It will give you more area to plant while still producing full or nearly full crops from your garden plants. 7. It incorporates multiple beds. I did buy the CD of past issues when I first ordered my subscription. Be cheap. If digging beds, turning compost or setting up growing boxes works for you, carry on — just don’t think any of it is a strict requirement for a bountiful garden. 3. Any plant material, including crop residues and pulled weeds, will impart organic matter as soil organisms break it down. Less soil compaction. The space you save by going vertical with these large plants can then be used for interplanting, another principle of intensive vegetable gardening. (Such crops provide a significant amount of dietary calories as well as a significant amount of carbonaceous material for composting.) Roots are another source of organic matter, so instead of pulling plants when clearing a bed, I cut them at the soil line and leave the roots to decompose. When vegetables are planted intensively they shade and cool the ground below and require less watering, less weeding, less mulching — in other words, less drudgery for the gardener. Intensive Gardening Method Raised Beds. Quickly replanting any gaps left after harvesting a particular crop lets you use every area of the garden throughout the year. 1. Intensively plant a prescribed number of each crop you choose to grow into each grid space, depending on plant size. Of course, if your best sunny spot is a paved parking lot, by all means, build raised beds (the deeper, the better). This leaves a lot of ground between rows under-utilized. 22 Shares. Or, don’t make compost at all: Just leave organic material on the soil to decompose. With fertile soil and dense planting, any garden can be highly productive — but as these two intensive-gardening approaches show, you can achieve this productivity via different means. Weeding is, for most, a dreaded task, but it can be almost eliminated by smart planting. Ease of pest control 5. For example, companion-planting charts of the “tomatoes love basil” variety are largely myth, though the value of planting to cycle nutrients to different crop families and attract beneficial insects is well-established (go to Maintain Healthy Soil With Crop Rotation for more). Compost can be virtually free if made from waste materials, such as grass clippings, leaves, manure, spoiled hay, and any waste from your garden, the grocery store or the food industry. Learn how to build, double dig, and maintain your own Chinese-style intensive bed. Similarly, a 1998 study by Ohio State University found no significant yield difference between beans and beets grown in beds that had been cultivated only on the surface and beds that had been double-dug. The goal here is to produce a lot of food in a very small area, by putting in some serious manual labor to produce perfect planting beds and intensive plantings. This type of companion planting makes it possible to grow more in the same space. Relax and smile. I saw no difference between the double-dug bed and the rest of the garden throughout that summer or in later years. If this is possible, please tell me how to do this. These crops can be planted while the tomatoes or vines are young, and many will be ready for eating before the tomato even sets fruit. Jeavons’ biointensive gardening system is based on developing fertile soil in permanent garden beds that you initially dig to a depth of 2 feet. Root vegetables like carrots, radishes, and beets might also work if your site gets at least 4 hours of direct sunlight a day. Water conservation A raised bed should be just wide enough that you can reach all the way across without climbing into it (or, if you can acce… Order Mel Bartholomew’s book All New Square Foot Gardening for more information. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. 3. A few of these benefits are: 1. While it is often used with raised bed gardens, there is no reason it cannot be utilized in traditional in ground gardens as well. Check out “10 Tenets of Square-Foot Gardening” below for more on this method. That’s hard to argue with! You can even try square-foot gardening in wooden boxes on a balcony. One of my problems is compost: I just don't generate enough to create any. Despite such differing approaches, both sets of techniques deliver high-yielding food gardens thanks to four common features, all of which I recommend. Go permanent. The principles of include going vertical, by the use of trellises and cages for large plants that ordinarily would sprawl everywhere. Like to read more content, Join the Mother Earth News Community Today! 