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Plant a compact vegetable garden

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.


What 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

What You’ll Do


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.

More Go Green! projects:

18 Comments on Plant a compact vegetable garden

  1. Strong wings // August 7, 2016 at 11:14 pm // Reply

    It’s not the same layout as in the diagram. I see one square with strawberries, not possible to grow like this, everything is too tight and sometimes not enough for a person. This would have to be a lot bigger.

  2. Very good idea, looks great. Looking forward to trying it. Thank you for the idea. 😊

  3. Troop 254 πŸ† // April 16, 2016 at 11:37 pm // Reply

    Try this : take a empty soda bottle / can / milk jug / large plastic container cut it in half . Then nail/glue/duct tape it to a wall then put dirt in it and put in plants or seeds repeat this multiple times to make a garden on a wallπŸ˜€

  4. Not a lot of veggies for all of this effort. Shame.

  5. I have raised beds and use a thick permeable membrane secured down the sides and across the bottom then I use a 2 inch layer of stone chips. I use 6 inch wide treated decking on the bottom leaving 1.5 to 2 inch gaps in between for drainage, 2 years on all still intact and drainage working fine. The beds are on old bricks, again I use gaps so underneath can be hosed or swept.

  6. Love this idea. I’m doing it.

  7. Indian yogi // July 20, 2015 at 9:48 pm // Reply

    liked it a lot. So nice if I could find the video to get more details

  8. Would you please post a picture of the garden at maturity? These are feasts for my eyes.

  9. after looking at this now I know how to make a really nice garden. thank you

  10. while this method is great for starting out most plants that grow in areas that small tend to be undersized need more fertilizer and mildew more easily which is why professional gardeners plant vegetables in rows instead of raised beds or in close proximity to other plants

  11. Mountainmomma // March 29, 2015 at 5:53 pm // Reply

    How many people can this feed?

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

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

    • 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.

      • Look up companion planting and natural pest deterrents. By planting certain herbs, flowers or other veggie plants next to each other it wards off pests and critters by either rappelling them or attracting beneficial insects that will eat the bad ones. Most critters do not like marigolds, mint, oregano, lavender etc…

    • A better solution would be to use thick cardboard – not plywood. It will protect from weeds, kill grass underneath, attract earth worms (good for soil) and provide nutrients as it decays.

  14. rosemary hope // February 7, 2015 at 10:24 pm // Reply

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

    • If you’re leaving it on the ground that would work, but the point in making a bottom in the first place is to be able to raise it, and cardboard wouldn’t be sturdy enough.

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