• Matgardener95

Where to Begin When Starting Your Garden? - Choosing The Garden Type

In last week's blog, we discussed the characteristics we need to consider when planning a garden. We have mentioned what to look over when choosing our vegetables and the garden size we want. Now, this week we will continue to discuss planning our garden by discussing the types of gardens. We can grow our vegetables in more than one type of garden. I will discuss the specifics of each of them and mention the pros and cons.

Traditional Garden

There are several disadvantages to the traditional garden. To show you the drawbacks of a traditional garden I am going to tell you about my experience of my first year in our house. We were excited to make a garden. Although we had a good harvest, we had some problems with the garden. We noticed during heavy rain or melting snow, it runoff (the action of the water flowing without stopping, forming streams) through our garden to go to the left side. This happened because our land is in a slop and our garden is at the bottom of the hill. Although the vegetables, in general, were not affected, we could see that we were losing a lot of soil, which was going towards the south of our garden. We had to add the soil.

Another disadvantage of the traditional garden is that if you have soil that looks like clay (clay) or sand, it will be difficult to cultivate and work the land. In addition to losing some soil because of the water was creating erosion we had less water because the land is sloping. The soil in our garden was like clay. During a drought, the soil was quite dry quite quickly, although we watered every evening. Also in some spots, it is not really possible to grow many root vegetables.

Raised Bed Garden

There are several types of raised bed garden that you can do. Direct boxes on the ground or a box with 4 legs to raise them from the ground so that they do not touch the ground. My favorite raised bed garden is doing boxes directly on the soil. The standard measurement for these boxes would be a maximum width of 4 feet and a maximum length of 8 feet. If you make a box wider than 4 feet it will be difficult to weed or harvest your plant in the middle of the box. Also, if you make a box longer than 8 feet in length, you will tend to walk over your box instead of around it. You increase your chances to fall on your plants.

The advantage of raised gardens is that you can control many factors, that in a traditional garden you cannot. You can control the soil pH and the type of soil you want. Tomatoes and potatoes can tolerate slightly more acidic soil than normal and likes well-drained soil that contains a lot of organic matter. Knowing what certain vegetables prefer, you can plant the same characteristic plants together in a box and modify the soil accordingly. You can take another raised box and decide to prepare the soil with a less acidic pH and more moisture which, is better for the leek, spinach, and asparagus. In the Gardening Guides section of my website, you will find a table with the pH tolerance per vegetable. Often in a raised garden instead of turning the earth (which destroys the structure and quality of the soil) we add compost and soil on top of the garden. The soil does not get compacted since we are not walking on it and adding compost gives the right nutrients and keeps the soil fairly loose. Another advantage of a raised garden is that you can more easily plant the vegetables intensively without putting alleys between your rows. The aisles are between the boxes. In addition, installations like the trellis are easier in raised gardens because you can attach them with screws to the boxes. The downside is that the soil can dry out faster than in a traditional garden. Also, there are fewer living organisms, or there may be as many, but it will take longer before it settles in your box because they have to go to the top layer of the soil, and the box is higher. Also, a raised garden bed can be more expensive if you make it with expensive wood. The only way it doesn't cost you too much is if you make it from a free reused pallet as I did, as shown in the photos below.

Finally, there is a lot of time and maintenance to be spent on raised bed that does not include time spent growing the vegetables or preparing the soil. The wood will not last for ever, at a given moment, it will have to be replaced. You may also need to repair one side every few years. Plus, just building them can take you several hours and several weekends. I made 15 garden raised beds and in total it took me about 2 months to build them all. I spent all weekend building them. It is best to remove the grass where you want to install the boxes. Obviously, you can't use a rotary tiller in those boxes, so you have to turn the soil by hand if you want to.

Garden In Pot (Container Gardening)

The third type of garden that I talk to you about is a garden where you grow vegetables in a pot. This type of garden is used often, to grow vegetables when there is little space. Often, we find this type of garden when we live in an apartment with no yard. Sometimes people who want some fresh vegetables, but don't want to work the yard for a garden used pot to grow vegetables. The advantage of this type of garden is that if you have a small space and want to have some fresh vegetables, container gardening is almost your only option. A container garden allows you to start the season early by sowing indoors. However, it should be transplanted into a larger pot depending on the vegetable you are growing. Also, at the start of the season, if one day the temperature is approaching frost, you can put the pot in the house and save the vegetable from freezing. The downside is that you can't plant all the vegetables you want. Depending on the size of the container some vegetables are impossible. Carrots require deeper pots for a good harvest of good long carrots. Compared to the traditional garden, a container garden, in general, does not allow the growth of vegetables in depth, except if you are growing vegetables in a very deep container. In general, when making a container garden, the size of the pot is only about a few inches like 5 inches. Finally, another disadvantage is that there are few living organisms in the pots. The soil is less rich in organic matter. There is no material to decompose. In general, new soil is put in each season and the old soil is tossed away. While in a traditional garden or raised garden the soil is staying and we just added more soil or manure to increase its richness in nutrients In both gardens, we can leave, for example, the vines of the beans or the weights when we have all harvested the vegetables. These vegetable scraps will slowly decompose in the soil and provide good organic matter for the soil. So you can see that container gardening you are missing the essential process to have a good soil quality to grow vegetables. Often vegetables used in Container gardening are vegetables that are growing less in the ground, but more out of the ground. Exception for radish which can easily grow in a pot. Otherwise, lettuce, spinach, Pak Choï, arugula are easy to grow in pots. This year was my first year growing Pak Choï. It was a hit in the pot see photo below.

Final Note

As you can see, when planning a garden, choosing the type of garden in which you want to grow your vegetables depends on several factors. There are pros and cons for each of these gardens. Next week we will discuss how to sow your vegetables, the spaces between each vegetable as well as the planting techniques. Let me know what you think about this blog, what subject you would like to read.

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