I promised to share the steps for intensive gardening practices with you. This type of gardening and soil preparation are perfect for raised beds and urban gardeners like myself who need to grow as much as possible in smaller spaces.
The first step in intensive gardening is soil preparation. Since adopting this method this year I can see the difference in my garden. It is lush and super productive. Germination rates are higher and my yields are greater.
When preparing the soil, liberal use of compost is a must. If you don't make your own you should. I can tell my garden is so much healthier since making and using my own compost. The worms are everywhere, sign of good soil.
Here is an easy frugal DIY compost holder. I used this for two years until I purchased a big one.
You can see below areas that I harvested then double dug, enriched with compost and planted seeds in. I keep these old plant trays on top of newly planted areas until the seedlings grow keeping the critters out.
You also don't want to step on your soil once you have prepared it to avoid any compaction. Loosened rich soil will absorb water and oxygen better. It is best to plant in narrow rows with some sort of way to walk between rows or in my case I use stepping stones to step in the garden for working or harvesting.
You can see below an example of a garden layout allowing for access to beds with paths between rows.
So step one in intensive gardening is soil preparation. I had always mixed in compost before but see now that this deeper preparation works magic. You can see below in my spring planting how lush and closely planted everything is. Blocking weeds and the ability to grow more in smaller space are just two of the benefits of this intensive gardening method. Next post, in part two, I will show you the plants I have put in for summer harvests and the key to successive planting and growing vertically.