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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:

30 Comments on Plant a compact vegetable garden

  1. Been waiting for this. This is great.

  2. Hmmm…Any recommendations for type of lumber that won’t rot after one season? Maybe composite or something? I’ve seen some reaised bed kits made of composite/resin but they’re pretty expensive. Would love to built one myself but I want to be sure I’m building something that will last. Thanks!

    • Georgia Gardener // November 22, 2011 at 3:04 pm // Reply

      We used marine treated wood for our raised beds. We also lined the bottoms with 1/2″ mesh stapled to the inside bottom of the boxes to keep moles and voles out.

    • Pressure treated redwood will last for years and will withstand termites too! Redwood alone is great too:)

      • Pressure treated wood used for gardening will leach arsenic into soil & plants. Arsenic is used to pressure treat wood. There are other choices like cypress & redwood for example.

  3. Awesome idea! I think there may be a typo in the supply list? It say 4 – 2×4’s but in your instructions it says 2×10’s.

  4. TTC Camper // June 27, 2011 at 3:52 pm // Reply

    The compost and compost tea from the compost barrel works great as the soil for this garden.

  5. TTC Camper // June 27, 2011 at 3:50 pm // Reply

    You can make this garden smaller in size if you combine it with hydroponic gardening. I used a system like that to get my FFA State Farmer Award Philadelphia.

  6. We actually board raised beds last spring, but didn’t know “what next.” So, good timing for this info, and now we’re ahead of the game. Thank you so very much!!!

  7. I am not a fan of vegies but I might try home grown ones 😀

  8. Awesome info! Glad I found this!

  9. amazing small space with lots of possibilities

  10. cobblerman // July 12, 2009 at 7:21 pm // Reply

    This reminds me of the Square Foot Gardening method. If you look up that book, go for the revised version called “The All New Square Foot Garden”…or somtihng like that.

    • We’ve got 4 beds via Square Foot Gardening. Look it up. the soil composition is phenomenal. My son can’t get enough and I love that he’s learning to self-provide.

  11. thewrestler // June 11, 2009 at 6:11 am // Reply

    awsome i will try this

  12. I’m going to try this.

  13. i think its a good idea

  14. Thanks metallica! That’s a realy cool idea, I am going to try that with an apply and orange tree.

  15. Go Green!! This thing is awesome!

  16. I will try this!! Do I need to have drainage holes in the bottom of it? I will put it on sawhorses or legs.

  17. Countryboy96 // April 9, 2009 at 5:41 pm // Reply

    This also works really well in a larger area if you have one

  18. SailorDude // April 4, 2009 at 9:13 am // Reply

    For a larger scale of this principle check out the book “How to Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine” from your local Library. If you want to start a VERY productive produce garden in a relatively small area, this is the book to have!!!

  19. rabbit dude // March 30, 2009 at 3:00 pm // Reply

    I will try this

  20. spyscout123 // March 30, 2009 at 8:13 am // Reply

    great it will help prepare for the garden.

  21. another good way to get a bunch of fruit in one area is makeing a tree with branches that produce diffrent fruit. Its done by tieing the end of branches together for a few months and they will all make one tree. My Uncle Planted one of these and it produced apples, pears, and peaches. Real Cool

    • Gardener wannabee // February 25, 2012 at 11:33 am // Reply

      Please give more details. Are existing apple, pear, and peach trees growing close together and branches are tied together while still on the trees or what? Thanks! Sounds like a great idea!

  22. you can also hang window box flowerpots on the sides with marigolds in them to keep out rabbits and other small critters.

  23. Archeopteryx // March 28, 2009 at 8:32 pm // Reply


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