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Kitchen Gardening in Raised Beds
Skippy's Vegetable Garden
Just to inspire you in your garden planning, here are some wonderful beds in a small city garden that will produce enough vegetables for 2-3 families or a small restaurant! (photos courtesy of Skippy's Vegetable Garden)
The beds are built so that they can be accessed from all sides and should never need to be walked on. Filled with lovely soil that has been amended with good compost, they will be added to every season to keep fertility high as well as adding lime to correct pH. The brick pavers are attractive but not necessary, anything that will keep weeds from growing will work well such as wood chips, gravel or even grass cut short. Fencing is a luxury in the garden as it can be used for supporting tall plants and to keep unwelcome critters and rabbits out, not to mention deer!
Supports for Tomatoes, Pole Beans and Other Tall Plants
Supports for Tomatoes, Pole Beans and other tall plants should be sturdy but also easily moved to another bed for rotating crops to other locations. Plants may seem crowded but the "French Intensive" method of gardening is a good way to get a large harvest from a small space. The compost and fertile soil allow plants to grow in tight quarters as long as they don't shade each other too much. As the garden grows fuller, the ground is almost completely covered which shades the soil and keeps it cool in hot summer weather, holding in moisture and keeping roots cool.
How to Arrange Your Vegetables
Herbs, Flowers, Vegetables and even trees and bulbs can be arranged in a garden of raised beds and kept as permanent plantings. Asparagus would fill one of these beds and will last for up to 20 years. Rosemary, Thyme and Sage can be grown in permanent beds just remember that they will grow up to 5' across and should be trimmed frequently to keep their shape. Mixing annual herbs and vegetables such as Basil with Tomatoes or Dill with Beans can even improve the flavor of both!
The Key To Success is Lots of Sunshine and Good Fertile Soil
Whether you plant in raised beds, long garden rows or even containers, the key to success is lots of sunshine and good fertile soil. Healthy plants are naturally disease and pest resistant and our mission as gardeners is to always provide the perfect condition for each plant. Watering should be kept to a minimum to make sure that air pockets in the soil can be maintained which are just as important to plant's roots as water. Regular harvesting and weeding are also important to prevent decaying fruit and weeds from attracting pests and disease.
Good luck with your gardens this year!