11 vegetable garden ideas for small spaces

In capitalism, you eat food you pay for. You pay for the food out of your own pocket or by growing it yourself.

In 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives launched the model vegetable garden developed in collaboration with the Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Alliance (SUN CSA Kenya).

“Vegetable gardens are the easiest way for households to secure an inexpensive supply of fresh vegetables, herbs, spices and other plants,” said Anne Nyaga, Chief Administrative Secretary, at the event.

The model vegetable garden, located at Kilimo House in Upper Hill, Nairobi, is the centerpiece of the government’s call for families to grow home gardens, ‘at least one million vegetable gardens across the country’ , Nyaga said.

Affordable food at home

“The goal is not just to make food available, but also to improve the nutritional quality of that food: nutrition makes a difference,” said Martha Nyagaya, Chair of the Board of SUN CSA Kenya during the third national nutrition symposium that was taking place at the same time as the launch. from the vegetable garden.

Home Vegetable garden planted with spinach. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Evidence shows that most of the vegetables consumed by households in Nairobi are grown along polluted rivers and streams using sewage – which contains heavy metals and other toxic chemicals.

“Developing your own vegetable garden provides your family with a nutrient-dense diet that is non-toxic to your body and cannot cause cancer,” Nyagaya said.

The Nairobi County Assembly passed the Water and Sewerage Services Policy last year which prohibits the use of sewage and sewage to irrigate crops.

For those who want to start a vegetable garden, here are some of the easy-to-implement technologies that one could use to expand the system.

The Wick Irrigation Garden

This is a simple garden using jerry cans and a wick measuring 30cm long and 2cm wide. The wick – much like with a kerosene lamp – sucks the water down to the ground where the crop grows. The box is sliced ​​so that the lower half holds the water in which the wick is soaked and the upper half holds the soil, plant and wick. Most medium sized vegetables like spinach and cabbage would do well in a wick garden. Mounted on a wooden frame, the Wick Garden will fit easily into any space.

tire garden

Do you have used car tires of any size? If you do, don’t worry about how to get rid of it. Cut the tire to remove the inner rims on both sides. Place it on the ground to form a circle and fill it with soil and manure. The tire garden can be used to grow herbs like rosemary, fruits like strawberries, and vegetables like kale.

Simple Drip Irrigation Garden

With used plastic containers and a wall (or pole), a simple drip irrigation garden can be established. The best containers would be 5 liter jerry cans. The cans are cut so that they can be easily fixed to the wall or a pole and placed vertically on top of each other. On top of the canisters, a water-holding vessel with a hole in the bottom—from which water would drip when the lid is opened—is erected and operated.


The micro garden is simple to develop and best suited for city dwellers who have nothing but a balcony to grow food on. This involves using plastic containers like buckets to transport soil and manure. You can hang the buckets from the ceiling of the balcony or simply arrange the buckets on the floor. The micro garden is watered regularly according to the water needs of the culture.

The multi-storey garden

This garden uses bags and nets. You can also improvise with laundry in the form of bags. Holes of about 3 cm in diameter are cut and correctly spaced on the bag. Soil mixed with manure is then placed in it. Ballasts (or medium-sized stones) are piled in the center of the bag to form a midrib through which watering will be carried out. The bag is pulled up until it is full and straight. Vegetables – especially spinach and collard greens (sukuma wiki) – are transplanted from a nursery into the holes on the wall of the bag and a few at the top.

Food dress garden

The food robe garden is a vertical farm that combines micro-gardens and a vertical wooden structure designed to mimic shelves. The structure of the food dress must be erected by a professional who will ensure that it is strong enough to support the weight of several micro-gardens. The height inside the shelves is determined by the natural height of the cultivated species.

cone garden

The shape of the garden gives it its name. The garden has rings of soil compacted together and held in place by a thick, strong sheet of plastic. Each ring has a smaller diameter than the ring below. The cone garden is ideal for a backyard vegetable garden as it would require a slightly larger space to set up. Also, because it is bulky, the cone garden is erected directly on the ground surface. It looks like a steep hill with circular terraces. On each terrace, one can choose to plant a different species creating a collage that would be both a food source and an aesthetic one.

wet bed garden

Some plants grow best in moist soil. For example, arrowroot (nduma) and sweet potatoes. Some species of collard greens and cabbages also do well in a moist garden bed. The bed is constructed with waterproof plastic bags – preferably barrier liners – which trap moisture; allowing plants to absorb most of it. A wet bed garden is watered regularly to ensure that the soil is always moist. There are two types of wet bed gardens: raised and sunken (buried in the ground) wet bed gardens.

Stepped garden

This is yet another variation of a vertical vegetable garden. A stepped garden is constructed by using wood to create “stairs” on which buckets, wooden boxes, ponds and similar micro-gardens can be neatly placed and stored. Like all vertical farms, the stepped garden allows little space to be used for more food production.


Aquaponics would be the ultimate vegetable garden for a family that also values ​​animal protein. Aquaponics mimics the natural ecosystem in which aquatic life lives in symbiosis with terrestrial cultures. Fish eat their food and release waste into the water. The waste is then metabolized by bacteria to form fertilizers that can be used by plants. The water – the plants having exhausted the nutrients – is clean enough to redirect it to the fish.

Hanging gardens

Hanging gardens can be set up using almost any type of container. Do you only have liter juice bottles? You can absolutely create a hanging garden. The container is cut lengthwise to expose a larger area where soil mixed with manure can be placed. The crop is then planted. Watering is done twice a week. However, you must be careful not to overload a container, as this will delay the harvest due to competition for nutrients.

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