Garden / June 19, 2018 /
Vegetable gardening used to be the poor relation of ornamental flower gardens. Perennial borders reigned and large, messy, vegetable gardens were hidden in the back yard, usually the domain of the man of the house. Vegetable gardens were about producing food, not beauty. Now that vegetables have taken a more prominent place on the table, they are gaining more respect in the gardening world. And with the increased interest from home gardeners, there has been a surge in the development of new varieties: colorful novelty vegetables, heirlooms, ethnic varieties and compact growers.
Instead of rows, Jeavons and Bartholomew suggest planting in tightly spaced geometric patterns that will allow the crops to create a living mulch of foliage as they mature. This living mulch performs two of the main tasks that regular old dead mulch does: keeping the soil moist and suppressing weeds. In order to create this effect, however, you need to know how much space to give each plant. Mel Bartholomews brilliantly simple tactic is to set a 1-by-1-foot grid onto a garden space and plant crops into the grid. Large crops such as broccoli, peppers and cabbage require a whole square, whereas small ones such as carrots and radishes can be planted 16 to a square.