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Pinedale Online > News > July 2009 > Dig It! - Intensive Gardening for More Produce in Less Space

 Trellises. Photo by .
Trellises

Intensive Gardening. Photo by Virginia Tech, Publication Number 426-335, 2006.
Intensive Gardening
Credit for the illustrations and Intensive Spacing Guide are given to Diane Relf, Extension horticulturist (retired), and Alan McDaniel, associate professor, Department of Horticulture, Virginia Tech, Publication Number 426-335, 2006.
Dig It! - Intensive Gardening for More Produce in Less Space
Part 3
by Sage & Snow Garden Club
July 14, 2009

The practice of intensive gardening is not just for those with limited garden space; rather, an intensive garden concentrates your work efforts to create an ideal plant environment, giving better yields. The intensive gardening ideal is to have something growing in every part of the garden at all times during the growing season. An intensive garden minimizes wasted space. Parts 1 and 2 of this series of articles on intensive gardening covered planning, soil preparation, and interplanting. This article covers vertical gardening, succession planting, and relay planting.

Using trellises, nets, strings, cages, or poles to support growing plants constitutes vertical gardening. This technique is especially suited, but not limited, to small garden spaces. Vining and sprawling plants, such as zucchini and tomatoes are obvious candidates for this type of gardening. Some plants entwine themselves onto the support, while others may need to be tied. Remember that a vertical planting will cast a shadow. Beware of shading sun-loving crops, but plant shade-tolerant crops near the trellises to take advantage of the shade. Plants grown vertically occupy much less space on the ground, and though the yield per plant may be (but is not always) low, the yield per square foot of garden space is high. Because vertically growing plants are more exposed than non-staked plants, they dry out quickly and may need to be watered frequently. This fast drying is an advantage to those plants susceptible to fungus diseases or slugs.

Succession planting is an excellent way to make the most of an intensive garden. To obtain a succession of crops, plant something new in the spots vacated by spent plants. Spinach after radishes is a type of succession. Planting a spring, summer, and fall garden is another form of succession planting. Cool season crops (broccoli, lettuce, peas) are followed by warm season crops (tomatoes and squash), and, where possible, these may be followed by more cool-season plants, or even a winter cover crop. Starting seeds indoors for transplanting is important for effective gardening. To get the most from your garden plot, a new crop should be ready to take the place of the crop being removed. Several weeks may be gained by having 6-inch transplants ready to go into a vacated area. Donít forget to recondition the soil for the new plants.

Relaying consists of multiple plantings of one crop to provide a continuous harvest. Radishes and lettuce or other crops that yield for two weeks or less are good prospects. One approach to relaying is to plant one variety several times at about two-week intervals (more time between early plantings in colder soil but only 10 days between the last plantings). Another approach is to make one planting of two or more varieties that differ in maturity time, e.g., 50-day and 60-day lettuce.
Credit for the illustrations and Intensive Spacing Guide are given to Diane Relf, Extension horticulturist (retired), and Alan McDaniel, associate professor, Department of Horticulture, Virginia Tech, Publication Number 426-335, 2006.

The next Sage and Snow Garden Club meeting will be July 21, 5:30 pm, in the Cooperative Extension Service Office at 621 South Pine, Pinedale. Come at 5 pm for social time. Contact us at Box 2280, Pinedale, WY, 82941, by email at sageandsnow@yahoo.com or call 307-859-8606.



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