Fun stuff to do

Plant a compact vegetable garden

More Go Green! projects:

What makes this compact garden so productive is that you will be placing plants close together in squares instead of traditional rows. You can continue to plant as you harvest.

garden-big2WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Hammer
  • Saw
  • Shovel
  • Wire cutters
  • Tape measure
  • 4 4-foot 2-by-10’s
  • 16d galvanized nails
  • 2 6-foot 2-by-4’s
  • 4-foot 2-by-4
  • 49 feet of 12-gauge galvanized wire, cut into 7 7-foot lengths
  • 8d galvanized nails
  • About 1/2 cubic yard or 14 cubic feet of good garden soil
  • A sunny spot for your garden



1. Using the 2-by-10’s and 16d nails, hammer together a 4-foot square.


2. Nail the 6-foot 2-by-4’s to the back of the frame.

3. Nail the 4-foot 2-by-4 across the back of the uprights.

4. Attach the 7 wires on the back of the trellis by wrapping wires around nails.


Fill the frame with good garden soil. Divide it into 16 squares. The smaller the mature plant, the more you can plant in each square.

A Helpful Garden

Nail 5/8-inch or heavier exterior plywood to the bottom of the frame and lift the frame to table height by placing it on sturdy saw horses or legs. Once filled with soil, it will be easily accessible to a person in a wheelchair or someone who is more comfortable sitting than kneeling.

Comments about “Plant a compact vegetable garden”

  1. concerned; says:

    If you put plywood on bottom..wouldn’t that cause mold and mildew ?

  2. Karl says:

    how do you protect your plantings from rabbits/birds etc?

    • Erin says:

      What kept the squirrels and rabbits at bay around my house was a solution with cayenne pepper. It seemed to work quite well. I didn’t have trouble with birds as they ate any slugs or other insects that would have damaged my plants.

  3. rosemary hope says:

    This is a great garden! I wish I could duplicate it somehow!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful idea!

  5. Anonymous says:

    We built a raised bed similar to this but much bigger. We used cedar 6 x 6 removed the grass so no bottom was required on the structure. One side has asparagus that provides a great supply in early spring. The other is mostly herbs and tomatoes and rhubarb. I will try to add a trellis in the middle and try growing some runner beans along side the tomatoes.

  6. Rachel says:

    We also plant tomatoes against our board fence and we get 8 foot plants that really produce. You just have to tie them to the fence in spots to help hold the weight.

  7. Kim says:

    All the plants in the diagram should not be planted at the same time. Most of them are to be planted in the Fall.

  8. real browser says:

    real method of growing our own veggies

  9. novice says:

    Could you use the wavy roof material for the bottom… drill drain holes every so often, line with a small layer of stones and brace three times with treated wood on the bottom side?

  10. Granny says:

    Close planting (“overplanting”) doesn’t give weeds much room. I did this kind of garden once in a 7′ X 3′ plot outside my breakfast room window and grew the climbers on strings tacked to the window-frame. It was lush and wonderful!

  11. Pent says:

    Why would you put Broccoli near Tomato? Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc, as well as potatoes, inhibit tomato growth. Use basil, or something else that compliments tomatoes.

  12. the scout says:

    way to small for all those plants!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Bakerger says:

    I love to bake by trade but am really excited to try my hand at a garden. Love to cook and my grandchildren are excited to eat veggies that we grow at home.

  14. Fi says:

    It looks really great, but i’ve always learned that the combination tomato/cucumber very unfortunate is!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Seems kind of crowded, but I like the idea. I made some garden boxes today using the composite wood. Didn’t want to use pressure/green treated wood due to chemicals.

  16. Michelle says:

    You can use rough-sawn hemlock from a local mill, it is naturally rot-resistant. Even regular pine should last a few years.

  17. Grangran says:

    Instead of using a tarp to controll weeds cover bottom of area with cardboard. It will allow water to drain and when it breaks down it becomes part of the soil

  18. Mac says:

    You do need to allow for drainage and should not use pressure treated wood.

    • Firestation23 says:

      Do not use green pressure treated lumber because it will leach into the soil. However, there is a red/brown pressure treated out there now that is not suppose to be toxic.

  19. Revann59 says:

    For a boy scout project I think its a great learning tool. I also think its a great starter plan that can be built on.

  20. jewel says:

    if you nail a piece of plywood on the bottom (to be able to raise it up… won’t you have drainage issues?

    • Sparklus says:

      I used some old plastic shelving to raise my garden box up. It was the dark gray utility type shelving that has holes already in it. It worked perfectly. The garden produced great veggies all summer long. The plywood underneath does work also. The excess water finds its way out around the edges of the box. I know someone that has one like that going this year and it’s been successful so far.

  21. ZombieGardener says:

    Wouldn’t pressure treated woods leach into the soil when it rains?

  22. beth says:

    Excellent idea….going to do this spring….thank you

  23. Gumby says:

    The idea is nice, but the plants that they mention to grow….you need more space. A tomato plant next to all the others? Unless you’re going to constantly trim it back, its not going to work.

    • nematode says:

      It’s true, the tomatoes would normally need more space, but when you grow them up the twine trellis you prune any suckers and just grow a single stem up the twine. The plant takes up very little space this way.

  24. Iamcheif says:

    If you ever find yellow leaves or dead leaves and all the rest is green it could and very well be a disease so pick the leaves off so it doesn’t spread.

  25. jstntime2bhere says:

    The trellis, as long as directions are followed, shouldn’t need extra support. The taller the trellis, the more support it will need.

    You could line the bottom with a tarp but to help with wood rot, try pressure treated boards.

  26. Betc says:

    I going to try this.

  27. rachel says:

    Does the trellis need extra support?

  28. Amanda says:

    Could u line the bottom with a tarp to help protect the wood from rotting or would that bleed chemicals into the soil?

    • tx gardener says:

      a tarp would not allow for good drainage, and may speed up rotting. I would use weed block on the bottom to prevent weeds and place on the ground in a sunny spot.

      • roxi says:

        you could drill holes in the plywood ‘floor’, but i would reinforce it with a couple of cross beams on the bottom

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