Why Start With A Small Garden?

3 comments by Halley -Author at MIGardener

What I think of when I think of the word garden, I think of a cute little plot in England, or behind a log cabin. Why do I think that? I have no clue. I have always liked the quaint aspect of a garden, But yet the size of a large one is awe inspiring. When I decided to build a garden I started out small. The reason being, I did not want to overload myself. Often as gardeners we want to think so big that we become a small fish in a big pond, and are easily overwhelmed. There is no question that 300 square feet is easier to maintain than 3,000 square feet. But the truth is, it really isn't. I suggest starting a small garden first because it gets you used to the tasks that come along with a garden. Your attention is not being drawn on the garden as a whole, but more or less focused on each individual plant. The experience you will gain from this hands on experience will be beneficial to you and your garden since each plant gets the care it needs. 

But what happens when you want to expand you garden? 

Simple. Like I stated earlier with 300 square feet being no harder than 3,000 square feet. Once you know what each plant requires, and realize that each plant will react the same as the others, you can begin looking at the garden as a whole instead of each individual plant. Sure weeding becomes more tedious, BUT none the less is still the same amount of weeds per square foot as if it where 300. The fertilizing can be done in bulk, amending can all be done at the same time, and watering can be done with a drip system. There is no doubt in my mind that when I went from a 300 square foot garden to a 3400 square foot garden that it was easier. It was easier because the needs of the plants are the same, and all you do is replicate on a larger scale. So if in the future I wanted to go to a 1 acre plot, I absolutely feel confident I could do so. 

In conclusion, I would recommend starting smaller than you would feel comfortable with, because the tiny gardens are where you learn the basics, and the ins and outs of plant requirements, watering schedules, analyzing what nutrient deficiencies look like, and so on. It will better prepare you for a larger garden in the near future, and will set you up for more success in the garden as well. 


  • Martha Davis

    Will you be getting more seeds for dwarf plants?

  • Alice

    Hahaha! I agree but you forgot to mention that gardening is an addiction and pretty soon you want to grow ALL the things! Start small while you can because that phase doesn’t last.

    All kidding aside, you need to think of your circumstances. If you aren’t ready or able to have a drip system, think of how much watering you can keep up with. Here in Missouri it gets brutally hot at some point in the summer. Even with mulching, there are times when, if you don’t water every day, you can lose your garden in a matter of days. Watering can be pretty time consuming. However, if you build on experience, start small, and grow methodically from there, I agree that enlarging one’s garden is very achievable. Even in an urban area without lots of land available, gardening in large pots can expand the possibilities. Starting small also gives you a chance to figure out what does well for you, what doesn’t, and what you do and don’t like growing or eating without making a big commitment.

    It also gives you time to figure out the logistics of a larger garden. I’m in an urban setting in an old apartment without an outside hose bib. My garden is a distance from the basement and the hose needs to cross the parking pad to reach the garden. I’m having to put some thought into how to manage a more efficient way of watering. However, I’m confident that with time, creative thinking, and ideas from gardening friends that I’ll figure something out. Every year is a chance to learn and refine what we do.

    Thanks for all you do, Luke. I’ve gotten lots of good ideas from you.

  • Janae

    I absolutely agree with this, I started small with a couple raised beds and a strawberry patch and I’m so excited and pumped to turn last years chicken yard into another larger garden space next spring. The little raised beds encouraged me to grow more next year!

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