For the Winter 2015 issue of THE NEW PIONEER, author Gerard Attoun looked at techniques that the Spangenberg family from Missouri has used to grow organic produce on two tenths of an acre of land. The Spangenbergs grow over 30 different culinary herbs, more than 30 vegetables as well as other medicinal plants.

“The planning starts on graphing paper in winter, when Paul sits down to chart what he needs to grow for his business, which plants go well together and which ones can share the same space at different times of the growing season,” noted Attoun. “He practices succession planting and schedules his crops to get the most out of every square foot of the small space. Garlic, bush beans, spinach and radishes are good candidates for succession planting because they are ready to pick after being in the ground only a few weeks.

Finding plants that could serve multi-purpose roles was another reason for the Spangenbergs’ success in such a small planting area, according to Paul Spangenberg.

“You look at the plant and you think I’m going to get some cucumbers, but that’s not all it’s going to do for me. No, it’s also shading the soil and keeping moisture in the soil, and at the end of the year, it’s going to give me a load of compost. Plus, the flowers keep pollinators coming and feed the bees and other pollinators,” said Spangenberger in the article. “A plum tree between the house and garden provides plums, but it also shades the house in the heat of summer, as well as the plants and the rain barrels so water is not lost to evaporation. Another plum tree gives the herbs a break from the sun.”

To read the full article, check out the Winter 2015 issue of THE NEW PIONEER, available on newsstands and digitally on October 21, 2014. To subscribe or purchase, visit

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