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Sq ft vs intensive gardening

I have read square foot gardening and have put in a few beds. I am now reading an older book on (French) Intensive Gardening. It is somewhat similar, but says to make your beds 5 x 20 ft. Does anyone know about these methods?

The old book on intensive gardening does not have very many pictures. It is not as easy to read but is not difficult to read. I am just starting to read it.

I have not had much luck with gardens in the past and really want to have a big garden with lots of fresh food. I am hoping to have enough to donate some to the local food bank this summer.

If you have any information or thoughts, or experience with these methods, or other info, I would really appreciate if you would share it with me.


You have to be able to reach to the center to pull weeds. You do not want to ever walk IN the bed because that compresses the soil and defeats the purpose. I have used raised beds now for over a decade and would never go back. It is space efficient, provides great drainage, concentrates my weeding, fertilizing and composting IN the growing area. It concentrates soil compression in the access paths.
A note on the access paths: make them at least as wide as your shoe size so you can crouch comfortably to weed. If possible, make every other path the width of your wheel barrow so you can easily dump manure, black dirt, leaves. A note on the side boards: untreated pine lasts for 5 years +. I do not trust treated wood to leach into the soil. I would opt for 2" x 6" x however long. One inch is not really enough to stabilize the side boards with dirt against them. 6" is enough to provide good drainage and keep the roots out of the compression zone.

I double dug several beds last year, all of them 5x20. I haven't built a box to make them raised beds, just gardened in the turned beds after digging in manure and such.

I can't reach the middle without putting my foot down somewhere in the bed, which compresses the dirt. The whole point of double-digging was to loosen the dirt.

When I finally build the boxes, they'll be 4x20 and I'll keep my feet out of them.

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