6 Gardening Methods to Try in 2015

Reader Contribution by Kayla Matthews

Now is the perfect time to start planning your summer garden. Time is on your side as there are plenty of weeks until the spring’s last frost. If you need some suggestions for gardening solutions, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a look at six gardening methods that can mix up your old ways and provide a welcoming new air to your garden this planting season.

1. No-Till Gardening

Instead of turning over the soil this season to prepare for new growth, consider a no-till garden. This type of garden leaves the earth beneath the surface untouched, so the microorganisms aren’t disturbed. This allows the natural process to take place without the interference of tilling. Adding compounds such as compost, manure, lime or peat as needed will strengthen a no-till garden.

No-till gardens provide the following benefits:

• Reduces the need to weed
• Promotes natural drainage and aeration
• Conserves water
• Strengthens earthworm population
• Helps soil maintain carbon

2. Straw Bale Gardening

Perhaps you want to experiment with gardening in a new location. With straw bale gardening, you can grow crops in a driveway, parking lot, rooftop, patio or other outdoor location. Straw bales provide gardeners with all the benefits of a raised bed but are soilless.

The other added bonus is that you start fresh with every season. This brings with it the confidence of knowing the plot is disease-free and ready to use for planting. Also, straw bale gardening allows for earlier planting times because the straw releases heat as it decomposes.

3. Vertical Gardening

If you’re working with limited space, or want an additional garden to supplement your larger one, a vertical garden is a worthy option. You can create a variety of vertical gardens, such as the following:

• Hanging baskets
• Containers
• Shelves
•A frame with cross supports and built-in shelves

With height on your side, plants can be stacked upon one another using appropriate shelving or tiered tables. A combination of different-sized pots, containers and hanging baskets can add dimension and depth to a vertical garden. Crops that normally take up a lot of space in a traditional garden can be trained to grow upwards in a vertical garden, which is an added benefit.

4. Pallet Gardening

Pallet gardens make perfect salad gardens, but they can be used to plant any kind of crop. The pallets act as precise rows for evenly spaced crops (Above, you can see a pallet/vertical gardening combo).

Be sure to use a heat-treated pallet, marked with an “HT” on the side. This indicates it wasn’t chemically treated. Add some good soil and seeds, and you’ll be ready to grow. Be sure to watch for old nails or staples if you use a recycled pallet.

5. Window Gardening

Window gardens are lovely supplements to your outdoor garden and bring an element of nature to your indoor space. They are also useful for people who don’t have any access to outdoor planting areas. Using the space around any window, large or small, you place pots, hanging plants or planters. All you need is a window. Be sure to opt for a window that lets in plenty of sunshine, and plant accordingly. If you use more than one window, group plants requiring the same amount of sun together.

6. Container Gardening

Another way to grow plants just about anywhere, container gardening might be your next method to try this spring. You can plant early and bring the containers in at night if necessary, giving you a head start on the growing season.

Containers come in a delightful variety of shapes and sizes, so there’s something to fit every space. A container garden can be as simple or as complex as you make it. Furthermore, container gardens welcome a variety of vegetables, but tomatoes, beets, carrots and peppers are among the most popular.

Hopefully these ideas give you some inspiration as you begin to think about your garden for the upcoming spring season. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with finding a used tractor and going to town on the traditional garden of your dreams, but not everyone has the space for that.

There are many ways to get creative with your gardening, and you have plenty of time to start planning and gathering materials. Why not try something new this year?

Images by Ruth Temple, Kristine Paulus, missellyrh, FOODLANDER, mazaletel and woodleywonderworks

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