Home Vegetable Gardening
Raised bed gardening is becoming more and more popular today. The raised soil is framed with stone walls, bricks, logs, adobe, railroad ties, redwood boards or something similar. Raised beds solve a number of gardening problems, especially those associated with backyard gardens. For instance, they - Warm up the soil in the beds before the soil in the surrounding ground warms up. This allows you to plant earlier in the spring. Covered with clear plastic, a raised bed also becomes a coldframe to protect tender plants. Drain better than other types of gardens. The soil in raised beds never becomes too wet or too soggy. Make clear, workable gardens. The entire surface of a small raised bed can be reached from the garden paths.
The practice of promptly replacing food crops that have passed peak production with new transplants of another crop. Most effective in raised beds where the soil is rich enough to support several crops over a season, it maximizes production in a limited space.
Well, we tried all these new ideas in the community garden the next year, and, guess what They worked Everyone understood and grasped the Square oot Gardening concepts quickly and easily, and since most of the participants were beginning gardeners who were well acquainted with the disastrous experience from the previous year including the overgrown weeds and mounds of zucchini and rows of cabbage that ripened all at once they were very willing to try another option. That next year, 1976, we were able to enjoy a very attractive and well-run community garden using the newly developed Square Foot method. The Bicentennial year of 1976 was a huge celebration across the country and we also celebrated my youngest sons July Fourth birthday. I decided to do three things one for my country, one for my family, and one for myself. The official presentation of Square Foot Gardening was made at a hometown event that included a school project that I had organized. All the schools grew sunflowers,...
Even though square foot gardening took only two years to develop, it has tremendous advantages over the old-fashioned single row method which is hundreds of years old. That's because this new system is designed for a new society, a new way of life. When I thought about all this, and realized that we're on the threshold of the electronic age, yet still gardening with an antiquated, inefficient system, I knew I had to find a better way. After a few years of trial and experimentation, the square foot gardening system was born. I think you're going to like it. Next I looked at the needs of the home gardener. Again, not many. First, a small but continuous harvest. Second, a garden that is easy to care for, yet attractive. Those two things would satisfy almost everyone. Square foot gardening meets all four of the plants' requirements and provides the home gardener with the two things that he's looking for. Let's see how. Square foot gardening is very practical and easy to adapt to any...
A raised bed is soil that has been mounded to form a large flat surface. Raised beds are commonly used in vegetable gardens, but the principles apply to other types of plantings too. These structures offer many advantages, especially if you have poorly drained or clayey soil Prevention of soil compaction Because you don't step on raised beds, the soil doesn't compact as much, and the roots grow better. You can build two types of raised beds contained and freestanding. Contained raised beds have permanent walls around them made of wood, bricks, or stone. These beds look neat and tidy and are good for permanent plantings. Freestanding raised beds don't have walls made from other materials, so you can modify their shape and size. Rake the soil flat and smooth on top of raised beds before planting. Limit the width of raised beds to 3 to 4 feet so that you can reach in to tend plants without stepping on the soil. The height of raised beds is up to you a height of 6 to 12 inches provides...
And forget all about the soil underneath Well, the experts still pooh-poohed the idea. But guess what It works Of course, everyone realizes that you couldn't do that in a huge, old-fashioned, single-row garden or even in raised bed gardening, but it can easily be done in a small-space Square Foot Garden Square Foot Gardening needs no fertilizer ever How can that be After all, the gardening industry is built on using fertilizer. The original SFG book explained all about fertilizer organic and chemical types how to measure and rate it all about NPK and what that means and the list goes on and on. That was necessary because at that time we were just improving our existing soils, and they still needed fertilizer. All the experts agreed. But my own experiments and thoughts about an all new out-of-the-box idea of not improving your existing soil but rather of starting with a perfect soil mix was working so well that I began to consider another new idea that you don't need to add fertilizer....
Vertical Gardening Now that the vertical frame has been constructed, it is time to add something for the plants to grow on. I used to use either special wide-opening fencing or good strong synthetic twine or cord, but then along came this beautiful, soft, indestructible nylon netting with large openings you can reach through. This nylon garden netting is now the only material I use for vertical gardening. Its white, keeps its color, cant be broken, will last forever, and is easy to work with. The netting is tied tightly and securely to the top and sides of the vertical frame, and the plants can then be gently woven in and out of the netting as they grow. The netting comes in 4- and 5-foot widths and various lengths and is available at most garden centers and catalogs. When we teach our classes, it is always fun to ask two of the strongest men to come up front and try and break the netting they just cant do it Vertical Gardening
I've designed charts for All New Square Foot Gardening so you'll know when to plant and in what order. These charts will guide you along, providing seed-to-sprouting times at certain soil temperatures. I've also included calendar charts that show, based upon area frost date (assuming you have a frost), how soon before or after a frost you can plant a given crop. You'll find that some plants are very frost-hardy and can be planted much earlier than those that are just on the borderline. Turn to page xxx to see the charts.
Bartholomew's Square Foot Method quickly gained popularity and strength, ultimately converting more than one million gardeners worldwide. Square Foot Gardening, the highest-rated PBS gardening show to date, launched in 1981 and ran weekly for five years, followed later by a weekly Square Foot Show on the Discovery Network. In 1986 the creation of the Square Foot Gardening Foundation and the Garden in Every School Yard Program brought the technique to an estimated 3,000 schools nationwide. Bartholomew operates his nonprofit Square Foot Gardening foundation in Eden, Utah.
