Garden / June 17, 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.
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
No south-facing window, balcony or yard? Consider a community garden, it is a great way to grow food while strengthening relationships with neighbours. If there is not already a community garden in your neighbourhood, might there be a vacant lot on which to start one? One thing is for sure, learning how to grow vegetables with others in your community while sharing information and resources will do more than put food on the table. Collective gardening or even just sharing gardening space will help to build and strengthen relationships within your community.
You do not need a lot of space to grow fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits. You do not really even need a garden. Plant breeders know that after taste, home gardeners want a high yield in a small space, so they have been developing more varieties that can grow in a small foot print or even live in containers all year long.