July 2011

Management plan for an urban vegetable garden

A sustainable producing garden with a healthy top soil.

After harvesting, it is time to plan ahead. This article offers a few guidelines to maintain a healthy producing urban vegetable garden over time.

By Arnold Brouwer
Director Programa Huertos Educativos
Cochabamba


Photo: Arnold Brouwer.
An example of raised beds in an urban vegetable garden.

The harvested crops have extracted nutrients from the soil and due to constant watering and the occasional step on the garden beds, the ground is compacted. To revive the garden soil turn the first 20cm, rake out weeds and mix in a bucket of compost per square meter. Instead of compost it is also possible to use dry manure of herbivores. However the advantage of using compost is that it improves nutrient content, enriches soil life and improves soil structure with organic material, whereas manure is most of all a nutrient infusion, compost besides adding nutrients improves the soil’s ability to maintain humidity. By always adding compost after harvesting we are building our garden soil towards a healthy natural soil system, crawling with life.

Once compost is mixed in, try not to step on the beds to keep a high air content in the soil and level it for the next crop. At the moment of planting take in mind the following advice:,/

  • Now is the time to remodel, reshaping garden beds and pathways. After managing the first crop you have an idea if the garden design is comfortable or maybe there is a better way to use the available space. You can also consider opening a new path way or widen an existing one to access the garden more easily.
  • Use the crop rotation sequence of root, leaf, fruit and leguminous crops.
  • Calculate harvesting time in order to see if the seasons go with the crop.
  • Diversify the garden in order to avoid pests and diseases.
  • Think about associated planting.

Raised garden beds

If there is a lot of organic material available, consider constructing a rais

ed bed. Take out 30cm of soil. Fill this space up with a layered mixture of green and dry organic material alternated with a bit of compost between layers. Basically it is like building a thin layered compost heap inside the garden bed. Water it down and put the soil back on, mix in compost on the raised bed and put in the crops. The raised garden beds not only are very healthy for the crops, they also look very aesthetic. When you harvest, take care only to loosen up the top soil and not to mix in the organic material that is still decomposing underneath. Once the bed is nearly level again, it is time to repeat the exercise.

Use the crop rotation sequence of root, leaf, fruit and leguminous crops.

If there is a lot of organic material available, consider constructing a raised bed

The advantage of using compost is that it improves nutrient content, enriches soil life and improves soil structure with organic material.

Story On Pedals

The city of Oruro was, as several researchers have recognized, the main recipient of these new sports. For example, the first football team was created in 1898: Oruro Football Club (Oruro), whose members were also starting to play tennis, basketball, and cycling. This was the first club for the influx of migrants, who called their machines “safety bicycles”, which would soon become popular among the social elite because of its high costs.

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