Raised beds are often used because they provide easier access to the crops and require less digging to prepare (Figure 7.3). They may be enclosed with wooden boards, or stone or concrete blocks. Pressure-treated wood is avoided because it can leach toxic chemicals into your soil. Raised beds are on average about 8 inches (20.3 centimeters) high. Some root crops may require a depth of 1 foot (0.3 m) and some crops, such as lettuce, can be 6 inches (15.2 cm) high. The beds can be filled with homemade compost and soil from your yard, or you can purchase soil and compost from a nursery. Figure 7.3 Raised beds can be made from wood, stone, or concrete. Stone was used for raised beds at the Villa Ruffolo in Ravello, Italy (TOP), while wood was the material of choice for raised beds in this private garden in Swanton, Vermont (BOTTOM). Figure 7.3 Raised beds can be made from wood, stone, or concrete. Stone was used for raised beds at the Villa Ruffolo in Ravello, Italy (TOP), while wood was...
Common Hyacinth Garden Hyacinth (UK) Hyacinth Dutch Hyacinth Common Hyacinth (USA) These beautifully-seen led bulbs are equally at home whether in spring bedding schemes or in raised beds, tubs Iroughsand window-boxes The true species is no longer generally grown and Iheretore it is the larger-ifowered Dutch Hyacimhs thai are commonly seen These have elegant, scented. 10-15cm (4-6in) high spires of wax-like (lowers in a wide range of colours, including blue. Height 15-23cm 6-9inJ Spread 10-15cm (4-6in) Cultivation Light well-drained but moisture-retentive soil suits it, and when grown in a garden the bulbs can be set in position, 13-I5cm (5-6in) deep, in autumn This is usually done after summer-flowenng pianls have been removed from the border or container The bulbs are left m posilion until after they flower then lifted and re-planted in an out-ot-the-way position where they can be left undisturbed to flower during the following and successive years When grown in containers, use a...
For these reasons, do not plant brambles on sites where water accumulates after rainfall. If this is not possible, plant them on raised beds at least 10 inches tall. Select a site somewhat higher than nearby land. This improves drainage and reduces the danger of cold injury and late spring frosts.
Even forbid food gardens in the front yard But in the past few years, gardeners have shown renewed interest in edible landscaping using edible plants throughout the landscape, growing vegetables, fruits, and herbs among flowers and shrubs. Organic landscapes invite this mingling you don't need to worry that the chemical pesticides you've sprayed on your roses will affect the edibles nearby. Refer to Chapter 7 for organic alternatives to synthetic pesticides. Leave a section of your yard wild, or at least minimally cultivated.
Or break the project into phases spread out over a few months or even years. For instance, you may tackle just the front yard during the first phase, and then follow up later with paths, patios, lighting, and other features. You have lots of options that help keep the money end of things on track.
Adding useful structures to your yard or garden Beautifying your outdoor space Making your own compost and pest repellant So your garden is all planted, the lawn is mowed, everything is landscaped to your satisfaction, and now you're itching for something else to do to your yard. Don't fret you still have plenty of ways to make your yard even better and to help you enjoy it even more (preferably while sipping a cool lemonade). This chapter contains some fun ideas you can consider.
Deer will eat almost any plant if they're desperate The problem here is deer overpopulation due to shrinking natural habitat and a lack of natural predators. Deer get hungry, they wander into your yard, and they dine on anything and everything (especially in winter, when natural food is even more scarce). One beleaguered homeowner is not going to solve this problem. Although some repellents supposedly protect garden plants (noisemakers, foul-smelling sprays, bags of human hair from the local salon), the only sure deterrent is an 8-foot-tall fence all the way around your yard (possibly electrified).
You know you have a drainage problem in your garden when heavy or even moderate rain leaves puddles that take forever to drain. Or you may find out, to your dismay, that under a few inches of okay soil in your yard is a stubborn layer of hardpan (most people discover this water-resistant barrier often packed clay when they dig a deeper-than-usual hole, say, for planting a big shrub or a tree). I Build and garden in raised beds. You control the soil within, and thus it drains well and your plants are happy. Problem averted.
Here's where your dreams meet reality. The idea is to take your list of projects and match them to the most appropriate places in your yard. For this project, lay tracing paper over your map or make a bunch of photocopies so that you can doodle ideas at will without messing up the original. As you try out different combinations and placements, keep the following tips in mind
This time, on the tracing paper, make notes about your yard, similar to those shown below. Indicate any feature that may affect your landscape decisions sun, wind, good and bad views, privacy needs, soil, topography, and any other problems or special features your yard presents. Put in arrows to indicate directions or intensity. Get out any lists of likes and dislikes you've noted about your yard over the years (see page 22). Write everything of importance on the piece of tracing paper. If you are doing this plan after studying your yard for a full cycle of seasons, you are ready to proceed. If not, the plan will help you notice more keenly how such features as sun, shadows, wind, and views change with the time of day and time- of year. Put your plan in a handy spot so you can add to it as needed. Only after doing such a plan can you put the information in the rest of this book into the climate and context of your yard. Combine the possibilities with your own realities, and you will...
The addition of a swimming pool to your yard is a big decision. Read pages 16-17, as well as this section, and consider all of the options. Also, talk with people who have pools, trying to learn all you can about what kind, shape, and size of pool might be best for you. A pool will provide years of summer fun, sun, exercise, and relaxation and, with the right decisions, it will increase dramatically your yard's beauty, value, and use.
To ward off common tomato diseases, like early blight, try a sprinkling of powdered milk when you set out the tomato transplants. This simple suggestion comes from organic gardener Marion Hess, who is a special contributor for Prodigy's on-line gardening newsletter Prodigy Gardens Newsletter. Marion credits milk with her amazing tomato track record of no diseases, ever. 1 have never even had to rotate my crop,'' she marvels. And the technique is gentle, Marion assures. It won't hurt anything in your yard '
Features in your yard, both natural and human-made, often modify the overall climate and create small areas with distinctly different environmental conditions (including hardiness zones). Here, your zone rating may go up or down by one or possibly even two levels, changing your planting options.
