How Does Your Garden Grow?
In this post we're going to look a three different methods for growing a garden that we have in practice here. The first has been in place for quite a while now, and it just gets better year after year. The second and third are both systems that we had familiarity with, but had yet to put into practice until this growing season. Let's explore the three methods and I will share some short video that we posted over on our YouTube Channel detailing each of them.
Deep Mulch Method:
The first method is a deep mulch system. We started our first garden here in the southwest corner of our property. It was kind of a tucked away little corner bordered by the road, driveway, neighbor's property, and an old metal shed. It just felt detached from everything and ended up being a decent space to start and grow a garden. It was however, essentially a rock filled driveway for all intents and purposes, so we began what is now years worth of piling material into an ever evolving growing system. Leaves, grass clippings, old hay, wood chips, pine needles, straw, and loads and loads of compost, along with manure have been added in various forms over the years. Today it is a lush growing area that supports a wide range of perenial plants and is slowly evolving into my version of a food forest. It is one of the easiest ways to start gardening, since there is no digging involved....but it does take years to reach its full potential.
Raised Bed Method:
The second method is a raised bed system. You will find many versions of how best to do this, but for us it was simple wooden boxes filled with yard scraps, old logs, and rough compost before adding a layer of finished compost that we purchased from the local landfill. The results in these beds have been amazing and we are very pleased with our results this season so far. I would say that while being an expensive way to start, this method yields very quick results as you can literally start gardening the second you finish filling the beds with soil. If you add in a simple irrigation system, this method gets even easier. I personally find that the rigid corners and defined bed space increase my ability to evenly space plants which results in a much more tidy garden space. I absolutely love this method and it is by far my most favorite.
In Ground Growing:
The third and final method for growing is perhaps the most traditional method for growing a garden, and that is growing your garden in the ground. For me, this has always been an exercise (literally....lots of digging and physical labor involved) in adding soil amendments to help improve the soil before planting. I usually add in compost, silage top, manure, old hay, grass clippings, dry chicken manure, worm castings, rabbit droppings, or any other organic matter I can find to help improve the soil structure and fertility. This is all usually tilled and dug into the existing soil before adding a top dressing of finished compost. The resulting beds will be heavily mulched once planted to help conserve moisture and limit the inevitable weeding tasks that will be associated with in ground growing. After one season, I will move to a no dig approach for bed maintenance by simply adding compost every year for the remainder of the beds life.
Over the years I have found success with all these methods and I am looking forward to an active growing season this year. How do you garden? Which method is your favorite? Share your thoughts down in the comments and check back throughout the growing season for updates on our garden progress this season.
Get outside and get growing, because life is better, when its live Outdoorz!