space maximizing secrets?

dolivoOctober 28, 2011

I'm looking for space saving/use of space maximizing secrets from more expereienced gardeners.

Please share!

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Raised beds and vertical growing are two I would try out.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 7:02PM
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Cabbage, tomatoes, lettuce, string beans (pole), sweet potatoes, zucchini. I may forget some. No broccoli, corn, kohlrabi, fennel, squash and melons.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 8:23PM
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Yeah, I second that,,,,
Google "French Intensive / BioDynamic"
It is like what Americans would call "square foot gardening", without being anal ;-)

Just plant something in every available spot... it works for me...

I donate all of my vegetables to the Food Bank and this year (so-far) my donation total is at 8851 lbs, my garden is only 1500 square feet ,so as you can see, I never have a spot that isn't growing something ;-)

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 8:32PM
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Well done John. You deserve a very large medal.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 8:35PM
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Wow, John! Amazing!
Great ideas everyone, please keep them coming!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 9:17PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

I grow in raised beds, too, on a far smaller scale than Jon. (Jon, you are the best advertising for gardening there is! What a happy heart you have!)

I would say that in addition to using the french intensive or square foot methods, it is important to keep your soil producing all the time. In other words, when a crop is finished, pull it up, fertilize, and plant something else. Naturally, the length of your season will determine just how much of this you can do, but it seems from these forums, that even those who live in the far north can have two or even three crops a year from at least part of their garden space. Here in the south, we can get three, even four.

For instance, in late winter or earliest spring, I can plant sugar snap peas or lettuce, or greens. They will be finished by late May, so I can pull them up and plant cucumbers or squash. These will be done by late July or early august, when I can plant pole beans or cowpeas for the fall garden. And when THOSE are done in late fall, I can plant garlic and onions for the winter.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 10:24PM
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ok, all great tips and ideas!
A question: for planting my pole beans, can I plant them like this:
l l
l l
l l
l l *NORTH*
l l
l l
l l

The "l"s are suppose to represent a fence or trellis the beans will grow on. they will go east-west with the long front facing North. Does this make sense? will the beans to the east shade back ones too much or will the sun come up and over and give them all the same amount of light?

    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 12:29AM
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feijoas(New Zealand)

These are some of my space-saving methods. Not for everyone, but they work for me.
I think the best way to make the most of a space is to feed the soil as much as it needs and mulch heavily. No secrets there, just work!
I have espaliered fruit trees where there used to be lawn. I pull grass and encourage dandelions...
While I live on a very small property, every inch has useful things growing on it.
'Useful' isn't just food for people: quite a bit of my place is covered in plants for insects and for the compost.
I plant in blocks, not rows.
Go up; trellising is my friend. Doesn't need to be fancy, the plants don't care what it looks like!
Plant in time as well as space: brassica grow slow, radishes fast: plant radishes between young brassica and harvest before the plants get huge.
Plant 'space-saving' varieties. There's plenty of non-hybrid, smaller-growing plants, particularly brassicas.
Plan the garden for maximum utility, like tall plants such as tomatoes at the back so the don't shade other plants (if the op's in the Northern hemisphere, 'back=North'...)
One more thing! I try to plant in a 'staggered' formation. Apparently the software won't let me post my staggered Xs, but envision planting like the '5' on a die. Then you can really pack the plants in, with no gaps.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 4:24AM
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In the previous post, I forgot chard. That's it though. Eggplants may qualify if you live in a warm climate.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 11:01AM
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zzackey(8b GA)

We plan to trellis all of our cukes, beans and squashes next year using cattle panel arches. (I saw that recently on here somewhere). I just bought several pairs of panty hose at a yard sale for 5 cents each. I plan to use that to hold up the butternut squash with. The neighbors will think I lost my last marble, but that's ok. Maybe, I'll even give them a squash!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 4:35PM
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Dolivo, planting your beans on a north facing wall will mean that they will be in the shade most of the year, unless the fence is free-standing and gets sun from the south, too.

Square foot gardening is great for maximizing space. Use trellises to hold up tall plants, and be sure they are farthest north. The wall in the photo faces south.

The trellis in this photo runs east-west. The block wall fence never shades it, but shade from the house blocks the sun from November - early March.

Here is a link that might be useful: What's Growing On?

    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 5:52PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

The answer to your pole bean question is yes, as long as the rows are well spaced. You would do well to go to the legume (beans?) forum and do some reading there about spacing. Those guys give their bean plants more space than is customary. I tried it this year and what a big difference it made in yield!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2011 at 11:16AM
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