A well-cared-for shrub is beautiful and healthy, and it remains so. Frequent attention to the plant's needs is crucial the first year or two, less so as the years go by and the plant becomes an established part of your yard. The following sections give you the basic information that you need to take very good care of your bushes. If your yard's soil is good or the plants seem fine without fertilizer, of course, leave well enough alone.
You can choose from many types of grass seed, and the type you need depends on the climate you live in, the amount of light your yard receives, and whether you have any texture, color, and height preferences for your lawn. Some people like slow-growing grasses so they don't have to mow quite as often. Other people insist on having Kentucky bluegrass in their yards regardless of whether they actually live in Kentucky. I cover many of the options available to you in the next few sections.
Bring the info on the tree's mature size, and march out boldly into your yard or garden with your tape measure and some means of marking the outline (even a length of garden hose or heavy-duty electrical extension cord will do). Mark the spot, making a big outline. It doesn't have to be precise or perfect this outline is for the purposes of eyeballing the tree's potential.
Recognize that your yard is part of the neighborhood. Identify its place in local traffic patterns, in neighborhood land use patterns, and in the overall context of your community. For example, are you in a historical neighborhood that requires special landscape treatment Do adjacent buildings create problems such as shading or heavy vehicle traffic Are there trouble spots nearby that may hamper your enjoyment of your own property Even though these factors don't relate to sustainability, you need to take them into account.
You can look into a whole class of evergreens called dwarf evergreens or dwarf conifers that are worth considering, especially if your yard is small. These trees often range from tiny little 6-inch tufts to knee-high miniature trees. If you have the space and the inclination, a grouping of dwarf evergreens, perhaps coupled with some judiciously placed rocks, can make a splendid display. Dwarf evergreens also make nice hedges, boundary plantings, foundation plantings, and path side edgings.
Call your electric, telephone, cable, and gas companies to verify locations of underground utilities in your yard before you start digging. Hitting one of these things with a tool could cause you serious harm through electric shock, or at the very least damage the utilities in your house.
Informal lawn sports like volleyball and badminton require pretty large areas (80 x 45 feet and 60 x 30 feet, respectively). Formal recreation courts (tennis, racquetball, and so on) aren't terribly sustainable they use up lots of resources, and they require impervious surfaces and regular maintenance. Similarly, swimming pools are pretty over the top, with their immense demands for energy and water. Why not save yourself big bucks by enjoying the local public facilities and use your yard to grow food instead
Dirt is the stuff you wash off your clothes. Soil is the living layer of minerals, organic matter, air, and microorganisms that makes up the root zone of your yard. Surprisingly, about 50 percent of a healthy topsoil is air most of the other half is made of minerals, with only about 5 percent organic matter, such as decaying leaves, roots, and other former and current plant parts.
After you've completed the initial drawing of your yard or garden plot to your satisfaction, you can move forward and add the elements for your garden plan. Here are some recommendations Go to the earlier section titled Taking Stock Evaluating What You Already Have for advice on looking at your yard's challenges and advantages. Getting Ideas for Your Garden Space can help you focus on your gardening goals.
Weed trimmers and weed whackers can do a lot of different things around your yard and garden They can cut grass (especially in tricky, hard-to-reach spots like under a fence and along edges and borders) and trim weeds and light brush (for info on lawn care, check out Chapter 10).
Banish gloom in your yard's dim and tree-shaded areas with shade-loving annuals. Plenty do just fine in shade. Indeed, their flowers last longer without the stress of the sun beating down on them. White and yellow flowers really add sparkle, individually or massed. My favorite annuals for shade include tuberous and fibrous begonias, impatiens, and torenia.
When trying to decide where to put a tree, first find out your chosen tree's mature size. Figure out the standard dimensions of the exact variety you've chosen. Varieties vary. For example, the handsome English oak (Quercus robur) in its plain old species form can reach 100 feet tall, whereas a cultivar of it called 'Westminster Globe' gets to only about 45 feet. Here's a less dramatic example The standard kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) has the potential to get about 20 to 30 feet high and wide if that's way too big for your yard, you can look for a cultivar, such as 'Elizabeth Lustgarten,' which remains under 10 feet or so.
Responding appropriately to conditions is essential to developing the kind of finely tuned landscape that's easy to live with. The first step is making friends with the site so you understand what you're dealing with. Start by spending some quality time with your yard. (It's been a while, hasn't it ) Go outside when you have the time to just hang out and quietly observe the many characteristics of your property the path of the sun, the condition of the soil, the health of existing plants, and good and bad views, to name a few aspects. Take photos, make notes, and move around to see things from as many perspectives as possible. Get professional advice if you have special concerns, such as an unstable hillside or soil problems. See Chapter 4 for an in-depth discussion of site analysis. But understanding the site isn't enough you also have to learn what you want and need. Rushing into the design phase without going through this process leaves you without the information you need to make...
After you've had a chance to get to know your property, you'll probably have a list of problems as well as a list of dreams. For example, you may have found that the chickens next door make too much noise. This is a problem because you were planning to put a patio nearby, and there's something about all that clucking that just drives you nuts. You know you won't be happy with the noise, but you don't see another place in your yard where the patio will work. Limitations like this one crop up on every project.
