Mini Garden for Maximum Yield

Picture this: a large back yard with plenty of space for a garden.

Then factor in this: mature trees all over the place, leaving little space for full-sun exposure. Not to mention roots–lots of tree roots, a network of thatchy root-hairs making it impossible to cultivate a vegetable patch. That’s what we were dealing with in this Valley Village garden. The solution: a mini raised bed garden for maximum yield.

A citrus tree and grape vine form the boundaries of the garden space. Roots from nearby trees make digging difficult.

A citrus tree and grape vine form the boundaries of the garden space. Roots from nearby trees make digging difficult.

The client had tried growing vegetables in this space before, but it was nearly impossible to dig without hitting the intricate root system just below the surface. We carefully excavated dead and smaller roots before building raised beds.

Protection from roots – in order to prevent roots from taking over the new raised beds, we added a layer of hardware cloth lined with weed fabric to the bottom of each bed. The weed fabric allows water to drain, but prevents roots from coming up into the bed. The hardware cloth forms a strong physical barrier to keep roots from pushing the weed fabric up.

Rental irrigation – because the client is renting the home, she didn’t want to invest in a sophisticated underground irrigation system. Instead, we outfitted her with a battery operated timer connected directly to a hose spigot. Drip tubing extends to the raised beds to water efficiently, and it can be moved around as seasonal crops change. (For high pressure systems, we discovered that a pressure reducer was needed as well to keep the tubes from blowing apart).

The finished product - 2 raised beds with biointensively planted crops

The finished product – 2 raised beds with biointensively planted crops

In this mini garden of only 24 square feet (each bed has 12 sq. ft. of growing space), we planted:

1 zucchini
1 yellow crookneck
3 cucumbers
3 pole beans
12 heads of lettuce
2 sweet peppers
1 basil
2 eggplants
3 tomatoes
and some arugula

We also conditioned two patches of land in a different area of the garden with tall mounds of soil for growing watermelon and pumpkins.

But what are those colorful things in the beds?

The client picked up a few adorable chickens made from recycled plastic bags while on a recent trip abroad. She and her daughter were so excited to station them in the garden, to keep watch over the veggies.

Colorful chickens bring whimsy to the garden

Colorful chickens bring whimsy to the garden

 

Chicken sentinel stands watch

Chicken sentinel stands watch

Plastic chickens are water resistant too!

Plastic chickens are water resistant too!

We surrounded the garden with chip bark to keep weeds at bay and to mulch around the citrus tree. All in all, the client ended up with a clean, efficient garden that she and her daughter can enjoy without the hassle of pesky roots.

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2 Responses to Mini Garden for Maximum Yield

  1. Ramona Newton says:

    Thank you for posting this. An exciting project!

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