12 Small Vegetable Plants

Best plants for small vegetable gardens

If you have limited space in your garden, it’s important to choose small, compact vegetable plants to maximize your yield.

Here are 12 small vegetable plants that won’t take over your vegie patch.

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small vegetable plants


1. Lettuce

Lettuces are ideal plants for small vegetable gardens.

There are many fast growing varieties of lettuce like oakleaf

and butterhead lettuce that are ready to harvest in about 45 to 55 days. [1]

I like to pick off a few of the outside leaves as I need them instead of waiting for the plants to grow to full size.

small lettuce plants

2. Radish

Radishes are compact vegetable plants that don’t require much space.

They’re fast growing and ready to harvest in about four weeks, so you can plant them in between other vegetable plants.

They also grow well in containers.

Try planting purple plum or white icicle radish seeds for something different.


3. Beets

Beets are easy to grow, compact vegetable plants.

Both the root and the leaves are edible.

You can cut the leaves off as you need them but you’ll need to leave a few leaves on the plant if you want to harvest the root as well.

beet leaves

4. Arugula

Arugula, also called rocket or roquette, is a slightly bitter salad vegetable from the same family as kale and broccoli.

The plants are compact, so you can squeeze a lot of them into a small garden.

Arugula only takes about 40 days to mature, so you can make a couple of plantings throughout the year.

Plant arugula seeds in spring for a summer harvest or plant them in late summer for a fall harvest.


5. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are great for small vegetable gardens because they’ll grow vertically up a wooden stake or wire frame.

You can start tomato seeds indoors about six weeks before the last frost and plant them out in spring when the weather has started to warm up.

Try planting some small tomato varieties like sweet million cherry tomatoes or yellow pear tomatoes.

small tomatoes

6. Kale

Kale plants are great for small gardens and you can harvest them in about 25 days for beautiful crisp salad leaves.

Kale grows best in cool weather and it’s frost hardy. The frost actually brings out a sweeter flavor in the leaves.

Kale plant

7. Spinach

Spinach is another cold hardy vegetable that is ideal for small vegetable gardens.

The seeds can be planted directly in the garden and you can harvest the plants in four to six weeks.

Try Matador or Bloomsdale varieties in your garden.

spinach plants

8. Carrots

Carrots are small vegetable plants that won’t take up much space in the garden.

The seedlings don’t transplant well so it’s best to plant carrot seeds directly in the garden.

Make sure there are no lumps or rocks in the soil which can cause the carrots to grow crooked or split.


9. Chard

Rainbow chard is a pretty vegetable plant that looks great in the garden.

It’s related to beets and tastes similar to spinach. The leaves and stalks are both edible.

It takes about 50 to 65 days for the plants to mature but you can pick off a few outside leaves as you need them.

swiss chard

10. Garlic

Garlic is a high yield crop for small gardens.

It takes seven to eight months for garlic to mature and it needs at least six weeks of cool temperatures for best growth.

Plant garlic in fall and the bulbs will be ready to harvest in late spring or summer.


11. Onions

Onions are compact vegetable plants and they’re easy to grow.

The best time to plant onion seeds is 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost.

Brown onions are best for cooking, while white and red onions can be eaten raw.

onion plants

12. Scallions (Spring onions)

Scallions, also known as spring onions, only require a small amount of space in the garden.

They grow to about a foot (30 cm) tall and both the green and white parts are edible.

Scallions are ready to harvest in 8 to 10 weeks.


So there are 12 of the best vegetable plants to grow in small spaces.

Choosing the right plants will ensure that you get the most out of your vegetable plot.


Have you grown any of these small veggie plants in your garden? Let me know in the comments below.

Are you on Pinterest? I have boards dedicated to Vegetable Gardening and Gardening Tips that you may enjoy. You can also find me on Facebook.

Don’t forget to pin this post so you can come back to it later.

small vegetable plants

Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener and designer with over 10 years experience. I have a passion for small space gardening and I love designing and creating beautiful outdoor spaces that maximize the potential of small urban gardens. Read more

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Joyce Osiango

    Glad to be reading this post. I started to use my balcony to plant vegetables since I’m not professional it’s always good to get guidance such as this.

  2. Britt K

    There are some great suggestions here! Before we built our current garden, I was doing container gardening on our back deck. This pushed me to look into which plants would grow well in that situation. We always made sure to include tomatoes, spinach and a variety of herbs, and then experimented outside of that. I didn’t have the best of luck with carrots but I think it was more that we put too many seeds for the space that was available. Also, make sure that your pot is deep enough. I made that mistake too haha

  3. Stella

    So many great options for small gardens. It is great that we can grow these vegetables even in small spaces. I just love arugula, it is refreshing in any salad and to be able to grow my own would add to the deliciousness I think

  4. Erica (The Prepping Wife)

    This is easily one of my favorite posts from you because it is so informative! I’ve been contemplating growing both beets and garlic, so this is literally perfect for me. I’ve been wanting to grow, pickle, and can beets, along with growing, mincing, and canning my garlic too. Growing and preservation is high on my list of things to learn about since it has been years since I’ve done it.

  5. Kat

    I have my own outside space this year and am planning on growing several of these, including tomatoes and some arugula. Thanks for the additional tips, I never knew radishes grow this fast. Maybe one to try in addition to my other planned ones.

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