High-Yield Urban Gardening Techniques for Small Spaces
Square Foot Gardening and the Japanese Tomato Ring are two gardening methods that are designed to produce high yields with limited space. “Square Foot Gardening” is an exciting new theory developed by Mel Bartholomew that is specifically designed to grow a thriving garden in less space than traditional gardens, with fewer resources and significantly less environmental impact. His ideas have been utilized in countries throughout the world and are very adaptable. The basics of the technique are to garden in squares instead of rows with a custom soil mixture. You then plant each square with a separate crop, changing out crops as they are harvested. To learn more about this inventive new gardening method, check out the official site for Square Foot Gardening.
The Japanese Tomato Ring is an unusual growing technique that one gardener claims can produce as many as 600 tomatoes per plant every year. The Japanese Tomato Ring was supposedly developed by a postman in Charleston, South Carolina in the 1960s. The technique is based on the postman’s own design and curiously has nothing to do with Japan. Read the history of the Japanese Tomato Ring here.
This method involves forming a large ring with fencing wire and filling it with a fertile mixture of topsoil, compost, and mulch. The tomatoes are actually planted around the outside of the ring and send their roots into the nutrient rich soil and compost mixture, which has plenty of air pockets for the roots to breath. Watering is performed not by irrigating the plants, but by pouring water over the top of the ring and letting the water and nutrients slowly water and fertilize the plants. As the tomatoes grow, you can tie them onto the fence and train them to grow up and over the ring. This Florida horticultural extension site explains how this method works and even has a diagram.
Want to learn more about high yield urban gardening techniques?
About.com has a variety of articles on making the most of your small garden. Check out their resources on planning and garden design, variety of plants you can choose, and finding the most effective focal point for your small garden.
Grist.org has an informative Q&A section devoted to small urban gardens. It covers the things that city dwellers need to cultivate a garden in a small space, viable options for growing your own food, and the most effective urban gardening techniques.
SFGate presents an interesting article on R.J. Ruppenthal, an urban gardener who has written a book “Fresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square Inch Gardener’s Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting and Sprouting.” Ruppenthal shows you how to be creative within a small space and make the most of your garden.