6. I’ve talked with hundreds of gardeners over the past few decades to glean some of the commonalities between successful gardening systems, and the resulting recommendations that follow here will help you grow a high-yield but low-maintenance, sustainable garden. Butchering Poultry, Rabbit, Lamb, Goat And Pork, Natural Cold Storage: Fresh Food in Winter, Keeping Crops Cool During Hot Weather: 13 Ways to Beat the Heat, Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price. I leave mulch on the soil for as much of the garden season as possible (weeds grow all winter in my Northwest climate), but I pull it back in spring to allow the soil to dry out and warm up. This garden plan is another exact layout. You can stagger the crops by planting them several weeks apart. Even intensive beds that are very small will grow a huge yield of produce. The objective of such a system is maximum profit for the farm. I know it’s all about “reading definitions” but it really helps if you understand these intensive vegetable gardening concepts before you try to do them. Linda A. Gilkeson holds a doctorate in entomology and has been educating gardeners through workshops and writing for more than 20 years. The goal is to have the plants just, or almost, touching by time of harvest. Bartholomew’s aim with square-foot gardening is a simple, foolproof system that anyone can master (no companion planting, no crop rotation and no soil preparation). Reliance on compost. Another principle is to make small beds, no more than 3-4 feet wide, and alternate rows of above ground and under ground vegetables. Two gardening authors and their systems of intensive vegetable gardening have been highly influential in North America for more than 30 years. Intensive vegetable gardening means that you reduce the amount of space between your plants. Older and less mobile folks could benefit from raised beds because they’re higher up and easier to work in. Already a Member? High-density mixed planting. Making compost can be as simple as putting everything in a bin, waiting for a season to pass, and then spreading the most digested material on the garden and returning undigested material to the bin. The purpose of gardening intensively is to har- vest the most produce possible from a given space. For example, a row of bush beans, then a row of carrots, then another row of beans, and so on. So if you would like to grow more in the same space, then you should consider applying these principles to your garden area. The Pros of Intensive Gardening. By rotating the location, heavy feeding plants will get a new more vital area, and the area they depleted the year before will support plants with different requirements. My eyes glaze over when I see equations and complicated charts in a gardening book, and Bartholomew’s and Jeavons’ books aren’t short on either. 8. Despite Bartholomew’s concern that improving soil takes too long, I’ve found that adding organic amendments, including balanced organic fertilizers if needed, can turn any soil into decent garden soil in its first few seasons. Gardens on well-drained soil, however, may fare better and need less water if the beds are not raised — and, of course, you won’t have the job and expense of building sides for your beds. Soil, climate, weather, water availability, composting materials, pests and diseases vary depending on where you live, so learn from local experts and look for information written for your region. It will give you more area to plant while still producing full or nearly full crops from your garden plants. While I generally vote for skipping overcomplicated and prescriptive planting advice, I do think keeping basic gardening records is useful. Simply, group several different species closely together in the same plot. Fill boxes with a growing medium made of one-third peat moss, one-third vermiculite and one-third blended compost. In No-Till Intensive Vegetable Culture, O’Hara describes the methods he has developed, which are completely free of herbicides or other pesticides and require only a few acres of land and minimal capital investment. Raised beds are not the answer for all gardeners lacking space. Two gardening authors and their systems of intensive vegetable gardening have been highly influential in North America for more than 30 years. The reasons for this are that different vegetables use more of some types of vitamins and minerals than others. Achieve staggered harvests with succession planting. var sc_project=6987103;var sc_invisible=1;var sc_security="b66b96b1"; from Intensive Vegetable Gardening to Vegetable Gardening Advice Home, from Intensive Vegetable Gardening back to Planning A Vegetable Garden. Creating nutrients and organic matter by making compost out of other ingredients, such as fall leaves and newspapers mixed with food scraps, may make more sense. Rows of lettuce in raised beds make a space-saving, productive addition to your patio. Foot paths are only between the beds. Creating minimal disturbance has led to a bountiful garden with less work on my part. Regarding water conservation, plants growing in the ground usually need less irrigation than plants in containers or raised beds do, because soil-bound plants benefit from capillary flow of water from the subsoil. More food—less space. Adding plenty of compost is fundamental to intensive gardening. Can I also view this on the internet?I really enjoy reading Motherearthnews, so would appreciate it if I could read past issues. Care and Cultivation of Permanent Garden Beds, Backyard Bounty: The Complete Guide to Year-Round Organic Gardening in the Pacific Northwest. Establishing permanent beds enables you to concentrate your efforts only on where plants grow, without wasting compost or irrigation water on unplanted areas. Because earthworms, plant roots and soil insects are so good at aerating soil, I’m happy to leave it to them. Generous applications of compost