Would you like to harvest hundreds of pounds of beautiful and tasty organically grown vegetables from your garden this season? It’s not only a dream – it can be your reality if you play your cards right and follow a few tips to maximize your harvests.
Large, bountiful harvests are more common than you think. The secret behind them is learning to maximize your growing space more effectively.
Tip #1: It’s All In The Soil
Nearly every gardening expert will agree that soil is the #1 most important factor in growing healthy plants and enjoying increased yields. Organically rich soil will encourage your plant to do the very best it can do to produce for you. Good soil means healthy root systems, strong and beautiful plants, and yes … more vegetables!
So, take the time to invest in your soil. Build raised beds. Bring in organic matter. Make your own compost at home. Pamper your soil and it will reward you richly! In other words, do whatever it takes to have healthy soil to grow in.
It really will make all the difference. Don’t believe me? Try planting one tomato plant in average (backyard) soil in a pot. Then, plant another one of the same variety in rich, organic soil. Give the two equal amounts of water, sunlight, and care. Watch the two grow and compare the number of fruits you get from each plant. You’ll see how critical good soil is to better harvests.
Tip #2: Space Is Important
To get the most out of your raised beds and garden areas, you should pay close attention to how you arrange your plants. Don’t just stick them in the ground without a plan. For instance, you can get more plants in a single space by staggering the plants up and down, in a triangle shape than you can planting in traditional rows or squares. This one tip actually allows you to plant over 10% more alone!
We’re not suggesting you space your plants too tightly. Some plants simply will not do well if too crowded together. However, you can usually get away with putting most plants a little closer together than the seed package recommends. Give it a try, see what works for you, and adjust accordingly next year.
You can also maximize your harvests by growing up! Vertical gardening is very popular right now. By extending your garden up and not out, you can grow all sorts of veggies together in less space. Tomatoes, beans, peas, squash, cucumbers, melons and more do well in a upwards pattern. Just give them plenty of strong support to climb on, and they’ll love it! Try growing a vining crop, such as beans or peas, on a trellis along one side of your raised bed.
To maximize space, you may want to try the classic Native American technique of “three sisters” companion planting. Corn, beans, and squash can be grown all in the same area with maximum output (as well as crop protection) for all three crops. Simply plant a row of corn, and use the cornstalks to support your pole beans. Then grow your squash on the ground alongside the two, and allow it to spread out below. The squash will crowd out the weeds, which is a really nice perk! All three crops are extremely compatible and grow well together. It’s a popular gardening technique handed down from the Native Americans gardeners still enjoy today.
Other Popular Companion Planting Ideas:
Tomato, basil, and onion
Leaf lettuce and peas
Leaf lettuce and brassicas
Carrots, onions, and radishes
Beets and celery