When I was small at my grandparents farm in Lone Hickory, North Carolina - a no light town.
There was plenty of space out there...
but I was small.
The amount of space I used for pole beans and such amounted to a couple of rows out in the kitchen garden.
I don't remember exactly, but I don't recall using pesticides and fertilizer.
I think we may have been organic back then in the early seventies.
Go figure! Now that I have owned a couple of homes and grown into a fresh vegetable lover and semi tree hugger, I have had to figure out the best way to grow the most organic vegetables in a limited amount of space.
I guess I got lucky because I was always drawn to raised beds.
It just seemed to me that if the soil I had was questionable, the best way to grow good food fast was with high quality soil in a raised bed.
Little did I know that raised beds and wide rows have been shown to allow closer crop planting and vastly increased output of vegetables grown in this manner.
The reason is all in the roots.
How far do you think that a carrot root will extend from the carrot? Up to three feet down and one and a half feet sideways!!! You have to give 'em room to grow!! Plants are much happier growing in loose deep soil.
[you also get fewer weeds and pests when your plants are happy making organic vegetable growing even easier].
The plants have room to stretch out.
Aren't you happier when you have room to stretch? Who likes being crammed into a plane with no room? Your garden feels the same way.
So, exactly how do you make your plants happy and give them room to grow? First, pick a good spot to grow your organic vegetables.
Full sun and good drainage are important.
Remember, don't tie yourself to squares and rectangles, your bed can be any shape - try a circle, a parallel-o-gram, or a star.
You can even plant your vegetables intermixed with some flowering annuals cottage garden style.
After you pick your location and shape, you need to make friends with double digging.
Lay out your bed with twine, lime, baking soda, or stakes.
Then across one end of your bed (the shorter way), dig a trench the width of your shovel and about a foot deep.
Put that dirt in a wheel barrow - you'll fill in the last row with that dirt.
After you have removed the soil, take a garden fork and loosen the soil in the bottom of the hole by working it with the fork.
Move to the area directly adjacent to your dug out trench and dig another trench across your bed.
The trench is again the width of your shovel and about a foot deep.
Put the soil from this trench back into the first trench that you dug.
Loosen the soil in the bottom of the second trench with the garden fork.
Rinse and repeat until you get to the end of your bed.
Fill in the last trench with the soil from you wheelbarrow.
Hooray! You have a deep bed.
[Note bene: you probably want to work some compost into the soil as you refill your trenches.
This will increase your soil quality and, conveniently, your vegetable output.
] How big should you make your rows in your organic vegetable garden? I make mine four feet wide.
Yours should be as wide as you can make them and still comfortably be able to work in the middle of the beds/rows.
The walkways are narrow.
Thus maximizing your growing areas and minimizing your wasted space.
So, get out there and garden! Grow your own organic vegetables.
Feed your family good food and, most importantly, have fun!