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Use Intensive Methods to
Grow More Vegetables
On this page you’ll find information about how to garden intensively—growing more vegetables in a given amount of space—through various culture and gardening practices, including:
- How to enrich garden soils so the grow strong, healthy plants and produce more vegetables.
- Methods used to overcome a site with poor quality soils to grow more vegetables.
- Understanding raised beds, on-ground beds, and planter boxes.
- Plant crowding and spacing: Two factors managed by intensive gardening methods.
- Sequential plantings and multiple plantings of vegetables through the garden season.
Beds, Soils, and Culture Methods
Growing vegetables using intensive methods overcomes site, soil, and space problems that face many gardeners.
Installing raised garden beds overcomes tough site conditions such as rocky, clay-filled, or boggy soils, allowing you to easily grow vegetables. Such beds raise the soil’s surface, eliminating much of the bending and stooping required during care. They also add visual interest to the landscape.
Building planter boxes may seem like extra effort when your soil is right at hand, but a quick glance at the photograph below will reveal the special appeal such gardens hold, both functionally and aesthetically.
In Europe, such gardens were first developed in those countries where the space for cultivation always has been at a premium. Continental gardeners soon found that planting in such beds reduced the amount of labor required to sustain their gardens and increased the yield from their plots.
Similar approaches to gardening also emerged in Asia, where Chinese and Japanese gardeners used intensive methods to produce bountiful harvests despite the limits of space and soil. Their familiar rice paddies are really seasonally submerged intensive plots.
From both regions, raised-bed cultivation spread throughout the world, and today, this gardening technique is positively regarded for its neat and orderly appearance as well as for the outstanding results it provides.
Planting in raised beds dramatically increases the yield of the garden because soil conditions within them can be made ideal for rearing plants and the beds tend to warm up earlier in the spring, extending the growing season.
If you presently rear vegetables in containers, you may wish to try microgardening, a more intensive gardening technique that calls for sowing individual plants in areas as small as 1 sq. ft. (836 cm2).
You can use micro gardening techniques to grow exotic vegetables or special varietals. When only a small space is used, bell jars, cold frames, and applying specialty fertilizers become practical.
We’ll show you how to build raised beds step-by-step in your own garden [see Building a Raised Bed]. They’ll make your landscape more attractive even as they increase its yield of vegetables.
Beautiful Intensive Vegetable Gardens
French intensive growing methods balance plant’s needs for proper spacing, nutrition, light, and airflow between plants.
Because more plants occupy the same space, gardeners quickly must note any weak or sickly plants, remove them or manage their growth to avoid crowding, and harvest more frequently than for typical row gardens.
These practices allow multiple plantings and replanting of the same or different vegetables in beds to take advantage of space opened by harvesting mature crops that have finished for the season [See: Growing More Vegetables].