Some people love 'em some people hate 'em. The truth is that you probably don't want to attract bears, wolves, or rattlesnakes to your backyard they're better off in the wilds. But lots of other animals, birds, and insects are an important part of a sustainable landscape. Maintaining a wildlife-friendly landscape isn't just about attracting beneficial insects like honeybees, which pollinate your food crops. Foraging animals, such as skunks and opossums, can help keep the pest population down. Provide food, shelter, and water for native critters, and the whole system benefits. For an example, see the Missouri Department of Conservation's Landscaping for Backyard Wildlife page at mdc.mo.gov nathis backyard backwild. Check out Figure A-4 to discover ways to attract wildlife to your yard.
The implications for irrigation (and for many other landscaping practices) are significant. If you've been deep-soaking your yard, you may have been wasting a lot of water or recharging the groundwater at your own considerable expense. If you water only at the base of plants and ignore the soil out in the open, you've been doing the plants a terrible disservice. Effective watering covers the entire root system and goes no deeper than the roots do. That means wide, relatively shallow coverage, which can be done with sprinklers, drip on a grid, or hand watering.
You may find a whole section of your yard where nothing seems to grow. It may be a sort of Bermuda Triangle for plants. Find out whether the performance problems are due to soil issues, pathogens, heavy competition from neighboring trees, or other factors. Correct the problems or find plant varieties that are tough enough to survive the trying conditions.
Adding fruit plants of some kind to your home landscape is not just about harvesting delicious fruit. The size of the plant is important, as is the relative beauty of its flowers and foliage. Ideally, the plant fits in and enhances the attractiveness of your yard even when it's not producing fruit.
KBEff The bottom line is that people respond strongly to design and to how it's carried out in the actual landscape. So if you make a place that's unsettling, nobody will want to use it. No doubt you've seen and visited places like this. In fact, your backyard may be one of them. On the other hand, you can use design to create a place that evokes positive feelings, such as safety, calm, curiosity, peace, or delight. As a designer, you have incredible control over how people feel and behave. Use your power wisely, and your landscape will be a source of joy for years to come.
Tell him exactly what you plan to do and ask if any rules or regulations or zoning laws prohibit you from raising fresh vegetables in your backyard and selling them to a restaurant. Then ask what records you should keep and whether there are any reports, permits, fees, or licenses required.
Don't be limited by neighborhood examples, but if you do decide to use a very different kind of design, do it unobtrusively-you may want to restrict its full impact to the back yard, for example. You may also want to share your plans with neighbors to gain their understanding and to get their suggestions.
If you have made a rock garden or raised bed by following the basic rules set out in Chapter 2, then routine maintenance should be a straightforward task. It will not call for skill as required in the pruning of fruit trees nor the heavy work demanded in the vegetable plot. You should not be troubled by weeds for some time and the plants will flourish in the well-drained, gritty conditions you have provided for them. But regular maintenance is not something you can ignore. Leave a shrub border untended for a season and no great harm may result, but leave a rock garden for a year and it may well be ruined.
Because the majority of organic soybeans are destined for the edible tofu market, a white seed color is required. Soybeans will enter the organic feed market at a reduced price if there is purple, brown, or tan staining from Cercospora, Fusarium, soybean mosaic virus, or bean pod mottle virus, transmitted by the bean leaf beetle. Although certain varieties appear to resist staining, high rainfall during pod set may create ideal conditions for the spread of the disease in any variety. Soybean cyst nematode has not been found to be a problem on organic farms. Several factors, including crop rotations and chemical exu-dates from crop residues and manure applications, may mitigate against nematode survival. Soil sampling two weeks prior to harvest is recommended to determine any possible nematode introductions. Non-GMO SCN-resistant varieties can be used if infestations are detected.
Nutrient requirements alter with changes to crop density and spacing. In the southeastern USA, vegetables are usually planted on raised beds (Parish, 2000), with either single or double rows to each bed. Double rows offer higher yields per unit area, but may be difficult to maintain physically because of the erosion of the sides of the bed caused by localized heavy rainfall. Beds also provide advantages of quicker and earlier soil warming and allow the use of mechanically guided cultivation such as steerage hoeing. In some areas, beds promote the avoidance of soil-borne pathogens such as P brassicae, the causal agent of clubroot disease, because the soils are drier and
In any event, half-compost and half-native soil isn't excessive. Some really keen vegetable gardeners forgo native soil altogether and use 100 percent compost to grow incredible crops. Using solely compost is most feasible in raised beds. Roots relish it. You can get healthier, happier plants. Quite a few gardeners make their own compost, a process that can take three months to a year to complete. Many gardeners also use a compost bin for this process, like the wooden one in Figure 4-1, though you can just pile the compost in an isolated and sectioned-off portion of your yard. Your compost pile should be kept slightly damp but not soggy. Stirring or turning the material every few weeks can speed up the decomposition process. When the compost is dark brown, is cool to the touch, and has a pleasant earthy smell, it's ready to use.
This hiller furrower mounts on the back of any Troy-Bilt tiller without tools. It is used for digging trenches or furrows, for forming raised beds and for hilling corn and potatoes. This hiller furrower mounts on the back of any Troy-Bilt tiller without tools. It is used for digging trenches or furrows, for forming raised beds and for hilling corn and potatoes.
For larger quantities of compost, buy in bulk. The price is less in quantity, and you can check the quality of the compost as well. Many private companies, municipalities, and community groups make and sell compost. Often, they even deliver the compost to your yard for a fee.
The public area usually includes the front yard, driveway, sidewalks and entrance to the house. On a corner lot, the public area may also extend into the side or backyard areas. The entrance and front yard are the most public parts of most peoples' yards. You can design the entire front yard for public viewing or - because of small lot size or a need for privacy -enclose parts of it with plants, fencing or both. Remember that your entrance and front yard contribute to overall neighborhood appearance - trees, shrubs, flowers, lawns, fences and other landscape structures should fit in with the neighborhood's character. The private area of your yard or lot consists of living, service, recreation and multiple-use areas, depending on the needs you identified earlier.
