Jan 19

Intensive Gardening

Planning ahead.

Planning ahead.

Even a small garden can produce quite a lot of food when you use Intensive Gardening.
The plan above is for a garden 4 ft wide on each side, with two trellises at opposite ends. This size garden is easy to access for harvesting.

This particular garden would hold:
1 regular tomato, staked
2 dozen carrots
2 basil plants
12 garlic bulbs
10 beets
10 kohlrabi
16 scallions
4 celery
2 Chinese cabbages
8 leeks
20 hot peppers
6 sweet peppers
1 each yellow and green summer squash
8 kale
8 Lima beans
18 bush beans
2 eggplants
4 Swiss chard
8 parsnips
8 leaf lettuce

And on the trellis:
2 vining squash
3 red Malabar spinach
1 cherry type tomato
1 baby watermelon
4 peas
1 cucumber
4 pole beans

Of course you may want an additional tomato and maybe no Lima beans at all, but this gives you an idea of how to grow plants using this method.

This way of gardening does not leave unplanted space for rows, but rather plants all the veggies close together. This leaves very little room for weeds, which is great. Keep in mind that you need good loose and fertile soil, and since the plants are competing for nutrients you will need to apply fertilizer at least twice during the growing season.

You can also plan for succession planting, by planting cooler season veggies in the places that become open once other crops are harvested. Beets, carrots, onions, scallions, kohlrabi, cabbage, leeks and garlic will all be done producing mid to late summer so those spots will be available to replant.

Note as well that when you are growing veggies on a trellis you need a set up that is sturdy enough to hold the weight of the crop. Smaller veggie versions, such as baby watermelon and smaller pumpkins will be easier to handle.
It also helps to support the weight of the larger fruit by putting them in a ‘sling’ that is then attached to the support system. This takes some of the strain off the vines.

Recycled mesh produce bag.

Recycled mesh produce bag.

Vertical growing veggies will cause areas nearby to get a little more shade. You can take advantage of that by planting veggies that you grow for the leaves in those areas, they often prefer a little shade. This would include all the leafy greens, cabbage and celery. This has the additional advantage of preventing bolting.

This is how we have been gardening for over 30 years. We have never had a ‘row’ of anything.
Our garden started with 2 beds this size, and it just kept growing.
And yes, the pun is intentional.


  1. christa

    How well does this work for productivity? I have five 8 x 4 beds. Last year I fit ten hot peppers and 6 bells in half of one of the beds, it would be awesome if I could increase that!

    1. gjones

      We space our bells 10-12 inches apart, and the hot peppers 3-4, depending on the pepper. So in a 2×4 space, you could get 12 hot peppers per 4 ft, and 4 bells. We get a good harvest this way. We have even grown hot peppers in small planters to free up space, and they do well that way too.

Comments have been disabled.