Small garden, no ideas

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Behind our house, each apartment unit also owns a very small garden. Each unit is about 4x3 meters (10x13 foot). In future years i might get more units as the elder neighbours wont use them anymore. But for now i only have one.

My neighbours seem to grow a lot of vegetables on their gardens. I am looking for ideas on how to make this small spot meaningful. Which vegetables to grow, how to position them, etc. to make the garden make sense. The first year i only grew tomatoes and i made about 3 kilograms of tomatoes in a whole year - at the same time in store i would pay like 5$ for that. Didnt really make sense.

Right now i am thinking of just growing potatoes, since they are easy to grow and probably can grow a lot of them, and carrots since i own some animals that eat them. Other than that, i am out of ideas.

My goal is that at the end of the year, i would have grown enough vegetables or fruit that i could say, hey, i saved $$ by growing this instead of buying it in store. It would be great if i could choose vegetables that some of them would grow in the hotter part of year and some would grow in the colder part of year, to use the whole year. My country is in moderate continental climate.
 
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Careful analysis will provide sound evidence that mass production farming is more efficient than most people realize. The price is a loss of cut corners and exposure to acceptable levels of chemicals. Strawberry production for example requires extreme soil sterilization at a production farm level. Residual chemistry like glyophosate is left over from the dessication of grains prior to harvest and can show up in your cereal. So you will achieved a major thing to produce food cheaper than our system can currently spend. However, if you put money into seed starting mats instead of nursury grown plants and make inroads into recycling what is possible to produce composts and reduce fertilizer costs, maybe it will have a low enough cost to you that the increased organic quality of your food is worth it to you. Gardening is nothing if not a journey of discovery, and you could do better than you have done in your own opinion. Sounds like you have started a new hobby to me.
 

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Suggest you consider brassicas e.g. cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, etc. in the cool weather months assuming you like to eat those. Sugar snap peas, turnips, radishes, etc. like the cool weather.

Pole beans of various types would be a good warm weather crop to consider. Growing vertically helps with space. Cucumber and some melons are also climbers. Lots of choices.

If you expect to garden years consecutively in the same space, you will need to carefully consider crop rotations and plan accordingly. Companion planting can be effectively used also.


As for saving money, what value do you place on "taste" and "quality"? That is what makes it more than worthwhile for me.
 
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Greetings, welcome to the Forums.

I agree that quality of produce and experiential joy should be factored into your garden's value as well as monetary cost and profit.

Still, if you are trying to get the most food for least expenditure, potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) are a good choice.

Conversely, if there is a particularly expensive vegetable, fruit, or herb that you enjoy, you might do well, cost-wise, to try growing that.
 
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Thank you for your answers,
taste and quality matters too, ofcourse, and the joy of growing your own food. But it is also a nice feeling knowing that instead of spending money in a store, you grew something and can spend the money elsewhere. That is why i am thinking of trying potatoes - you can eat them everyday and store them for a long time and it can actualy be a meal, unlike tomatoes. i am also thinking carrots. Also cabbage. If i put the base of cabbage that i bought and ate, will that grow aswel? Or i need seeds ? I tried lettuce, which is expensive and neighbours grow tons of that, but when i tried it last year on my window shelves, there were tiny white/green animals all over them and i couldnt eat it even after i washed it. i really like tomatoes and cucumber, its my favourite salat dish, the only problem is that u need to put sticks into soil and fix it like every week.

How about strawberries. If i put them very close together, how much u think i can grow in a year in this small garden ? Strawberries are really expensive here.
 
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Strawberries could be an excellent crop. There are woodland strawberries (Fragaria vesca) and higher yielding hybrids (F. x ananassa), of which there are different categories: June-bearing (early, mid, and late) vs. Ever-bearing (long day vs day-neutral).

You might be able to increase your growing area for strawberries by constructing a slanted wall or multi-tiered bed.

Yes, Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum cvs.) and Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus cvs.) will often benefit from a treelis or cage but once installed it shouldn't be too much additional effort.

Perhaps try growing some lettuce (Lactuca sativa cvs.) in the space between other plantings. Growing several crops together can be an excellent use of space.
 

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