I've been reading the posts on gardening over the The Modern Victory Garden blog. They are so wonderful and thought provoking. If you haven't checked out her wonderful blog, I encourage you to do so. This week she is posting about intensive planting in raised beds. Super stuff.
I'm still new to the gardening thing, as I've only had a garden for 6 years now. Its had quite a few incarnations over the years. I started out with a few 4x4 squares surrounded by pavers. The soil was amended in a similar fashion to what Mel Bartholomew says in his first book. Each year I added more squares until 2 years ago when I expanded out to a 1000 sq foot block. The first year I tried to do a complicated design of beds and traditional rows that was a disaster. This past year I went back to what I know and had 7 4x12 sloped beds. The edges of the garden were also planted in peas to take advantage of the fencing for trellising.
If you've read my blog for the past few months you will be aware of the addition I built this year using cinder blocks filled with compost to add to the garden. I'm really curious to see what kind of difference there will be in the production and ease of use between the 2 systems. My eventual goal will be to add cinder blocks to the current sloped beds to make them raised as well. I could probably double dig the sloped beds, but my back just can't do it right now. I really need to make the beds as back friendly as I possibly can as I anticipate the problem getting worse before it gets better. I don't want to give up my garden!
I'm also looking at trying the seed tapes/mats again. The problem may have been a few things. First I didn't test the napkins I was using to see if they would dissolve easily. Second I was using old seed. Probably not the best indicator of whether it was a viable option or not. Since I'm again working with a bad back, the seed mat option is something I want to try again. I have to say they worked well for the beets, but the seeds are much bigger and were fresher.
Pouring over seed catalogs its always so wonderful to dream about next year's perfect garden. Each year I learn a little bit more about what works and what doesn't. The garden bloggers out there are a wonderful source of information as well. I can't imagine doing this without their help. Since there aren't a lot of old seasoned gardeners around me, it's wonderful to have the internet to take their place.