The time came today for us to bid adieu to our winter crops and make way for some late summer veggies. While it was difficult to yank the plants we'd sowed from seed many months ago, we knew it was for the best; efficiency became the name of the game, especially when gardening in a small space. Here are three tips we've used to make our garden space more efficient.
No matter what size garden you're working in, it helps to establish a knowledge base for gardening. If it helps, think of yourself as a farmer (we do!) and make your goal a lofty one: self-sustainability (ok, if you have a big enough garden maybe). Then do your homework. Some gardening is luck, some is trial-and-error; but here are three tips that will surely make your space more efficient and productive.
1. Learn to maximize yield in a small space: We've used some Square Foot Gardening principles in our raised beds, and are able to squeeze more plants into our limited space. We've also utilized vertical growing in a few places, trellising plants that might otherwise crawl over the ground and take up more space than we're willing to give them.
2. Listen to your garden when it's time to pull the plug. It was hard to say goodbye to the winter crops, but in the south we're already seeing temperatures well about 90 degrees and the lettuce and spinach just weren't gonna take it. They had already bolted (shot up blooms to set out seed) and that means the leaves aren't too tasty anymore. So we pulled them, tossed them in the compost, and refreshed the bed. Now it's ready to be planted with our summer crop of swiss chard, so we'll be happy again in a couple of months.
3. Learn the basics about succession planting and crop rotation in your area. With a plan afoot, it's easy to make a garden more efficient. After learning what vegetables are best for your area, develop a schedule for your garden so that you'll always have something growing. Space, water, and sunlight are precious resources, so by devising a planting schedule you can make sure you're using each of your resources wisely.
Have any other efficient gardening tips to share?