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Favorite Gardening Methods — The Grow Network Community
Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless.

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Favorite Gardening Methods

lhoffmanfritzlhoffmanfritz Posts: 3
edited July 2018 in Growing Food

Square foot garden didn't work for me either when we tried it.  But it does work for my daughter and her family.  They are crazy busy and one small square foot bed keeps them in fresh veggies all summer and they are happy with that.  I've tried so many methods and combining a couple is what is working for us,  I got all the books for the Secret Garden of Survival by Rick Austin that I really liked his idea. We actually had some berms put in and we wanted trees between us and the road so we put in trees from the state nursery along with fruit trees mixed in about 500 total.  About 300 trees made it through these first two years.   I took 12 trees this year and double digged around them and planted my garden there.  It has worked pretty well for most stuff.  Corn didn't do and the rabbits loved the green beans.  But everything else is thriving.  I even have oats coming up pretty good.  I will double dig around these same trees this Fall and in the spring I will plant berries near the trees and plant garden on the outside edges.    I am doing the trees nearest the house realizing in the future I may not want to venture to far out or might not be able to.  I've had to water very little so far.  My old raised bed garden is totally dried up and mostly dead.  I had put cucumbers, melons and squash out there.  One water melon and one squash is alive but under stress so I watered them today in hopes they will revive.   I am thinking I should start double digging out in my old orchard and next year plant the vining plants out there and let them grow up into the trees.  I am at that age where I want garden but I can't really take care of it any more.  These little gardens around the trees has been wonderful.  After the initial hard work, I can leave it alone after a few good waterings.  I can't wait for my trees to get big.   I guess we never planted trees before because our neighbor hayed it and we had forest on the other side of our lake.  Now the neighbor is gone and we sold most of the farm off and just have this 12 acres left, no trees except the orchard.  Really want some privacy now that we are retired and just sitting here.  Need to get the dock moved and re-anchored but this year we are building a house for our son's who moved back home to help take care of us and the property.  Good luck finding a gardening system that works for you!  I tried to add a picture of one of my little gardens but I am not cleaver enough to do so.   I have several pictures in my journal entries if you want to see them.


  • Ruth Ann ReyesRuth Ann Reyes Managing Director TGN Shy of the Chi - Zone 5bPosts: 315 admin
    edited July 2018
    Back to Eden fan here!
  • GrammyprepperGrammyprepper Mamaw, retired RN, jack of all trades master of none Zone 5BPosts: 172 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2018
    I did a lasagna/raised bed type garden this year, and will be expanding it next year. We have heavy clay soil in OH. I spent about the same amount of money with this as I would have had I done a regular till garden, with much more success and a little less work. I put down cardboard last fall, covered it with leaves. Brought in compost, peat, and topsoil. Planted my transplants into that. And mulched it! I will never not mulch my garden again! Weeds were negligible. Yield was fantastic. We rent, and don't plan to be here next year, but still considering a cover crop for winter. IF we are still here next year, I will rotate crops. Primary lesson I learned, no till works. But I am also growing a personal garden, not major production. No judgement, just sharing what worked for me this season. I have gardened for many years, good crops, bad crops. But I think this method is a keeper, with proper upkeep.
  • AlisonAlison Posts: 156 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2018
    I am a HUGE Back to Eden fan, plus with the drought for the past year I have saved a lot of heartache by using 50% coconut coir with 50% compost as a thick topper to my raised vegie beds. Saves a lot of watering.

  • JensJens Posts: 366 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2018
    I do a mixture of all those methods plus some permaculture elements. A small square food bed is mainly for salad and other greens and some flowers.

    The raspberries, currants and the like are more in back to eden style with lost of mulch and wood chips to suppress annual weeds. Some comfrey near the raspberries for chop and drop mulching on top of everything else.
  • DominicaDominica Posts: 42
    edited September 2018
    I definitely want to try the Back to Eden at some point. It looks like something that would work really well for us. My only concern is wood chips... don't they attract wood roaches? Has anyone had a problem with that, and if so, how did you alleviate the problem. Thanks so much!
  • NanCNanC Posts: 53 ✭✭
    edited September 2018
    I use BAcktoEden in my little postage stamp yard next to my house and I have not noticed any more or new insect appearances.  Little ants like the chips for nesting, but they are not bothering my house.  They stay in the woodchip pile remaining.

    The woodchips need greens in them to better break down or else you will need more patience.  I am amazed at how fast a pile does become compost when fresh from a tree with its green foliage in the mix.