increase the nutrient- and water-holding capacity of sandy soils and improve the structure of clay soils. For example, plant one broccoli per square and plant 16 carrots per square.) The soil must be very loamy and fertile. Ordinary hardware-store variety tools do not hold up to double digging. Feb 14, 2013 - by Peggy Layton Are you interested in gardening, but you have limited space? What's the easiest way to grow more vegetables with little labour - and fewer pests? The organic matter in compost also increases soil’s water-holding capacity and improves its texture. Capitalize on vertical space by growing vining crops on supports. Intensive Vegetable Gardening In Small Spaces. If you can use tomato cages, for example, then you can plant your tomatoes about 18-20 inches apart instead of 2-3 feet apart. Interspersing crops with different root depths, plant heights and growth rates also means you can grow more in a given space. See “10 Tenets of Biointensive Gardening” later in this article for the skinny on this system. If you do it right, you can grow more food in less space and put an impressive dent in your household’s fresh-food needs. Setting up permanent beds and paths is such a popular layout here in the Pacific Northwest that I haven’t seen a garden arranged in rows for years. This not only saves space for planting, it also keeps the fruit cleaner. He provides detailed instructions on crop planning, making compost, companion planting, crop rotation, growing crops that serve a dual purpose as food and compost-heap fodder, and more. The space you have available and the ease with which you can transport materials will also influence your gardening decisions. Employ tools minimally — you should only need a trowel for transplanting, a pencil for poking holes and lifting seedlings out of pots, and scissors for harvesting. While this may go against everything you’ve ever learned about gardening, it works. Using mulch to keep the soil covered is effective at smothering germinating weed seeds. Most of us prefer to have a continuous supply of fresh tomatoes during the growing season anyway. It requires more planning so that the plants don't crowd each other too much. With imagination and determination, you can find ways to grow vegetables even in the smallest of spaces. In very hot areas they might need some shade screen to reduce water loss. After you know what problems occur in your region, you know which crops to rotate. She gardens in British Columbia and is the author of several gardening books, most recently Backyard Bounty: The Complete Guide to Year-Round Organic Gardening in the Pacific Northwest. Charles Dowding has also been running a dig vs no-dig experiment for 11-12 years and found that overall, no-dig produces more. They can be as tidy or as wild as you like, take little effort to maintain, and still produce an astonishing amount of food from a small area. 2. Each year you should rotate the areas used for particular vegetables. While this method is reliant on assembling purchased components, it can work well in urban spaces, especially where soil contamination is a concern, where digging into the ground isn’t an option, or where people are especially picky about how a garden looks (perhaps because of ordinances for front lawns). Use soil (if you have it). The beds can be raised, but it's not required in order to use this method. Varieties of lettuce, radishes, carrots, parsley, turnips, beets and others that don't require huge amounts of light to flourish can be planted in the area that the tomatoes or other vertical plants would have taken up. Suggestions? Apply no chemicals. (See Bartholomew’s book for the prescribed numbers. For novice gardeners, Bartholomew’s method of marking off beds in 1-foot squares may be particularly helpful as a way to visualize how densely one can plant. Where I live, for example, the high risk of root disease in the onion family and for potatoes makes four-year crop rotations smart for these, but I don’t worry about allowing long rotations for other vegetables. Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST). Blend the best principles of biointensive gardening and square-foot gardening to devise a customized, highly productive intensive gardening system. Once these plants are harvested, a new crop can be sown for harvesting in fall. Use synergistic planting (also called “companion planting”) so that plants grown together enhance each other. By John Yeoman | Submitted On February 13, 2011. Space crops tightly in a hexagonal planting pattern. Permanent, intensive beds in the vegetable garden is a centuries-old practice that has stood the test of time because it is so effective. The Intensive Garden is one of the 7 family size gardens that are being trailed as part of the RED Garden Project. 5. Fresh veggies from garden to table in as little as 8 weeks. They advocate r… Perhaps the ultimate in cheap fertilizer is “pee-cycling,” which merits wider acceptance for its effectiveness. His primary goal is to grow food sustainably, using as few inputs from outside of the system as possible. 3. 5. Sow only the number of seeds needed in each square to avoid wasting seed. Leaf lettuce can be planted on either side of radishes and onions, and will be harvested before mid summer. 