Garden / January 27, 2018 / .
Fertile soil that retains nutrients and water is one of the keys to success with intensive planting, which is a fancy way of saying planting a lot in a little area. America’s intensive-growing tradition has two fathers: John Jeavons and Mel Bartholomew. In his classic 1974 book, How to Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine, Jeavons introduced Americans to French intensive-gardening techniques, notably deep soil preparation through double-dug beds and intensive crop-planting patterns. Seven years later, Bartholomew offered a new way to think about these patterns in a classic book of his own
Hanging baskets and window boxes are ideal for small gardens. They create interest and help add a vertical dimension. Patio and stair railings are great places for hanging pots. Window boxes and wall planters are another way to grow up. Gardens are not just for plants. Hang lanterns, wind chimes and other outdoor décor too.
The ideal soil type for growing most crops is loam, the rich halfway point between clay and sandy soils. If you are not sure which soil type you have, hold some in the palm of your hand, wet it and try to make a ball. If it forms a tight, hard wad, then you have lots of clay in your soil. If you can not form a ball, you have sand. If the ball forms but pretty easily breaks apart, you probably have loam. No matter which type you have, you can improve both your soils structure and fertility by working compost into the top layer each year. Those with really limited space can take heart in knowing there are effective composting options suitable for even the smallest of spaces.
Planning is key to a successful small garden. Measure your space and consider how much room you have for your garden plants and accessories. Pay attention to the lighting where you will be planting. And, consider how you would like to use your garden. Do you plan on entertaining friends and throwing parties? Or, will this space mainly be an intimate space for you to read and enjoy coffee? If you will be hosing parties in your small garden, then you will need to plant around the border and leave plenty of room for walkways. If this space is mainly for your enjoyment, then design your garden with comfy spots to sit and read a good book.