Just because your plot is small doesn’t mean that your yield has to be.
Britney Spangenberg pinches off the tips of basil to encourage leaf growth. To keep down insect damage, the family’s 3,000 basil plants are grown in several beds throughout the garden.
Paul with some of his pepper plants in the small greenhouse on their lot. He is known locally for his hot peppers.
Organic grower Paul Spangenberg and his family harvest 30 different culinary herbs, more than 30 vegetables and another 30 support or medicinal plants, and a few fruit trees, not to mention the 11 varieties of peppers for which he’s known in his area.
But there’s more. He, his wife, Tammy, and their two children, Ethan, 14, and Britney, 12, make a good living growing these organic herbs and vegetables. That’s not so unusual.
What is unusual, almost astounding, is that the Spangenbergs do all this on a typical suburban lot measuring only two-tenths of an acre in Republic, Missouri. Subtract room for the house and driveway, and a few ornamental flowers and bushes here and there, and what’s left is about one-tenth of an acre for the gardening business.
Paul Spangenberg is now telling us 10 ways to grow more crops on ¼ acre lot:
1. Don’t waste garden space on a lawn.
2. Grow vertically as well as horizontally.
3. Let plants multi-task by providing shade, attracting pollinators, etc.
4. Improve your soil. The better the soil, the better your production.
5. Plant densely with different kinds of plants next to each other to minimize pest damage.
6. Practice succession planting.
7. Encourage beneficial insects.
8. Sow seeds indoors or in a small greenhouse to get a jump on the growing season.
9. Make sure to take advantage of season extenders like small hoophouses and Reemay cloth.
10. Be steadfast about it. Harvest daily to keep the produce coming.
This article originally published in THE NEW PIONEER® Winter 2015 issue. Print and Digital Subscriptions to THE NEW PIONEER magazine are available here.
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