How to grow 6000 pounds of veggies per year in your own back yard
The following article is an original from Jay North, author of
Getting Started in Organic Gardening for Fun and Profit. The book is
available at www.OneGlobePress.com.
A portion of the proceeds are donated to Oprah’s Angel Network at www.Oprah.com. Please visit One Globe Press today
and download your PDF copy.
How to grow 6000 pounds of veggies per year in your own back yard
By Jay North from GoingOrganic.com
Organic gardening popularity in America is at an all-time high,
and well it should be, considering the high cost of fresh produce at the
But wait, Eat Organic, it’s the best bet for you and your family
and oh-so-fresh, right from your own back yard. Best of all it will cut
your grocery bill in half. While most want to be green thumbs, what
many may not know is they can grow over 6000 lbs. of fresh veggies
right in their own backyard, and tomatoes have never tasted so good.
While there are hundreds of gardening methods, the very best for small back yard gardens is the stack method, utilizing air space and raised multi-level beds. Equipment and supply cost can be kept to a minimum by using recycled materials often found at your local landfill; ask the operators if you can sift through to find what you need. To start your search, look for recycled lumber to build beds, wire, rope and soft mesh materials for baskets.
Start with a plan and plan according to what you like to eat. Design a lay out that calls for utilizing air space to the max. Use fruit trees for shade for plants that require shade on hot months (i.e.; Chervil, Basil and soft lettuces), use the fence line to tie up beans, berries, traveling squash and grape vines. Find simple building plans or a friendly carpenter to help design stacked raise beds. Fill them with soil and organic compost, and build them to the highest level that is comfortable for you to reach. Use air space to tie up your cantaloupes and cucumbers.
Close planting is required to use the most root space without
crowding the plants. Never mind the package that reads plant four
inches apart, plant two inches apart. Plant carrots so you can pull an
entire bunch for dinner, plant lettuce like grass and cut just the tops
when ready for dinner. Train your tomatoes to climb the wall or fence,
same for the cucs and melons. Support the fruit of melon plants with
soft mesh baskets.
Two popular close planting methods
First the deep bed method—which is to say high wall, victory garden
style or raised beds, which essentially mean all the same thing. Deep
loose soil, wide enough bed to be worked from both sides of the bed and
the bed is never walked on; this assists with air accessibility for
the roots and ease of mineral assimilation. A typical high wall bed
could be 10 feet long, four feet wide and two feet high, supported with
wood, rock or brick. Filled with high quality topsoil, mulch and some
organic fertilizers. Stop, wait, don’t plant the whole bed in one day —
no, stagger your plantings by two weeks between each seeding. Why?
Because you want to harvest and eat the veggies all season long, if you
plant to much to quick, it will all mature at one time and be ready
for consumption at the same time.
Now, combine your plantings: Example 1
Plant a short row of sweet corn. Plant seeds 1.5" deep but close
together, the plant uses the nutrients best that way and corn can
support one another in the wind. Okay, corn is seeded, now what? Seed
your onions, garlic and short edible flowers just a few inches from the
corn seed path. They do not utilize the same nutrients and the onions
and garlic make great pest control for the corn. Got it? Now you’re
Example 2: Ready to plant some lettuce?
Wait — first run a wide gauge wire fence right down the center of
your bed. Plant the seeds of pole beans and “cucs”(1) on both sides of
the wire mesh fence, and then seed your lettuces. Why? Shade! Lettuce
love shade especially on hot summer days — sooner here than you expect
it to be. Then around the whole planting, seed your carrots, radishes
Important note: notice the combinations?
Some vegetable plants require more water than others, so always hand
water-never use overhead sprinklers and never over-water. Water only
when soil is dry and plants needs additional water.
Popular planting method two:
Plant the Hopi method and save the world, and water too.
The Hopi Indians are the oldest agriculturist group in America; they believe planting a seed and speaking kind loving words to it will save the world from destruction. While this may be true or false, their planting methods speak loudly about what a genius way to plant and harvest edible crops and it’s all done in circles.
Start by digging round holes in the ground about one foot deep. Lay
soil to the side for refilling the hole. Add compost if you choose; many
Hopi might disagree with the necessity for added materials other than a
single whole fresh fish — dead of course - at the bottom of the hole.
Don’t gut or clean out the fish, otherwise you are robbing your plants
of all the fertilizer they will need for the growing cycle. Cover the
hole with the soil removed - but do not pack it in. Seed the entire
hole in a circular form. Use corn, squash, melons, onion, garlic and
anything else you enjoy eating. Sow seeds deep in the loose soil, water
and allow spouting. As plants grow tall and strong use little a less
water with each watering — better to allow the root to go in search of
water, thereby building the strength of the plant to add strength to
your body. Aho Ho (3), and it is done, plant many seeds to the hole
and plant close!
Lastly, don’t plant just strawberries.
Plant Blackberries, Raspberries, Blueberries and Strawberries all at
the same time and in the same area.
Start with a well composted soil Ph 7 0r 8 (2). Dig deep beds down, not up, dig deep, and add compost and mulch. Plant Blackberries where they can travel freely, plant Raspberries so that can grow straight up and out, plant Blueberries close and strawberries even closer. Plant varieties for spring, summer and fall producing, be sure to mark where they are and feast all year long.
Smart stacking and seeding will easily supply a whole family with
6000 pounds of fresh produce — even year—round - in mild climates. To
extend your growing season use plastic tents early in the spring and
late in the fall to protect against frost damage.
Water saving tip
Dig a very large hole in your backyard or side hill; place a 2500
gallon plastic container in hole, add small water pump and collect water
runoff during the rainy season — watch your water bill be cut by 25%.
Jay North, Organic gardener, author and social activist is an internationally recognized expert in organic gardening and farming. Author of Getting Started in Organic Gardening for Fun and Profit. His books can be found at his website www.GoingOrganic.com and www.OneGlobePress.com to download immediately in PDF EBooks.
1 cucs, slang for cucumbers
2 Ph degree of acidity Vs Alkalinity Ph 7 is neutral and best for most edible crops
3 Aho Ho, native acknowledgement and blessings