Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Get More From Your Garden

 Here are some ideas to get more from your garden, whether your home garden is large or small.  Some of these ideas work even in a balcony garden full of potted plants!  I used this outline to lead a round-table discussion with other gardeners.  I asked them to feel free to blurt out or jump in with questions or comments.  I ask you to do the same, although in this internet format, we will have to make-do with Blogger's comment feature.  I would love to hear what YOU are doing to get more from your garden and to make the most of your harvest. 

Get more from your garden through soil amendments, such as 

 ·    Manure
¨          Side dressing during growing season
¨          Top dressing before cultivation
·    Potash
·    Compost
·    Aeration through shallow cultivation


Get more from your garden through crop rotation - Even for small gardens

§ Here’s one way to approach it:
·    The harvesttotable.com plan is a good one for a small garden
¨          TOMATO FAMILY
¨          BEAN FAMILY
¨          ONION FAMILY
·    But does not include cover crops so, one more row or section allows that healthy addition to soil…
¨          Grasses or fallow row


Get more from your garden through soil-friendly pest reduction

§ Another benefit to crop rotation: soil borne pests or disease will not have easy access to the same crops as in previous season
§ Row covers or other insect barrier methods
§ Organic spray or deterrent
·    Garlic onion cayenne spray
·    Close inspection that emerges from that spraying process


Get more from your garden through practical planting methods

§ Square rows for predictable cultivation
§ Balance close spacing, intended to increase maximize yield,
with sufficient room and to cultivate
§ Templates to reuse from year to year with optimal spacing
§ Space Saving Structures, such as trellises, to maximize harvest in
Minimal space


Get more from your garden through perennial crops that extend the season
§ Asparagus
§ Egyptian (or Walking) Onions *
§ Good King Henry (similar to spinach) *
§ Ground Nuts (Vine plant) *
§ Horse Radish
§ Ostrich Fern *
§ Ramps/Wild Leeks (Naturalize) *
§ Rhubarb
§ Scarlet Runner Beans (20 years!) *
§ Sea Kale (Ornamental & Edible) *
§ Sorrel
§ Sunchokes


(* These are perennial vegetables that I am just learning about, and have not yet tried. )


Get more from your garden through using all edible parts of the plant

§ Nasturtiums
·    Leaves, flowers, seeds
§ Radish green soup/using the greens
§ Celery
·    Leaves
·    Stalks
§ Many root crops have edible greens:
·    Beets
·    Carrots
·    Turnips


Get more from your garden through using old favorites in new ways

§ Pansies or either edible flowers as a garnish
       or salad ingredient
¨Pea blossoms
§ Radish green soup/roasting the radish
§ Rhubarb as a savory
§ Squash blossoms
·    In a frittata
·    Sauted
·    Stuffed
·    Tempura/deep fried


Get more from your garden through  more ways of preservation

§ Drying
§ Freezing
§ Canning
§ Fermenting
§ Root cellaring

·    Then preparing or freezing in batches before quality deteriorates

“No two gardens are the same.
No two days are the same in one garden.”

~Hugh Johnson


Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you joy in the garden.


aspiritofsimplicity said...

I am gardening with potted geraniums on the porch these days but will take these hints into consideration. Thanks for the tips.

Marcie said...

I think my tips are more relevant to edibles. I should maybe qualify my statement, but new dirt in the pot each year and/or added organic materials is the potted container version of rotating crops, I guess. :) My daughter is "containering" herbs at her apt this year. I have a few geraniums in an upstairs bedroom that already bloomed last month, but it is till too cold to set them outside for this year! Enjoy your porch gardening! Thanks for coming by.

magnoliasntea said...

Love the pictures and gardening advise. And I absolutely love my perennials as they produce every year with minimal care. Our soil is the clay type so I have to constantly amend it with whatever I have on hand to break it up and hopefully keep it that way for a year or two so it's a bit of a challenge. We've used sand and rotted leaves from our maples for years, but the one thing I've done for our asparagus that has made the difference between spindly shoots and nice fat ones is a half-inch layer of coffee grounds in a circle around the plants. The grounds make a great mulch and feed the plants several necessary nutrients - potassium, phosphorus, copper and magnesium. The only drawback I've found in using coffee grounds is the plants will usually not bloom so I don't use them on any plants that must flower to produce for the table.
Thank you so much for sharing your gardening wisdom through your book. It's a gardener's treasure.

Out on the prairie said...

Just getting into the garden has been hard, lots of rain here

elaine said...

Lots of useful information here - thanks Marcie. My veg garden is already underway - tomato plants growing strong, cucumbers, lettuce, strawberries and purple sprouting broccoli. Beans waiting in the greenhouse to be planted later plus courgette plants - so it is all systems go. I love this time of when there is the hope that the growing season will go well - only time will tell. Oh I forgot the container potatoes which have about a foot of foliage now - can't wait for the first harvests.

Marcie said...

Toni, Thank you for that tip about coffee grounds. I have used them around blueberry plants to acidify the soil, and perhaps I am impeding flower and berry growth! I will have to try around my asparagus and give the berries a break! :)

Steve, We got a sprinkle yesterday but really need more water. We are scrambling to get our irrigation all set up for the year.

Elaine, I would love to grow purple broccoli. How pretty! It sounds like you are well on your way. We are proceeding slowly here. It is supposed to SNOW on Saturday. Ugh! lol.
I have potatoes in a long row, but would like to try them in a container just for fun. I have never done it that way.

Thank you all for reading and commenting! :)