Growing in tight conditions

I want to start a thread for people who don’t have acres of property… Who even do not have 1 acre. Quarter acre and bellow owners, let’s share what works and what doesn’t.

I want to start with growing in cinder blocks. My 0.15 acre is also has 5 different height levels, so I have plenty of cinder block walls to make horizontal space for planting. I can’t just afford waste 8 inches of the wall width, so I always looking for things I can plant in those walls. I tried lettuce(works), carrots(works), dill(works), but absolute champions are green beans. This is first year I planted them in the blocks. They germinated fast - thanks to the wall exposed to south-east side, but required initial fertilization at 2 true leaves stage (I usually don’t need to fertilize at all if planted in the fertilized garden bed ). We have very dry and hot first half of the summer, but they were OK with once a day watering, when carrots were not happy with just one watering a day. By the time they started to produce in June, they become bean-machines, and they still are. I guess most reason for it is the fact that beans produce their own nitrogen when roots are fully established and individual block prevents any competition.


When i lived in the trailer park i went vertical as much as possible. Cheap post with any type of fencing. Cucumbers, pumpkins, and melons all grew fine on there. The garden at the base of the fencing had my salad greens. Kept my little mulberry pruned back beside the porch.

There was a guy on the old GW site who had marvelous results growing in cinder blocks

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I’ve only got an eighth of an acre (including the house and a 2.5 car garage.

Space is an incredible premium and I yearly struggle with the city who dislike anything too close to structures, too close to fences, too tall (with a 6.5 foot arbor, the kiwis are going to be at least 7 feet in the air, which they find messy).

Two years ago I re-did 3 of my 5 raised beds, this time using cinder blocks instead of lumber. (which should give me more than a 4-5 year life, unlike the lumber.) City required that all cinder blocks were turned so that the visible faces were all solid concrete (none of the open sides) and that the soil within be high enough that the holes on the sides were not visible (evidently that stops critters, lol)

I had to thin out lots of stuff this year. Interestingly found out that pawpaw prunings have a gasoline like smell when one breaks up quantities of them. My nectarine is now gone, along with my most mature autumn olive and a number of currants I had been growing.

I saw posted a few weeks back a driveway with potted (figs if I recall). I have a large number of potted plants as well. My driveway is much longer, though (4-5 cars can easily fit) Guy from the city “recommended” that I needed a fence if I was going to have that many potted plants out as well. He also expressed concern about what if the plants I am growing in pots were to escape into the surrounding environment (Aussie Finger lime, non-hardy passionflowers, figs, eucalyptus, monkey puzzle tree, etc). I assured him that likely-hood was slim as the potted plants are non-native and not hardy for hundreds of miles from around here.

There is a grass warrior behind me who has taken it upon himself to “report” anyone whose house is not to his liking. I got myself into compliance, but my next door neighbor (who loves the fruit I grow and he can access from his side of the fence) is still under threat of fine. I’ve been over there much of the last week helping out.



Oh, my! I don’t know how would i do my garden like that. I am lucky, I am in a city, but on a side, unpaved road, neighbors all fine with my gardening, especially with sharing of veggies :grin: .

I’m in the city, but on a corner lot which is large for my neighborhood. Still under an acre though, for sure. I don’t have much experience with cinder block growing, but I do a lot of vertical growth. We put up T posts along the South facing side of the house, which is behind a privacy fence, and strung some fencing up between them. We grow grapes and a rose on it, although I may take out the grape. It ended up being sour and full of seeds, and I feel I can find something better. Not sure what, but something. I grow most of my melons, beans and peas upwards.

1/4 acre, no lawn, small house in corner of lot.
About 40 fruiting trees, shrubs, and vines planted in ground.
Another 32 vegetables and herbs in 4 planter beds.
8 ornamental planter beds + 6 potted plumerias.
All plants on automated irrigation.
3 automated bubbling fountains for birds.
9-hole miniature golf course running through fruit trees.


How about 100 plus trees in a greenhouse.


Yes, we all been watching it built)

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it is unfair, your greenhouse is probably just a bit smaller then my yard :grin:

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Please tell me about vertical melon growing. I grow many things vertical, but I tried melons once and didn’t like the result. What kind do you grow, how high and wide the support is, do you plant one or two melons in same hole? What do you use to hang the melons?

1/10 th of an acre with almost 30 fruit trees! Ate a delicious 19.5 brix arctic jay about 15 mins ago :smile:


And it is amazing!

I’m new at melon growing- I completely failed last year. This year I will have between 5 and 10 though! Feels like a victory. As long as chipmunks don’t eat melons? :thinking:

I am letting a Wilson’s Sweet watermelon crawl on the ground, as it didn’t seem interested in growing up. The ones that like to climb are called Vert Grimpant, or “green climbing,” I believe it’s French; The other is Zatta, also known as Brutto ma Buona, “ugly but good,” in Italian. They’re small, they fit in the palm of my hand and won’t get much bigger. Single serve melons, perhaps.

The last pic is my messy fruit garden. There’s an approx 3 ft fence, just T posts with cheap green wire fencing zip tied to it. That’s all I’ve got for the small melons at present. They’re hanging on quite well.


Wow! All individual trees?

How do you keep your trees small? Or do you replace them more frequently?

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Love to see your compact orchard for an inspiration.

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Water restriction and summer pruning. Also yes they usually get replaced rather soon as I move on to something else.

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I’d set up my bed in there if I had the option :smiley:


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How big do the trunks typically get? Also, what roots do you use for the plums and nectarines in the greenhouse?