Friday, December 06, 2013

Changing the way I Veggie Garden

Traditionally I have been an in row gardener like most folks but have decided to try a different way of conducting veggie business.  Recently I spent a great deal of time in my garden.  In late November I caught a few days when the soil in the garden was quite workable and decided to create permanent garden beds.  To do this I tilled as deep as I could then tilled in the opposite direction as deep as I could get the tiller down.  I know that the tiller does nothing for the soil structure except destroy it but my decision to create permanent beds should offset that activity in a few growing seasons.  After the soil was worked adequately the kids and I began to lay out the garden.  First, we squared up the garden to within an inch and began to lay out the beds and paths.  I took into consideration equipment size, optimal bed widths and aesthetics when creating the final design.

We ended up with a a four foot wide main path and two or three foot wide paths along the beds.  By shoveling the soil out of the path area down to the un-tilled soil and placing it into what would become the beds we created raised beds that became about 40 inches wide and to a depth of about 10 inches.  This will or should create a much deeper rooting zone than what we previously had.  Next spring I'll sod the paths from sod on the farm to make harvest and planting less limited by weather conditions.

The final practice this winter was to top dress with some of our compost on some beds and leaves on others to increase the organic matter in the beds.  I will let you know which one performs best in the spring.

The advantages to the permanent bed garden:

  • Easier planning in the off season
  • Once established easier spring preparation 
  • Start gardening earlier
  • Better Drainage
  • Deeper Rooting (maybe now I can grow Carrots)
  • Allows for more diverse planting