Root crops provide good eating well into the fall and winter, and they're easy to grow. Raised beds filled with loose, fertile, stone-free soil provide just the right environment. In addition to the usual orange carrots, consider growing white, yellow, and purple varieties. If your soil is heavy or rocky, try shorter, stubbier varieties like Danvers Half-Long and Parisian Market. Beets come in a range of colors in addition to the common dark red, including white, orange, and red-and-white-striped Chioggia. Like hot peppers, radish varieties differ in how hot or pungent they are, so choose varieties according to your taste preference.
1 Evergreen Evergreen vines keep their foliage over the winter months (individual leaves do get replaced over time, but you don't run into wholesale or dramatic shedding time). In colder areas, the leaves may look rather freeze-dried, but they hang on. In milder climates, winter's show is mainly foliage, not flowers or fruit. No matter where you live, if you don't want a barren-looking winter in your yard, evergreen vines are worthwhile. Favorites include various kinds of ivy, creeping fig (tender perennial), crossvine, and some honeysuckles. Before choosing your vines, consider whether your yard and climate can support hardy or tender vines. You can avoid disappointment by picking out a perennial vine that can survive winter in your climate (see Chapter 3 for hardiness zone info). You can certainly grow a vine that's even tougher (if you live in USDA Zone 6, for instance, you can have a vine rated to Zone 4) for extra insurance. But if you live in Zone 6 and choose a vine that's...
Formal potager Originating in France, potagers are kitchen gardens of fruit and vegetables laid out in decorative patterns, often with geometric beds edged with low box hedges. They usually include flowers and herbs, which are planted among the vegetables to encourage pollinating insects, and for decorative effect. Tomato plants, with their vines of colorful fruits, are great for such gardens. While bush plants tend to be the most popular for outdoor use, they usually produce all their fruits at once, which is not ideal if you want the potager to look decorative for a long season. It may be better to grow cordon plants trained to sturdy stakes. To maximize visual appeal, train the vines up cast-iron obelisks or over garden arches so that the trusses of ripening tomatoes can hang down and catch the light.
For greenhouse-grown fresh-cut herbs, each type has somewhat different requirements. For example, mint is best grown in a raised bed and cut uniformly, section by section, as market requirements dictate. Rosemary, on the other hand, is raised as potted specimen shrubs, and managed quantitatively over the years by reducing plants to the required number. Sprigs of rosemary are harvested individually.
These figures are also based on square feet of actual growing space, rather than your total garden area. Do not count the areas necessary for aisles and paths (the non-productive areas). But you'll still be pleasantly surprised to discover how much you can earn from your backyard garden.
While gooseberries and currants perform adequately in partial shade, other fruits require direct sun for at least six hours a day, preferably more. All fruits require well-drained soil with good water-holding capacity. Although a commercial fruit grower may use tiling or grading and leveling to improve drainage, these methods are not usually affordable for home gardeners. For best results, simply choose a well-drained site or plant on raised beds.
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Kitchen Garden Offer Kitchen Garden Pea Offer, Thompson & Morgan, GRR9130, PO Box 162, Ipswich IP8 3BX Head kitchen gardener Pete Belben and his young helpers from St Mary and St Peter's first school Head kitchen gardener Pete Belben and his young helpers from St Mary and St Peter's first school It's a crisp autumn morning and crunching along the gravelled pathways of the walled kitchen garden at Barrington Court in Somerset comes head kitchen gardener Pete Belben like the Pied Piper, followed by an army of chattering school children complete with wheelbarrows, diminutive In his gentle reassuring manner Pete explains that it is a squash, and it will be great for eating. He has been working with this group of children from St Mary and St Peter's First School, near Ilminster, since March. A large patch of the impressive working kitchen garden, which is one of the In addition to the obvious benefits, the kitchen garden experience is referred to in a wide range of other curricular...
Horticultural vinegar is stronger than ordinary vinegar, so treat it with care (as you would any other strong acid). Weeds sprayed with this substance often die within a couple of hours. Your yard will smell like a salad for a bit otherwise, the vinegar is environmentally benign. Some nurseries carry horticultural vinegar, and a few of the mail-order garden supply places also offer it.
Imagine sitting out in your backyard on a balmy summer's evening, watching the water dance in your fountain. Or picture yourself coming around a corner and seeing a gorgeous persimmon tree laden with fruit, the leaves starting to turn color. Those attention-grabbing elements are called focal points. Any strong and striking visual element, such as a piece of sculpture or a particularly stunning plant, can be a focal point in your composition.
Somewhat loose to allow room foi it o puff up with steam On raised beds, make sure the plastic drapes ovei and covers the edges. On flat or sunken beds, dig a trench around the area arid bury the edges in the trench. Use soil slakes or heavy stores to hold the plastic in place. In the sunny Southwest, this layer of plastic is all you need. Build raised beds using import* topsoil and lots of compost,
Compost, don't just fling it out in your yard in a heap. Construct a nice bin and do it right. That bin doesn't have to cost money it can be made from recycled wood or cement blocks. Wood may be preferable as it will insulate the pile and prevent heat loss and frost penetration. Avoid woods that have been soaked in toxic chemicals.
By placing trees at strategic locations around your yard, you can make your house more comfortable all year long. Deciduous trees (ones that lose their leaves in winter) provide shade in summer, keeping your house cool, and let in the sun during the winter, making your house warmer and sunnier. On the windward side, evergreen trees get in the way of the wind, creating a calm zone on your property. Shoot, you can even use trees and shrubs to funnel cooling winds onto your property. Hardscape can help too Fences and walls direct air movement, and overhead structures shade hot spots. Look at Figure A-1 to see cool ideas for keeping your home comfy.