    I too have used permaculture principles in another small area of my little yard; I also have a small hugelkultur hill in the main garden near two garden beds.  So I like experimenting with all kinds of methods and learning to make excellent soil.
  • DominicaDominica Posts: 42
    edited September 2018
    Thanks, NC Colbert for your information about insects. I'm probably going to try this at some point. The idea of replenishing the soil, in addition to growing food, really appeals to me.
  • Kristin MillsKristin Mills Posts: 8 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2018
    We did Back to Eden this year and it was a huge success. We got 70 loads (yes 70!!) from our local tree service when they trimmed trees along the electric lines in our area. We are expanding our garden since we still have so many wood chips. We also let the chickens work the garden from the end of the growing season until Feb. then we move them out to let the garden rest before planting.
  • alindsay22alindsay22 Posts: 127 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2018
    I guess I'm going to have to check out Back to Eden.  I do a layered approach like "Lasagna" gardening.  I went from having sand for soil in SF to clay soil in Oakland and it has worked great for amending the soil in both.
  • DebiBDebiB Posts: 93 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2018
    I'm finding my best results with raised beds where I live.  We have clay, clay and more clay here which drains poorly so being able to fill up a raised bed with good quality soil really helps, it drains so much better than planting in the ground.  I've discovered I have to be careful with covering the raised bed with mulch because if I put too much mulch down it seems to attract voles which are nasty little boogers that love eating the roots of my plants.

    Do keep in mind that every area is different and what works well in one place does not necessarily work somewhere else.   If you are interested in what works in your area, talk to neighbors and others you know in the area about what they do for gardening.
  • CherlynnCherlynn Posts: 149 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2018
    That's right DebiB!  Not only what will work in one area but what will work for each person!  My son's who moved in with us to help us out love my food forest and even my husband is on board now that he realizes he no longer has to mow any of it.  I've expanded around the trees to create the 3rd tir that connects with the next tree area. My son is excited as this coming year there will be melons and grapes and fun stuff growing into the trees and hanging down. My disabled son is excited that when he goes for a walk it will be like a treasure hunt! Less work for us but lots of food to be found. We have 2 berms to repair/fix that didn't work this year in our drought. One more thing to do before winter sets in on us!
  • karenkaren Posts: 77 ✭✭
    edited October 2018
    I am in the southern andes and it is stone stone and more stone. so i use Raised beds filled by either the lasagana method during the rainy season with lots and lots of green stuff. or classic turn and add to, to take care of all the household scraps during the dry season. usually have both going. I just have a large yard with minimal access to brown stuff so that is taxied in - wood shavings/chips and peanut shells. Also, my wooden planters fell apart -warping and practically dissolving in the subtropical climate - so I am planting sweet potatoes in some of the area where the boards were lifted out. along with left over compost this should produce a wonderful on-the-ground patch for easy to maintain crops that dont require much root space. Since it is just me, with a year round growing climate, I use the square-bed-gardening method to produce small crops at a time but lots and lots of greens for smoothies. i had to rebuild my beds and lots of people suggested brick and concrete which i couldnt really afford. then someone suggested the outer cuts of logs from the variety of workshops around in two close communities. the only ones we found, in the moment, $3.50 a piece, running about 10' long and anywhere from 8" to 12 " wide. they would have been cheaper if the bark was still attached but these ones are clean - and they are wonderful looking, a bit uneven in depth and width but what the heck. they have also been set up inside the old chicken coop so I am making use of the wire fencing for all sorts and a friend put up bamboo trellises along two brick walls. that's one third of the yard. the middle third is still a work in progress LOL. the last third, against a south brick wall is a hodgepodge of regular gardening/permaculture wanna-be with native plants, a pathway, a central part bordered by another pathway, and filled with plants, mostly native and one fruit tree that can capture/love the run-off from the roof during heavy rains, and help to stop a river of water that flows on a slope to a concrete pad that is filling up with a wire compost bin and lots of potted things - full sun most of the day so tomatoes for example. so, "a" particular method? depends on what I am growing and in what part of the yard, but I think mostly permaculture and using what is available. My yard BTW is roughly 40'x40'.
  • screaminvernscreaminvern Posts: 6 ✭✭✭
    edited October 2018
    I like raised beds for everything except potatoes and corn. I was introduced to "companion planting" in 1998, and I have used that very successfully since.
  • peppypoblanopeppypoblano Posts: 92
    edited October 2018
    Currently we use the raised bed/lasagna method.  I'm hoping to start working towards the food forest this coming spring.
  • Marjory WildcraftMarjory Wildcraft ✭✭✭ Posts: 848 admin
    edited November 2018
    I'm a fan of bio-intensive gardening for my main vegetables.

    Back to Eden is great for the orchard area...  getting enough wood chips is the challenge with Eden.

    I also like container gardening on the patio or right near the house.

    Aayhhh, actually I haven't met a gardening style I don't like!

    Oh, from several folks in the Central Texas area who heavily experimented with squarefoot gardeing, they found Mel's recommendations for compost and water needed to be increased dramatically due to the heat.


  • ines871ines871 zn8APosts: 1,410 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Back to Eden fan :)

    Now if only I can man-handle... 4 mountains of woodchips plus horse-dooh, since I'm the only one currently able to do any kind of gardening. - Going to buy coconut coir to mix into my Award-winning compost, to save more on watering.

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