Emily Nathan

Adopt some good ideas from Bainbridge Island gardeners

Jim McCausland,  – March 6, 2006

Follow these tips from IslandWood’s teaching garden.

Plant in raised beds. The soil in raised beds warms faster in spring and drains better in wet weather, so plants grow quickly and produce better than in flat gardens.

Recycle rainwater. Route roof gutters and downspouts to rain barrels or cisterns (at IslandWood’s teaching garden, which is large, galvanized metal tanks are used).

Use organic pest controls. For IslandWood, that starts with a deer fence around the vegetables and extends to simple ideas like crop rotation, which prevents crop-specific pathogens from building up in the soil.

Save space with espaliered trees. At IslandWood, two pear trees and four apple trees (with additional varieties grafted onto the apple trees) grow along the fence line.

Extend the season. Plant cool-season crops like chard, cabbage, peas, and root vegetables for winter and spring harvest, and warm-season crops like tomatoes, beans, and squash for summer and fall. IslandWood also raises both June-bearing and everbearing blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries so that berry season lasts months instead of weeks.