We've all heard of square foot gardening. I'm taking gardening to a new level (pun intended) well actually three levels.
My little farm is hardly mentionable as a farm because I only have 2.18 acres. Usually when someone thinks of a farm they're thinking a little more footage than 2 acres. So I've been a little restricted on what I could do with my little farm. I've also been poring over the books on small acreage farming, alternative farming, etc. This is the primary reason why alpacas work so well here, they require such a small amount of space. This also why I'm limiting the number of Garden Share customers to such a small number.
With a little intensive, succession and companion gardening I can squeeze about 40 customers out of one acre. That's not a bad number considering I'm just one person and do the majority of the work myself; an acre of garden will keep me pretty busy 9 months of the year.
Now to explain 3 layer gardening. Picture this: a 4x10 bed of lettuce, radishes, beets, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, onions and broccoli. Above this is a low sided raised bed on wheels, the bottom of the raised bed would be about 18" off the ground leaving room for the bottom crops to grow as well as providing shade and cool below it (the wagon is about 4x5 and the wheels allows for it to be rolled off the growing bed below to gain access). Inside this wagon will be planted tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, zucchini, and any other slightly tall bushy plant.
Above each garden bed would be a wooden frame about 9ft off the ground, from this would be a hanging basket type planters or even a window box type container. In these boxes would be planted trailing crops such as cucumbers, peas, pole beans, melons, lufas, peanuts, etc., anything that grows on a vine that could trail over the side of the container.
So here you have a 4x10 garden bed with low growing crops, a 4x5 wheeled middle layer with bushy crops providing shade for the bottom crops, and a 2x10 box along the length of the bed up on a frame cascading with trailing crops. Can you picture that?
That 40sqft of garden just turned into 80sqft of garden all within easy reach for picking.
So yea, you can see I'm a little eccentric because this is what I lay awake thinking about at night and takes up most of my brain space during the day. Is that sad a 30yr old single mom trying to optimize my little 2 acre piece of earth? Too bad I couldn't grow livestock in layers. Hmm... maybe I could rabbits, chickens, piglets, oh my!
Back to house chores. My kitchen is begging for attention. My kitchen is spotless for about 30 minutes twice a week. I haven't figured out how to keep it spotless for longer than that. Twice a week I clean it top to bottom but then when it's clean I start making bread, marinating meat for dinner, and all the other fun stuff a kitchen is made for. Ya know what I mean? I guess maybe I should just clean it more often. Hmm... what a concept!
I'll see what I can do about pictures of what my brain has been pondering about. I feel a book coming on. Woo hoo the newest craze in gardening.