The process of planning and creating a home garden can be quite exciting. Even during the coldest parts of winter many growers find themselves daydreaming about the potential of the coming growing season. While the actual design of these gardens is limited only by the imagination, other factors can play a major role in determining what is and is not realistic within a space.
When I began growing in my own backyard, I quickly found that my small planting area would greatly reduce the amount of produce that my garden would yield. It was for this reason that I began to explore and to implement intensive growing techniques.
The creation of outdoor green spaces can serve many purposes. While some gardens allow homeowners to relax and unwind after a stressful day, others may be more focused on the production of fruits, vegetables, or even cut flowers. As I began my own journey toward self-sufficiency, I knew that optimizing my space would be essential.
Planning the Garden
Each season, my garden planning begins with a rough sketch that notes where each bed and narrow walkway will be. Each garden bed is about 4 ft. (1.2 m) wide, and will be filled with plants placed much more closely together than in traditional plantings. The creation of these beds allows me to better utilize planting space, as well as focus my attention on tasks, like weeding, during the growing season. Since the growing beds have been well amended and worked from season to season, this allows me to implement other time saving techniques, like no-till gardening, as well.
Intensive Garden Design
The creation and overall design of intensive gardens can vary greatly. In my own growing space, the narrow pathways often become overgrown and are somewhat difficult to navigate late in the season. Upon glancing into the garden from my kitchen window, my cut flower space often appears as an unruly sea of blooms. Still, this technique has allowed my garden to become more and more productive with each passing season.
Intensive gardening can be a good match for many growers. However, it will always be important to consider one’s own growing circumstances. Before beginning, those who wish to explore intensive gardening in their own backyards should consider their own needs and their own unique growing and physical limitations.