A Method in the Madness

Some great emails have come in asking for advice on how to plant; guess I never really covered that, did I?  Huge topic-to avoid running the risk of information overload, I’ll explain what I’ve done and offer a couple of other popular options.

Essentially what I did is a combination of row planting and triangle formation, which is essentially just staggering your plants along the row so they’re not all side by side.   As you can see, the rows run neatly horizontally but not vertically and this staggering maximizes the spacing between the plants while still helping you take advantage of the square footage to increase your plant numbers.

This year I’m employing what’s called a “cut and come again” approach, which is a school of thought that says that if your soil quality is high, you can increase your yield by spacing your plants much closer together than previously advised; some say up to 4 inches.  You then start to harvest from the plant (usually the outer layers) before it becomes fully mature, never allowing it to reach full size.  If you want to bring a plant to full maturity, you can simply harvest every other plant, leaving space for the remaining to increase in size. As far as I understand, this would only work with leafy greens that can be eaten young- other plants such as broccoli need to wait for sprouts, which wouldn’t happen until the plant matures.  So we’ll see.  I shudder to think what a Master Gardener would say about this approach (the ones I know are all about lots of space) but I’m willing to give it a go.

Now my A type personality seems to gravitate to rows (although a lack of human resources meant I wasn’t able to go the whole nine yards; measure them out exactly and run string across the bed to ensure my rows are straight, but I’ve moved on).  This method does help with weeding, insect control and easy sowing & cultivation, but there are other choices. There’s wide row planting, band planting, hill planting (great for potatoes-more on that later) and my new favourite, square foot planting.

Opinions abound of course but like most things I think trial and error is the inevitable route to discovering what works best for the space you have.

And of course, growing up is ideal, always start with good soil and hardening off your transplants for at least a few days will all put you in good stead.  And hey, what’s the worst that could happen?

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1 Response to A Method in the Madness

  1. Pingback: A Decent Start | Adventures in Organic Urban Farming with Suzanne Denison

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