Our spring crop

Blair here…

Like I said several weeks ago, we’re attempting to grow biointensively this year using How to Grow Vegetables as our guide. The book covers all kind of topics, from the best ways to compost to companion planting. But one of the coolest things in my opinion is the in-depth “mini-garden” plans that provide blueprints for what to plant, how to plant it, and when to plant it. There are several plans, but we chose the one-person, six-month, 100 sq. ft. plan. You can actually check out the list of plants and when to plant them here, thanks to Google Books. The suggested layout is on the following page (p. 128), which isn’t available on Google Books’ preview.

We actually ended up modfying the plan a little — from 100 sq. ft. to 64 sq. ft. (two 8 x 4 beds) — and we chose a few different veggies. We decided that 100 sq. ft. was a little too much for our first try with this; we didn’t want to get discouraged and give up on it. Plus, we’re still planning to plant a few other random things in other parts of the yard, so we’ll have plenty to keep us busy. Check out our fancy layouts below. Not quite the work of an architect, but close. (You can click on the pictures to enlarge.)

West garden bed East garden bed
Bed No. 1 (west bed) Bed No. 2 (east bed)

 

We got the west bed prepped and mostly planted a few weeks ago. We still need to get in the broccoli and cabbage, which are still growing in their second seed flat.

Seed flats

Seed flats staying warm in the mini greenhouse

Double-digging in our crappy soil is tough! In fact, I’m planning to devote a whole post to my experience with double-digging in the rocky Edwards Plateau soil. We’re hoping to get the east bed prepped soon so we can stay on schedule with the rest of the plants. Unfortunately, the first day of spring isn’t bringing us much nice weather to work with today. Maybe tomorrow…

Biointensive gardening

Mixing in more compost after double-digging first plot

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Chris on March 20, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    I’m so impressed by your plans! However, I can’t help but ask—what is double digging? And why would you do it?

    Reply

    • Posted by blandria on March 21, 2010 at 10:13 pm

      Hi Chris. Thanks for reading! The purpose of double-digging is to improve the soil’s structure by loosening it and allowing more air to get in. The technique involves digging a one foot deep trench along the width of the bed, then loosening (but not removing) the soil an additional foot below, hence the “double” dig. After you’ve removed the soil from the first trench, you repeat the process on the row, except this time the top foot of soil gets moved into the hole created in the previous row. You keep shifting and digging until you reach the end of the bed, at which point you’ll end up with a bed that has raised at least a few inches from its original level. It’s pretty hard work, and in our rocky/clayey soil I didn’t come close to getting down 2 feet, but I did what I could without breaking my back 🙂 Hope it was all worth it!

      Reply

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