Over the next month or two, I will be delving in and exploring some of the different gardening methods. While growing your own food is as simple as combining seeds, soil, water and light, there are so many new and improved ways to maximize and improve yields. Sometimes all those improved methods can seem overwhelming and intimidating. My hope is that by looking at each method and exploring how it developed will allow you to evaluate your own gardening and simplify some of the ideas available.
I am also looking for experts who are willing to share their experience with different gardening methods in three different ways. You may link up interesting posts below as part of The Homesteading Resource Guide, or I welcome submissions of questposts with first-hand knowledge of different gardening methods. Lastly I am interested in sharing photos of some of these methods in action. If you have photos of your experience using different gardening methods, please share them to my flickr page (or email me at gstuppycarlson at gmail dot com) and I will share them within my posts (with due credit given of course).
Traditional Gardening Method
Ironically, traditional gardening is difficult to define, mostly because there are small and large differences in how people garden around the world and throughout time. It is simply impossible to comprehensively define a common, time-tested method. For the sake of simplicity, I will discuss traditional gardening as planting in a large garden space in set rows. In modern gardening, traditional gardening has also come to mean gardening with the use of fertilizers, although many of these fertilizers are modern in nature.
Choosing to create a traditional gardening space is a wonderful option for people with a large area. Using large rows covered with mulch between your plants gives you room to walk, weed and even move a wheelbarrow between the plants. This also lends itself to the use of machines and for many, the well-defined rows have a simple beauty that takes us back to days on the farm. For people using row covers, a traditional garden row provides a natural set up. Some people argue that by walking between the rows you decrease crops by compressing and damaging roots, and this method is not good choice for those with limited space.
Traditional gardening often uses the soil already present, unlike raised bed gardening where soil is built up into beds. This does not mean that you can’t create a large gardening space that has added compost or has been amended. Traditional gardening is a wonderful place to start, especially for those with lots of space, good soil and adequate drainage.
Organic gardening often uses a number of different methods, but ultimately is based on using the natural system, and specifically excludes synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. People choose to garden organically for their health, concern over the environment, to preserve seeds, and to maintain a natural approach to gardening.
In the commercial world (depending on your country) the word organic is regulated, and farmers must show compliance over a certain amount of time before becoming certified organic. For most of us growing in our backyard, organic gardening means finding natural solutions to fertilizing and pest control. While organic farming has been practiced for thousands of years, the modern organic farming movement really took root in the 1920’s with Rudolf Steiner. This movement continues to grow, and many home gardeners are taking advantage of the many practices that fall under organic gardening.