ONE of the keys to success in a small kitchen garden like mine is choosing varieties that produce the best crops in the space allocated. Best, for me, does not necessarily mean biggest or earliest. I am looking for plants that are tough enough to put up reasonable resistance against pests and diseases, sufficiently assertive to claim their share of light and moisture when planted closer than usual - and are, above all, delicious. Kitchen Garden Offer Send to Kitchen Garden Offers, The Fruit and Vegetable Company, Rookery Farm, Joys Bank, Holbeach St Johns, Spalding, Lines PE12 8SG. Send to Kitchen Garden Offers, The Fruit and Vegetable Company, Rookery Farm, Joys Bank, Holbeach St Johns, Spalding, Lines PE12 8SG. Cut your seed bills and add variety to your garden with this superb offer, exclusive to KG readers. Eight varieties worth 12.40 (inc p&p) from kitchen garden specialist, The Fruit & Vegetable Company, can be yours for just the postage cost of 2.30. Kitchen Garden Free Seed...
They can be planted in beds and borders, in front of shrub masses and to fill in open areas while shrubs are growing. Flowers look best against a simple background, such as a fence or shrub planting, so they're not recommended for the middle of a lawn. Both perennial and annual flowers require a lot of maintenance.
Once you get hooked on growing your own food, you can take it to the next level by sharing the food surplus with your neighbors. Nearly every food gardener has a surplus now and then, and it often goes to waste because the family just can't eat that much broccoli at one sitting. The answer is to organize a neighborhood foodshed, which is like a watershed except that it's apples and peaches and onions that flow to a central point in the neighborhood where folks gather to trade food, swap growing tips, watch the kids play, and make friends.
The grow biointensive method has roots 4,000 years into the past in Chinese intensive agriculture, 2,000 years into the past in the Greek use of raised beds and, more recently, in European farming. Similar practices are still used today in the native agriculture of many countries, such as Guatemala. GROW biointensive will extend its roots into a future where environmentally balanced resource usage is of the utmost importance.
One of the advantages of square foot gardening is that it can be practiced profitably on relatively small spaces. A square foot garden takes only 20 percent of the space of a conventional garden. Even the quarter-acre lot of suburban homes is usually adequate. If your financial needs are modest, only part of your backyard may be needed for gardening if you're very ambitious, you may want to use the entire backyard, even if you have more than 4,000 square feet, or you may even want to arrange for additional land.
Although generally speaking the spring flowering bulbs are planted or re-potted in autumn and the summer flowering ones are planted in spring, some fleshy rooted plants are never wholly dormant and others have a very brief rest, which does not fit in with the commercial arrangements for dry bulbs. For those who become interested in the more unusual bulbous plants, there is plenty to learn, quite apart from the possible thrills of travelling to see such plants in their native habitat. The serious collector of rare bulbs often has a bulb frame. This is a raised bed of freely draining soil, which can be protected from the rain or cold at the appropriate seasons for summer ripening or winter dormancy. Here the bulbs can be grouped according to seasonal behaviour and allowed to grow naturally. This method does not create a show of bloom at any one time, but it does allow the best development of the smaller rarer bulbs, the habits of which are sometimes little known. Every bulb has its...
In much of the country, blueberries are grown on mulched, raised beds. Rabbiteyes and old highbush plantings are commonly grown without mulch. Raised beds reduce the incidence of soil- and water-borne diseases. Thick organic mulches provide weed and disease suppression, soil temperature regulation, slow-release nutrients, organic matter, and moisture conservation. The latter is especially important because blueberry roots lack root hairs the primary sites for water and mineral absorption on most plants. This characteristic makes water management of paramount concern and goes a long way toward explaining why irrigation and mulching are recommended practices.
Landscaping to keep your cool Firescaping your home Keeping rainwater on your land Creating a wild kingdom in your backyard Eating from your yard with foodscaping 7 his appendix provides example landscape plans for special situations that may apply to you. Remember that landscaping isn't just about making your yard pretty. Landscaping also does stuff it improves the environment in many ways. If you find yourself with a particular challenge, such as having a property in a high fire hazard area or in a hot climate, look through this chapter for examples of how to work with these issues. Or you may have specific sustainability goals, such as attracting wildlife, improving the watershed, or amping up your food-growing chops all this is covered too.
There are several ways to raise vegetables. Planting in rows is perfect for small gardens. Vegetables grown on vertical supports increase yields per square foot. Or plant crops in raised beds, where the soil is mounded up, allowing it to warm faster and providing for better drainage. Whichever planting method you decide on, remember to rotate crops. Switching vegetables around from year to year will help prevent diseases and enable the soil to rest and renew itself. Your local garden center or county extension agent can recommend vegetables and planting methods suitable for your backyard.
Intensively planted raised beds do not require weeding as often as other types of gardens due to the living mulch that the plants create. Usually, our beds only need to be weeded once, about a month after the bed is planted. A bed prepared in a new area may have to be weeded more often at first, however, since many dormant seeds will be raised to a place in the soil where they can germinate readily. Over time, as the soil becomes richer and more alive, you will probably have fewer weeds, since they tend to thrive more in poor and deficient soils than in healthy ones.
