There are many different ways to design a vegetable garden. The layout for your garden all depends on materials on hand, garden space availability and threshold for "adventure."
Many home gardeners stick with the traditional farm-style rows that consist of long, single rows of vegetables spaced widely apart. Much of the garden area is taken by the space between the rows.
Others modify this a bit by blocking off a square of space for crops rather than planting them in rows. This is better known as square foot gardening.
PHOTO COURTESY OF TOM BUTZLER
A former trampoline bed now is marked with chalk and has circles cut out of it in preparation of being used as a garden bed liner.
PHOTO COURTESY OF TOM BUTZLER
The “trampoline garden” in mid-June sports cabbage (upper), peppers and basil (middle) and tomatoes (lower). Weeds are pretty much controlled except for a few coming up through the empty holes.
Another option is straw bale gardening, where vegetables are grown in bales of straw. Some of the advantages of this include portability and ease of accessibility (raised off the ground), and it can be planted where in locations with poor garden soil.
I am going to start a new type of gardening, geared to help me control weeds. While weeding can be fun in the early part of the season, it starts to wear on one as the unwanted green pests come up through the soil in one unrelenting wave after another.
Herbicides can be used to control many weeds, but I prefer to eliminate their most basic need for their growth - light.
The easiest way to do this is apply a layer of mulch around the vegetable plants. Not only does this mulch eliminate light needed for weed seed germination, it also conserves soil moisture around the vegetable's roots. Mulch material can be whatever is on hand and readily available - grass clippings, chipped-up leaves or newspapers.
The new gardening trend I'm promoting is "trampoline gardening." I had in my possession several trampoline beds (the part that you jump on) and was wondering what I could do with them. Before throwing them out, I decided to try and use one as a mulch cover.
The first step was to lay out the cover on the ground and create a grid pattern across it, both horizontally and vertically. Using chalk, I drew straight lines one foot apart, both up and down on the trampoline bed. Where these lines crossed is where a hole would be created to plant vegetables.
To create a perfect round hole, a used soup can was placed in a bed of coals - do not attempt this during the fire season - until the metal was very hot.
Using thick leather gloves, the can was picked up and the round open end was placed onto the intersecting lines on the trampoline bed. The hot metal burned a nice perfect circle into the trampoline bed. Several holes can be made before the metal cools and has to be returned to the hot coals.
Once all the holes have been created on the mulch cover, place it over the garden soil and start planting.
You may have to put some weight on the edges, such as bricks or logs, so the wind doesn't lift the trampoline bed.
Every hole created doesn't have to be used as some vegetables need more space than others.
The mulch cover is guaranteed to last for many, many years.