Small Space Gardens By Lin Frye, Director Arboretum and LSG Program Johnston Community College
Site Planning • Find niches • Locate house, lot, walk, fences in space • North • West (House) East • South • Locate existing trees, shrubs, fences and beds you wish to keep, trash cans, storage sheds, etc. • Mark sun and shadow pattern across space, prevailing winds • Consider family needs (i.e. play area for children), recreation, outdoor cooking, entertaining, meeting areas, privacy • Consider water source location, underground utility lines, septic tank and field • List your desires
What do you want to plant? • Consider unconventional areas, i.e. lawn edges, for the things you wish to grow – vegetables, herbs, flowers • Consider sunlight and shade and a water source • Consider spacing requirements for your plants • Soil test, ph • Fertilizing • Compost • Native soil and amendments
Small Scale Gardens • Raised beds • Benefits: drainage, warms faster, easier to work • Niches • Even the smallest of shaded places can be used
Vertical Gardens • You can grow all vine crops vertically • Need garden supports (trellis, tall cages) • Can be combined with niches, square foot gardening and some containers
Square Foot Gardening Based on the book by Mel Bartholomew “Square Foot Gardening” and French intensive gardening • Benefits: high yield, efficient, bountiful, minimal effort, small space • Intensive Gardening • Blocks of 4’ x 4’ raised beds separated by a narrow walking path • Good drainage
Square Foot Gardens Lin Frye’s Home Gardens • Soil test – vegetables need 6-7 ph • Intercropping – importance of spacing, fertilizer, companion plants
Soil Equal parts of coarse vermiculite, screened peat moss, coarse sand, decomposed leaf mold (or bagged compost), lime, fertilizer OR My formula for a 4’’ x 8’ x 1’ bed: 2 cu feet humus ½ to 1 pounds 10-10-10 slow release fertilizer ½ pound powdered dolomitic lime 8 cu feet peat moss 8 cu feet bagged compost (sterilized) 6 cu feet cow manure 6’ to 8’ soilless mix (Metro Mix 400)
(Each block is 12 inches x 12 inches) Each square is planted with a different crop in each square (careful with spacing and crowding) Example: Pepper plants – one plant per 1’ sub block i.e. If you wanted to plant an entire 4’ main block in Pepper plants, you’d plant a total of 16 plants. i.e. To plant spinach plants – 9 per 1 foot sub block for a total 4’ bed of 144 spinach plants. NEVER WALK ON THIS GROWING MEDIUM! KEEP ADDING COMPOST TO KEEP YOUR SOIL IN TOP CONDITION!
SQUASH STRAWBERRIES • COMPOST AND FERTILIZER • WATERING • INSECT MANAGEMENT
This system can be viewed at the Arboretum Kitchen Garden site. • Plant Spacings in a Square Foot Garden • A One-Person Garden
Container Gardening • Benefits: Can follow the sun or move to shade if needed • Can add instant color to any area • Can have easy access to herbs and vegetables
Container Gardening • Any container can be used • Clay, Plastic pot, Coffee Mug, Planter Box, • Soda containers or even old shoes • Make sure there are holes in the bottom of the container • Raise containers with holes off a solid surface to assist with drainage • If no holes – add ½” of small pebbles, gravel or broken crockery for drainage • Be sure to use a container large enough for the plant(s) you’ll be growing • Shallow-rooted crops (lettuce, peppers, radishes, herbs) – use containers at least 6” in diameter with an 8” soil depth • Bushel baskets, half barrels, wooden tubs are best for tomatoes, squash, pole beans, cucumbers.
Container Gardening • Different soil, water, fertilizer and cultural requirements than plants in the ground • Special container mixes – Jiffy Mix, Super Soil, Pro-Mix, etc. • Requires “soilless mix” – containing: • An organic part: peat moss, sawdust, wood shavings, hardwood • bark or pine bark • Mineral part: vermiculite, perlite, pumice, builder’s sand, • granite sand or a combination of these
SOILS • Special soils provide: • Fast drainage of water through the soil • Air in soil after drainage • A reservoir of water in the soil after drainage • Special soils do not usually contain fertilizer • Need to compensate for soil drying out faster in a container • Fertilizers leach with each watering • Must water and fertilize more frequently
FERTILIZER • Slow release fertilizers (MAKE SURE IT’S BALANCED) • (10/10/10 – nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) • Mix in with soil upon planting • Refertilize when plants flower • Refertilize if needed to help a second flowering • Or use a weak nutrient solution (i.e. Miracle Grow) – use only 1/5 the amount of fertilizer called for on the label for a monthly application
WATERING • Water thoroughly after adding plant to container • After settling, soil should be ½” to 1” below rim of container • Water when soil dries or plant wilts • Use your finger to determine dryness of soil NOT calendar • Clay pots require more frequent watering than plastic or glazed pots • You can put one small pot in a larger one and insulate with peat moss, perlite or gravel • Group small pots together to help with evaporation • Don’t over water!!
WATER (CONTINUED) • Wick Watering • Put one end of wick into pail of water and other in soil of the container (through the bottom hole of container). Use thick cotton string • Provides continuous supply of water and/or weak water/fertilizer solution • Can also invert a saucer, place over a water-filled container, and place pot on top of saucer • Can also use special wicking fabrics • Mist container plants with water to help provide the humidity
CONTAINER PLANT SPACING • Check seed package for spacing requirements • Plant more seeds than needed because not all seeds germinate • Thin after germination for proper spacing • Place container in proper light • Amount of light is determined by what you’ll be growing • Anything with a flower or fruit MUST have at least • 6-8 FULL HOURS OF SUNLIGHT PER DAY • CONTAINER PEST CONTROL • Inspect weekly for pests • Slugs • Snails • Earwigs • Spider mites • Whitefly • Aphids • Move infected plants away from the others and treat insects accordingly
Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew • http://www.squarefootgardening.com/ • Plants Available at the JCC Arboretum Plant Sale, Saturday, April 18, 9:00-2:00. Come early for best selection.
FOR MORE INFORMATION • Call Lin Frye (919) 209-2052 • Call Minda Daughtry (919) 209-2184