You may also find a lot of friends and neighbors looking for freebies, and pretty soon you'll start feeling obligated to them. The same thing happens when you sell to them. It's very difficult to collect money for something that your friends, neighbors, or your family would expect to get free from a gardener. That's one reason why I invented square foot gardening. I realized that the old-fashioned
It's usually most efficient to lay out a center aisle wide enough for a cart or even an automobile. This will be used for harvesting, washing, and removing your produce. The side aisles should be only wide enough for walking and kneeling. Remember, your objective is to have as much growing area as possible. Because you can reach in at least two feet from each side, your growing areas can be four feet wide instead of the conventional square foot gardening system of four-foot squares bordered on all four sides by walking paths. Depending on the existing surface, and how you want your garden to look, you might leave grass growing in the aisles (just make sure they're wide enough to run a lawn mower through), cover them with planks, or lay down carpeting or other mulching material to prevent weeds from growing. All of these materials will keep your feet dry and your clothes clean while you're working in the garden.
Since most soil is far from good, you must build up a rich, humusy, well-drained soil. In conventional gardens, this might be prohibitively expensive. But that's not true in square foot gardening, since it requires only 20 percent of the space of a conventional garden for an equal amount of produce.
Let's assume that you're beginning to like the idea of starting a part-time business at home, with the goal of earning a few extra thousand dollars a year. Now that you're familiar with the requirements of the perfect part-time business, you may even agree that a backyard cash garden fulfills many or all of these requirements. But why, you ask, should it be a square foot garden Some of you may even be wondering what a square foot garden is. For those of you who have never read my first book, Square Foot Gardening, or seen the nationally televised PBS series of the same name, here's a brief summary of how it all started.
Where you live and explain a little about square foot gardening. Tell him you can produce the freshest, best-tasting vegetables in quantity and can deliver them within two hours of harvesting. Assure him that every delivery will look like this, with everything selected, culled, and washed.
Get others to work for you at either end of the business so you have more time to do the part you prefer. Carried to the extreme, you'd simply be a manager, hiring a local gardener to do the growing in your yard and someone else to do the selling and delivery. Of course, there won't be much profit left for you, but you don't have to do much work. You control the idea and it's your business. You could also consider hiring a second or third person to garden for you from his yard, and hire any help needed for delivery. Now your operation becomes larger. This idea at any scale is particularly good for those who have experienced a change in their circumstances a woman who becomes pregnant, for example a man who becomes disabled or anyone who starts a new job with different hours. All of these people can still carry on the square foot gardening program. They become managers and run the operation at any size they desire.
This is a very short subject in a square foot gardening book, because a square foot garden has very short weeds. If you weed while you water (at least once a week), you'll never have any weeds in your garden that are more than one week old mere babes in arms. Just think, no weeds to compete with your plants for sun, moisture, nutrients, and space. This is probably one of the most appreciated features of a square foot garden. At first people are skeptical. They can't imagine it. But then I get so many letters saying how easy it is to keep the garden perfectly weeded that I know the readers have been convinced.
It depends on how deep you want to go, how thoroughly you want to break up thesoil, and how often you expect to turn thesoil. These features, in turn, are determined by how good your soil is. Remember in the square foot gardening system, you do not walk on your growing soil. It won't get packed down and won't require continual digging and turning over as it does in most garden systems. I recommend that people dig only as deep as their backs allow. You don't want to injure yourself because you've assumed that the deeper you dig, the better your plants will grow. Contrary to what we've read, the roots of most vegetables remain fairly shallow. This is especially true in a square foot garden, where you provide the perfect soil, maintain ideal wateringconditions, and eliminate competition from weeds. Your plants won't have to send roots down several feet looking for moisture or nutrients, as so many conventional gardening books have stated. Deep digging is not as important in the square...
You rarely think of your yard as a garden, yet it is a garden of grass. When you want to put in a new lawn, now's your chance to supply that fertile, well-drained ground that all gardens love so well. Lay down plenty of organic matter (such as compost, leaf mold composted tree and shrub leaves , or well-rotted manure). Add topsoil, too, but only if you can get a weed-free batch. You can mix these goodies with the native soil if it's not dreadful. Otherwise, provide at least 6 to 8 inches of the good stuff, the depth to which grass roots generally grow.
Flowering shrubs give you the most bang for your buck. You get the benefit of their foliage all season long, so they're a substantial presence in your yard while other flowers annuals and perennials come and go at their feet. But these shrubs also contribute pretty flowers. Some shrubs flower in spring, summer, and even the fall, but spring-flowering shrubs are the most common.
You may know that welcoming other new plants (say, a perennial or a rosebush) to your yard with amended soil is a good idea. The usual advice is to dig the hole and mix some of the native soil with some good organic matter, on the grounds that few of us have fabulous, perfect native soil in our yards. Should you do this for an incoming tree as well Actually, no not because digging a tree-size hole is a lot of work. And not because anyone assumes that your yard has fabulous, perfect native soil. A tree's roots are eventually going to expand well beyond the planting hole you make for them. They need to go deep and wide over time.
Go around your yard with a shovel and perhaps a digging bar, swiftly and mercifully eliminating namby-pamby plants of whatever kind. Or at least move them where they'll perform better, if location is the problem. Probably 80 percent of gardening problems are caused by 20 percent of plants. You know which ones they are. Go get 'em.
Armadillos are awfully cute until they decide to tear up your lawn in search of insects and grubs. These creatures can climb and burrow, but you may be able to exclude them from your yard with a fence that slants outward and extends 1 foot into the soil and 2 feet aboveground.
The best way to check out the surface-water situation at your house is to wait for a heavy rain, then go out and get your feet wet. The illustration at left identifies the points where you might find water either puddling or running off. Follow runoff to see if it's coursing into a natural drainage system (such as a stream), ending up in a storm sewer, or turning a low spot in your yard into a swampy pond.
