A member of the MittleiderMethodGardening@yahoo.groups.com wrote with questions about his very small garden. I believe my answers and suggestions can benefit many who read this, as most of what I said has wide application.
I do not recommend growing in 2′-wide beds normally, because 18″ widths are most efficient. But when someone has only 2′ to work with, then we need to maximize its usefulness. Enjoy.
“I’m in the process of builiding raised beds down the side of my
house. I live in Las Vegas, NV.
When finished I will have 64 feet x 2 feet of planting space.
My planting list is as follows…
1. Bell Pepper
8. Dwarf Lemon
9. Dwarf Lime
I’m not sure how to space these, how much of each or how little of each to plant, and which will work well together.”
First I would forget the corn. It takes up too much space to be worthwhile in that size garden. I would also avoid strawberries – because they spread quickly, and because every critter in the world loves them and will follow the smell and invade your garden to get them.
Next, I would plant your lemon and lime trees on the extreme North or East, as they will soon shade other things around them. Space them according to their size at maturity, so they aren’t crowded.
I would plant my herbs in the full 2′-wide planting area between the two trees, unless there is a shadier spot, as these can grow with less direct sunlight than fruiting plants. They can be planted in 4 rows – 6″ apart – if you are willing to keep them picked so they don’t get too bushy. Perhaps 12′ X 2′ would be sufficient for all of those.
I would plant onions, carrots, leaf lettuce, and spinach in 3 rows across the 2′ width, with 5′ of row for each (15′ of plants), which would use up another 20′.
Peppers would get 10′ in my garden, planted in two rows 12″ apart, and jalapenos would get only 10% of that space (18 Bell & 2 Jal). And if I had my way 4′ of the 10 would be eggplant instead.
That leaves us with tomatoes and squash. For me, these are of prime importance in the garden (except we’d add eggplants & peppers to the mix), and I would devote 12′ to tomatoes grown 8″ apart in one row (using T-Frames) or 16″ apart on both sides of the planting area (if using stakes). I would use indeterminate
plants such as Better Boy or Big Beef, and would prune carefully to keep leaves off the ground and provide light to the fruit. Either method gives you 20 plants that should produce more than 500# over 6 months.
For squash I would plant 4 zucchini plants in 6′ on one side of the bed. Again, regular pruning of older leaves is important to help you avoid or at least delay powdery mildew and maximize your yield. And the last 4′ would be devoted to 6 plants of another summer squash that climbs, and I’d put that on T-Frames as
well (next to the tomatoes).
It is very important to understand and commit to harvesting everything at peak maturity, and removing plants from the garden immediately. In Las Vegas you should be able to grow 3 or 4 crops of lettuce and spinach, and two of carrots.
Used this way and done properly, 64′ X 2′ will give you a LOT of produce.