My grandmother's vegetable garden was not a backyard garden. Her's required a large parcel of land and a lot of her time. She had the time because providing food for the table was her and my grandfather's main job—a full time job. Today's woman and man also provides food for the table, but they do it by working outside the home and buying the food from the market.
Memories of my grandmother and my parents plowing and planting long rows of vegetables kept me from gardening for many years. Plus, there was no room for a big garden. Then one day I saw a newspaper story about keyhole gardening. Bingo!!! What a great way to grow a lot of vegetables in a little space with little work.
This garden design was conceived in Africa where soil is often poor and rainfall is scarce. It has since been used in drought stricken areas in the US such as southwestern Texas. Now it is becoming popular in all planting zones.
Raised bed gardens are above ground boxes with no bottoms. They can be built of any material, filled with soil and planted. They are any length, but only wide enough to make the plants within reach for easy care.
Building raised beds can be time consuming and labor intensive. The potting soil bag method will get you growing the first year and the beds will be made permanent when the season is over.
We are used to seeing flowers and ornamental plants growing in containers. But you can also have an intensive vegetable garden with artfully arranged containers.
Straw bale gardens are temporary. That is, the bales are good for only one year. Certain bag gardens are the same way. I prefer the other types of gardens listed above, but if you want to try something unique, here are the particulars.
No matter what season of the year it is, it is time to start planning your garden. Decide which garden design you will use. Make a garden plan and order your seeds, or decide which plants you will buy from the nursery. When the weather is decent enough, start preparing your backyard garden beds. Three weeks before the last frost in your area, start planting. Bon appetit!