Welcome to part 2 of my little gardening series!
We started out with an introduction into gardening basics including: the fantastic benefits, location, and some information to help you choose your fruit and veggie varieties.
In this post we will be digging a little deeper (haha! I can’t help myself) into soil and gardening methods. I am not going into great detail, but rather, I am giving an overview and links so you can dig deeper into what will work for you. If I gave all the info I could, this post would be 4000+ words. Seriously.
Single row gardening.
This is the traditional style of gardening that most people are familiar with. An area is chosen, the soil is prepared, and the seeds are planted in straight rows the length of the garden with walkways between each row. This is not my favorite style of gardening. I realize that there are plenty of people out there who still cling to it, but that is because they have not learned that there are much better ways. *wink* My biggest issue with single row gardening is that so much time, effort, soil amendments, and money goes into areas that used as walkways instead of being concentrated in the areas where the plants are.
This is a better take on single row gardening. This method involves rows that are as wide as a garden rake up to 3+ foot wide. Wide row gardening has several good points including: more space is used for actual gardening than walking, you do not pack down the soil next to the plants where the roots are trying to grow, there is less weeding, soil amendments can be concentrated in the soil that the plants use, you can water selected areas easier, companion planting is easier, and more plants create more shaded soil to help keep the soil moist and number of weeds down.
Raised beds work very similarly to wide rows, but with defined edges. These edges can be made of wood, stone, concrete block, etc. They share some of the same benefits as wide rows: ability to concentrate soil amendments and water to the soil the plants are in and not wasting it on the soil in the walkways. Raised beds can be adjusted in height to meet your particular needs. They are fantastic for people who cannot easily reach the ground for various reasons (elderly, disabled, etc.)
Growing plants in raised beds or wide rows brings us to a couple of gardening ideas that can be very helpful in either maximizing space or creating healthy soil without tilling.
Square foot gardening. SFG maximizes the amount of food that you grow in a limited amount of space. Click the link to learn all of the ins and outs of SFG!
Lasagna gardening. This allows you to create very healthy, nourishing, and almost weed-free soil using newspaper, peat moss, fruit and vegetable scraps, manure, and more. This is wonderful for people who are not interested in tilling the soil!
One thing about gardening that I cannot stress enough is soil, soil, SOIL! Please take the time to figure out what your soil is lacking. You cannot have large, healthy, disease-resistant, heaving-producing plants if you do not provide the healthiest soil!
There are two books I would like to recommend. You can borrow these from the library or purchase them. Personally, I like to own my books as I refer to them often, make lots of notes, and like to highlight ideas I want to use.
The first book is:
The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Edward C. Smith. As far as I am concerned, this book is indispensable! It almost never has the opportunity to rest on my bookshelf. His soil amendments chapter is wonderful.
The second book is:
This was my first introduction to wide row gardening, and I have been hooked ever since. Thanks Dad! The difference in the amount we are able to harvest because of using wide rows in contrast to single rows is phenominal. We went from producing enough to eat to producing enough to eat, can, freeze, dry, and share in much less space.
Take the time to read up on the gardening methods and choose what will work best for you, your space, your budget, and your food-growing goals. Get a notebook to jot down and sketch the ideas that inspire you.
I am always glad to answer any questions, guide you to the best resources, or help in any way I can. Email me if you need to!
Next up in the gardening series: choosing the best seeds/ plants and starting seeds indoors!
All for God’s glory!!
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