Small gardens provide big returns

Jerry Apps
Little gardens provide big returns.

Don’t have enough room for a vegetable garden? Too old to garden? I’ve heard these comments many times over the years. Let me begin by saying, you are never too old to garden. My father was gardening when he was 92, and never once did I hear him say he was too old to do it. And you don’t need a lot of space for a garden.

An example that I have in my backyard is pictured above and it is four feet, by eight feet. It is also a raised garden so I don’t have to bend over to tend it and harvest the vegetables. My son-in-law, Paul built it. It’s about four feet high, with a three-foot fence on top to keep out the pesky rabbits. Once the framework was up, we put a layer of gravel on the bottom and then filled the space with soil from my compost pile, along with a few bags of topsoil.

So far this spring, I have planted radishes, lettuce, and peas. When it warms up, I’ll plant beans close to the fence so they can climb it, and likewise, I’ll plant cucumbers that can climb the fence. I may even sneak in a couple of zucchini plants, plant a few beets, and a few onions. There are no rows, although I tend to keep the various vegetables separated from each other. I’ll keep you posted as to how my little garden does this summer.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Remember the Victory gardens from WWII? A garden need not take up much space.

Jerry Apps

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work go to