The more research you do about vegetable gardening you'll soon realise the information and resources in books and online is endless. I'm not suggesting I'm any type of garden guru, far from it really, but there's more a beginner gardener can do and understand to make the start of their gardening journey more successful and more enjoyable.
Let me introduce you to Intensive gardening. I'm a little bit in love with this concept.
Intensive gardening has been practiced for many centuries around the world, French market gardeners around Paris adopted this planting method from Chinese gardeners who were using in centuries before. Intensive gardening is often given other names like "square-foot" gardening which was detailed in Mel Bartholomew’s book, published in 1981. Intensive gardening has become more popular as our backyards have started to shrink. There's less useable outdoor space for vegetable gardens in our Auckland urban properties than ever before. Trust me, while searching for a new home recently we saw the backyards shrinking before our eyes. Even if there is space for a garden, it's quite possibly shaded much of the year.
The method of intensive gardening means the plants are spaced as close as possible in triangular patterns. When the plants are mature, their leaves should slightly overlap, welcome to the art of less weeds. Weeds can't thrive with little sunlight, a leaf canopy also helps to slow soil moisture evaporation.
Intensive planting makes the best use of garden space, conserves moisture, and helps to control weeds so why wouldn't you?
The punnets or seed packets you come across will be a lot more generous with spacing. Try to follow our recommendations for each plant to get the most out of your garden.
Leave row planting for the commercial growers.
1. Make sure you've followed our how to guide on getting the soil right before putting a plant in the ground.
2. When you receive our monthly information sheet in your box, have a look at the recommended spacings which we have listed for each of the plants you've received. We've given an example of a possible layout in a small square garden, but you may have to modify it depending on your garden size and shape.
3. Plant your first row with the vegetable with the biggest spacing, make sure you use a ruler to set out equal distances. Now your second row should be in a triangular layout, offset between the plants in the first row. All equal distances apart.
4. Plant the next lot of seedlings the same way, again ensuring they are evenly spaced at the recommended distance.
5. All vegetable varieties have different length of times to maturity and to harvest. Yip, some wont be ready for three months. Infill the smaller varieties between the larger ones if possible in subsequent months. We've send a set number of punnets and no, we don't actually know how big your plot is. Some months if your garden in bulging revert to pots or go ahead and build another narrow garden. It's definitely better to have more growing than not enough. We have some easy up kitsets on our website if you need a spare.
There's plenty more information to come about intensive gardening but lets not go over board all at once.