Transitional Gardening – Getting up and running quickly

Posted: June 29, 2011 in Allotment, Gardening

First things first. Jack Spirko does not wear a tinfoil hat.

I just wanted to make that clear. He has some great podcasts on gardening and permaculture, and all of his episodes are at least worth listening to if not downright fantastic. With that in mind, imagine what a coincidence it is that he puts out a fantastic podcast on Transitional Gardening during the same week when I get my allotment!

I had been having a think about how I was going to begin getting my allotment started. My initial thought had been to dig over a smallish area and get a single bed up and running. I was going to plant it with some pumpkins to help keep the weeds down (as well as having pumpkins). Then Jack comes along with four (count ’em) great ways of getting more production up and running quickly and easily, which means I can concentrate on getting the rest of the plot into shape.

Of the four methods he described I think my first one will be straw bale gardening. The short version is you get a few bales of straw, arrange them where you want a permanent bed, put some nitrogen on them and wait a few weeks. Once they cool down a bit you can plant seeds in or on them. They cover the ground and suppress the grass while at the same time allowing taproots to penetrate into the subsoil. At the end of the season you can turn them over, plant a winter cover crop and by the beginning of next year you pretty much have a raised bed.

Once that is up and running I can get a small hugelkultur bed up pretty easily and have that ready for next year, assuming the soil has fairly good drainage and isn’t just claggy clay.

All I need now are my keys, which should arrive tomorrow. You might have guessed that I’m getting pretty excited.


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