Monday, November 3, 2008

Gardening Goals

This past season I planted a small garden. It was the first garden I've put in at this location, so it was an experiment. I didn't know what to expect from the local soil, a light sand I've never encountered before (being originally from Pennsylvania, and later living near Denver where the soils were heavy clay).

My garden was a tiny 4 foot by 25 foot plot, but I used a biointensive, organic method that allowed me to grow tons (okay, not quite tons, but a lot) of food in a very small space. Plus, I succession-planted several things to get two or more crops in the growing season (carrots, beets, and spinach). Altogether the garden produced: beets, chard, lettuce, spinach, radishes, carrots, green beans, lima beans, sweet corn, pickling cucumbers, zucchini, butternut squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, sugar snap peas, basil and parsley. There were many smashing successes (chard, zucchini--of course!, cantaloupe, butternut squash, spinach, carrots, beets, basil) and some near failures (sweet corn--although I knew we didn't have a big enough block from the start, limas and green beans).

Altogether, it was far more productive than I ever imagined it would be and I am totally hooked on biointensive gardening.

My goal now is to grow the bulk of our produce myself, so I will be expanding next year. I aim to have roughly 400 square feet of beds, plus some additional space for herbs along the side of the house. (I tried to get herbs going this year too, but some little critters kept eating everything when they had only a few leaves each--there will have to be a new strategy next year). Four hundred square feet won't allow me to grow our grains, nor many of our dried beans, but it should allow me to grow most everything else. We're a small household--just me and a son who's here half of the time. Granted, by the next growing season he'll be a teenager, so that might mean he eats like two of me...but I still think we'll do very well.

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