich, well-draining soil.

With trellising and microgreen harvesting, peas can be a productive part of small-space gardening.

For more on growing microgreens, see this guide.

15. Garlic

Garlic is a versatile and flavorful crop that can be easily grown in small spaces, offering culinary and medicinal benefits.

Planting and Harvesting Garlic

  • Plant garlic cloves in the fall, with the pointed end facing up, about 6 inches apart.
  • Harvest garlic bulbs in mid-summer when the tops begin to yellow and fall over.
  • Cure garlic bulbs by laying them out in a dry, well-ventilated area for 2-4 weeks.

Using Garlic Scapes

  • Garlic scapes are the curled flower stalks that emerge from the plant in early summer.
  • Harvest scapes to redirect the plant’s energy into bulb development.
  • Use garlic scapes in pesto, stir-fries, or as a flavorful addition to various dishes.

Garlic requires well-draining soil and full sun.

With a fall planting schedule and proper curing after harvest, garlic can be a low-maintenance crop that stores well.

Don’t forget to use the scapes too for added flavor!

For more on garlic and other survival crops, check out this article on the highest calorie crops.

Bottom Line

With smart spacing, succession planting, and soil preparation, these 15 high-yield vegetable crops can maximize your garden’s output in a small footprint.

Focus on nutrient-dense foods to sustain your survival needs from your own backyard!

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