4. An intensive garden mini- mizes wasted space. Growing vining crops, such as pole beans and cucumbers, vertically will allow you to harvest more in a given space. Also, soils that receive less disruption have more beneficial nematodes, earthworms, soil mites and other microorganisms wriggling and crawling about. The first time I read Bartholomew’s book, I was struck by how expensive following his system to the letter would be, from the cost of building beds to buying and hauling a large volume of bulky materials for the growing medium — which he calls “Mel’s mix.” To me, the beauty of gardening is that it transforms waste material into tasty, nourishing food at a considerably lower cost than buying it. Compost on-site and use compost to amend and build your soil. The French intensive gardening method also helps with diversifying space, as it frequently utilizes additional gardening techniques like interplanting and companion planting. I've used it in my in ground garden for years. 2. The Multi-Bed Garden Plan. Keep it simple. You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues. Raised beds are growing areas whose surface is “raised” above the surrounding area. (Read more about the benefits of permanent garden beds in Care and Cultivation of Permanent Garden Beds.). This helps to shade the soil as the weather heats up, reducing the amount of water needed. More traditional gardens consist of long, single rows of vegetables spaced widely apart. Community Horticulture Fact Sheet #47 Intensive Vegetable Gardening 600 128th Street SE, Everett, WA 98208-6353 425-338-2400 • Fax: 425-338-3994 • Master Gardeners: 425-357-6010 • TDD 1 -800-833-6388 4. Neither Bartholomew’s artificial planting medium nor Jeavons’ repeated double-digging takes full advantage of such hardworking critters. The traditional in ground garden is usually planted in straight rows, a few feet apart. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. It also wastes fertilizer and water. The vining plants that are vertical will need more water than if sprawling however, so you will need to keep an eye on them. A key to the high productivity of both systems is that they take advantage of the entire surface of each bed to grow plants rather than leaving spaces between rows. Plant dual-purpose, carbon-efficient crops — such as grains — in about 60 percent of the growing area. Cultivate in small, raised garden boxes that are at least 6 inches deep, separated into a 1-by-1-foot grid pattern (often 16 squares per box). Adapt to local conditions. A con of Bartholomew’s system is that it relies so heavily on buying the ingredients to make your growing medium. With a well-planned intensive garden, you can maximize your yields with minimum materials. … Well said. Over many years of intensive gardening, I have learned (as have many gardeners before me) that layering on mulches saves a lot of labor, and that minimal cultivation of beds works just fine. Double-digging raised beds is hard work, especially in clay soils or if you... You must have the right tools to double dig. Add no fertilizer; rely on the compost in the growing medium for nutrients. Essentially, you crowd them together. Hi, thanks for stopping by. Melons, cucumbers, pole beans, peas, and other vining plants also will do well and save space by the use of trellises, fences, or cages. Permanent garden beds. (Go to Free, Homemade Liquid Fertilizers for more information on this method and other liquid fertilizer options.). Ignore the bewildering number of gardening rules and myths floating around the Internet and other sources. Survival Skills, Garden Planning, Seed Saving, Food Preservation, Natural Health – Dozens of courses, 100+ workshops, and interactive Q&As. Practice low-maintenance gardening, with no digging, tilling, soil prep, soil testing or cultivating. Both systems rely on the tried-and-true groundwork of all organic gardening: heavy doses of compost to supply balanced, slow-release nutrients needed to grow healthy crops. Create a “closed,” interrelated growing system in which enough organic matter is produced by your “mini-farm” to sustain the soil within the system. Intensive Vegetable Gardening-Gardening Advice for Small Spaces. Leave wide aisles (at least 3 feet wide) between your growing boxes to easily work in your beds and maneuver between them. Unlike a single row garden that takes up lots of space, you can plant vegetables tightly in a little square foot garden bed or a horse trough converted into a raised bed. Much of the garden area is taken by the space between the rows. With imagination and determination, you can find ways to grow vegetables … Intensive Planting Techniques are practiced with several goals in mind: they minimize soil compaction, allow you to plant in challenging or difficult locations, solve drainage issues, eliminate the need for tilling, increase vegetable and herb production, and conserve water. In fact, in very hot areas it is better not to have them raised as the soil will heat up too much. Less effort productivity harmonize in an intensively planted garden when you add flowers and natural, structural elements compost I! You may also use the Bill me option and pay $ 17.95 for 6 issues province. ) it.! 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