Shrubs are the real workhorses of the home landscape. For all intents and purposes, regard them as permanent or long-term fixtures. They're something to see and appreciate in all seasons, bringing heft and stability to your yard. And after they reach mature size, you can maintain them that way with little trouble. So it behooves you to choose wisely, matching your yard's growing conditions and getting the look you want. In the following sections, I tell you about the different types of shrubs.
You may get a pretty good idea whether a yard needs more sun or shade the minute the real-estate agent drives you up in front. But do not make expensive, irrevocable decisions until you have studied sun and shade patterns in your yard for a full year. First, orient yourself to the north point and other compass points of your yard. Then make notes of sunrise and -set and the shadows on different parts of the yard at different times of the day and year.
Replant the new pieces, some in the same spot and the others perhaps elsewhere in your yard (or give them away to other gardeners). 1 Plant in good (fertile and well-drained) ground. Perhaps the original spot could use a dose of organic matter before you return pieces to it when planting elsewhere in your yard, prepare a bed in advance so you can move quickly. See Chapter 4 for info on soil amendment.
As with trees, plant in the spring This timing gives young plants an opportunity to establish themselves in your yard, a few months in which to develop roots that both anchor and fuel the show this year and for years to come. Local nurseries have the best and broadest selection waiting for you in spring. Pay attention to your lines of sight if you're planting in the front yard. A shrub too close to the road can make pulling out of the driveway a harrowing experience. Amending the planting hole is usually a good, practical idea. If you know your yard's soil isn't that great, or if your new shrub has a particular soil requirement (for instance, rhododendrons prefer acidic soil), by all means, make soil adjustments. The rule of thumb is half native soil and half organically rich amendments (which can be any or all of the following topsoil, compost, dehydrated manure, loam, or slightly moistened peat moss). Chapter 4 has more info on soil amendments.
Broadleaf evergreen trees do best in soil that's slightly acidic. If you're not sure whether your yard offers the right growing conditions, get a soil test and amend the soil as recommended beforehand. An acidic mulch, such as chopped-up dried fall leaves from oaks or pine needles, also helps. (See Chapter 4 for more info on soil prep.)
Patios and decks on the north and east will have less sun and more cooling breezes in warm climates and warm weather. Those on the south and west will receive much-appreciated extra sun in cooler climates and seasons. Take time to study wind and rain directions in your yard, as well as sun and shadow patterns. See how they vary with the seasons before choosing a site.
Patios have a more permanent look and feel. And their reflected heat feels great in the spring. Because of the wide variety of paving materials available, patios can complement any style of house and landscape. They do require level ground, though. (If your yard is completely flat, you might consider excavating for a sunken patio to add interest. Such a patio will be cooler in summer, give a different view of the surroundings, and provide privacy. It also will cost more because of the need to dig and to retain the surrounding area.)
If you have a small yard and don't want to use it for gardening, there's no reason why you have to use your backyard. Why not someone else's Some friendly neighbor who always wanted an attractive garden, or who might want to earn some extra money by renting you a piece or even all of his backyard This is a particularly welcome solution if you live in a heavily wooded area that gets very little sun, or if your landscaping doesn't adapt well to a large garden. You can also rent empty lots or side lots. Or you may be able tofind someone who already has a large garden and wouldn't mind having you as a friendly tenant.
Your first step should be to figure out where you need privacy and what visual intrusions you need to block. Usually, that means the areas of your backyard where you'll relax and entertain. Your property also might dictate the need for blocking views into front or side windows. Or, you may want to separate parts of your garden from one another (do this carefully, especially where space is limited, because too much division can cause confusion and crowding).
The pile should optimally be built under a deciduous oak tree. This tree's nature provides the conditions for the development of excellent soil underneath it. And compost is a kind of soil. The second-best place for a compost pile is under any other kind of deciduous tree (with the exceptions of walnut and eucalyptus). As a last resort, you can build your pile under evergreen trees or any shady place in your backyard. The shade and windbreak provided by the trees help keep the pile at an even moisture level. (The pile should be placed 6 feet away from the tree's trunk so it will not provide a haven for potentially harmful insects.)
Design deserves your best thinking because it determines the outcome of the project and how it will function over time. The design phase is a time to slow down and pay attention. Design goes from the general ( I think I want a vegetable garden ) to the specific ( I want four 4 x 10 raised stone beds in the northeast corner of the back yard with six kohlrabi plants, a dozen rutabagas, and five Bad Boy tomatoes ).
With all the environmental concerns about garbage disposal, composting in your own back yard is more important than ever. The compost heap can be a positive step toward recycling Mother Nature's bounty and improving your garden. It is simple. fall leaves, cut grass, and kitchen vegetable scraps recycled in your garden will improve the texture and nutritional content, and encourage earthworms and beneficial bacteria. Compost breaks down into humus, which reduces the need for fertilizer and water. Compost is the remains of semidecaved plants. It is the best and cheapest source of organic matter. You can now make compost in your back yard faster and with less mess than Nature can, and the product will be as good or better.
Next month there will be a FREE packet of 'Red & Green Salad Bowl Mixed' lettuce on the front of your May edition of Kitchen Garden. This colourful mixture produces crisp leaves and is ideal for use as a 'cut-and-come-again' crop. Sown in succession, it will brighten your salads through the summer months. Dear Newsagent, please reserve deliver my next copy of Kitchen Garden Magazine, starting with the next issue.
Which method for you That depends on your gardening conditions. But if your time and space are limited, consider either small-space intensive or wide-row gardening. If you are interested primarily in organic gardening, and want to try a more productive method, consider either the raised-bed or depressed-bed method. If you live in an apartment or townhouse with a patio, try container vegetable gardening. There are, of course, many other methods besides these one of the great joys of gardening, as you become more experienced, will be to experiment with the many methods and to decide for yourself which best suit your needs or goals.
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