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Friday, January 19, 2007

The Compacting Garden Part II

Container gardens are a good way to compact a garden. A book called Square Foot Gardening was brought to my attention yesterday. I have not read the book, but other's swear by it. If you are determined to container garden, it won't hurt to take a look at the book/website.

I normally do not container garden. I prefer working the ground. It's something I have done for years, since a suburban child. I love the idea of improving the soil while gardening. I do not harm it with pesticide and herbicides, but enrich it with manures and coverings.

By no means am I saying there is anything wrong with container gardening. This is purely a personal preference. I do use a container for my herbal tea garden. It's a large wooden crate right outside my back door. In the beginning I had problems with cats using it for a litter box, but a screen placed securely on top, stopped that. Plus I planted some catnip in the main garden.

Weeds were still a problem with my container garden, due to the fact that I live on a open prairie and the wind likes to settle airborne weed-seeds into my container. But once the herbs have grown, they will smother out most of the weeds attempting to settle in there.

If container gardening is something that you are interested in, check with your local extension office with questions, they are here to help. You can read more here at my local extension offices website or if you live in the city and interested in creating a community container garden, check out the Guide to Fresh and Healthy homegrown foods.

Wooden crate I use for container gardening on top of my cellar. Wood will rot, and it can not be treated with chemicals. But with wood you can create the size you need.

The Compacting Garden Part I

oh and this is my 300th post!


Caroline said...

Wood also allows for moisture evaporation (many plants don't like "wet feet") and some air exchange. I'd like to know, though, what you grow in your kitchen herb garden. I am just now, in my mid-40s, really just learning how to cook. Haven't ventured into any fresh herbs yet except garlic.

Phelan said...

I grow lots of different herbs. Look at the ingredients in your favorite foods, what types of herbs are used in them? that would be your starting point. There are many herbs that people don't like, cilantro comes to mind, but I love it. If you like sausage, summer savory is a good one. If you would like, email me with a list of foods you like, and we can go through them.

Adam said...

I hadn't thought of it as container gardening, but I suppose that one of the methods the book puts forth is container gardening. Square foot gardening, as I read it, is about fitting more plants into a smaller space using a good soil. Since the soil is good, one does not need to plant them in the ground so a container garden is possible. Hopefully you got more out of the book than a way to do container gardens.

The way we use it is simply setting boards around the areas we plan to plant in, digging them in about 1/2 into the ground, and then adding compost to the top half. Then we till it in and end up with a regular garden (it's in the ground that has been composted, no bottom) and we get the benefit of very regular and compact spacing, and our good compost doesn't end up as part of the aisle.

I suppose the difference then is only visual - we have borders around our garden, and the plants and soil are lifted up a few inches - you don't have borders. It's certainly cheaper that way.

Either way, I still don't like weeding... :-)


Phelan said...

I don't care to weed either.

As I said I haven't read the book, but I did read through the website. Everything I have found so far is about {or seems to be about} container gardening.

I do have borders for a few things, and raised beds for others.

Anonymous said...

Started using the 'square foot gardening' about 20 years ago. It consisted of raised beds marked off in 1 foot squares, we didn't even use wood borders, just mounded the soil- - simple. Just checked the website and it looks to me like another way for Mel to make money selling his patented growing boxes. Try reading the original book, not the new and improved one.

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