Ever heard of mound gardening? This unique garden style might just change your life. Let's find out…
Mound Gardening Basics For Growing Root Vegetables
Mound Gardening is literally gardening in mounds. It is ideal for root crops that need the room below-groud. The reason for doing this is to maximize space, and ensure the crops don't drown in high-water regions.
Plants sincerely love water; they thrive on it and will result in bearing you the best of fruits. However, too much water is also not a good thing, and your plants can start to wilt if they have too much. If you do not do something about it as soon as you can, then you have to face the reality of your plants dying.
I initially started to experiment with “mound gardening” some time ago because I had very little space available in my garden. As time passed I found myself lifting the earth into cone-shaped mounds and putting dots on them with plants of one sort or another.
I have a low area in my garden, for example, where water stands during times of the wet seasons that drown a majority of my plants. If I do not use a mound, nothing is usable for me during any wet season, and there goes my money down the drain.
However, a few years ago I harvested about forty-five pounds of beets from a mound in that same deadly low spot during the damp climate changes. When I grow an abundant number of plants (which I often do) I notice that is much easier to care for than normal rows as well. I will typically plant seed beets in short rows in a different section of the garden.
When they grow big enough to transplant I will start to space them out evenly in three circular rows around the mound. Using this method, I can have the planting surface virtually free of any weeds. My already growing beets also begin to “jump” on any weeds that decide to sprout out later. This means no more picking out the weeds yourself; a win for everyone.
Most root crops that will do very well in mounds, however, you may experience some complications come dry season. The earth of the mound will dry out the quicker than any surrounding soil. There are a few ways to overcome this too thankfully.
Keep your mound from drying out
I create a saucer shaped depression at the surface of the mound. When I monitor my plants and notice that they need a drink, I will pour some water into the depression I made. You will see the water travel down as it makes its way to the center of the mound. This method allows plants to transport their roots further beneath the earth. Meaning you do not have to worry about the roots peaking at the top of the ground as they would when you water them normally. (This is the plants way of letting you know, they are not getting the best hydration available.) One good thing about planting beets is that they are very tolerant of dry weather and could still live in it. Because of this, beets are a great choice for the mound. Potatoes are plants that enjoy nicely drained soil. Carrots are as well, considering they root deep, and sweet potatoes just go wild if the mound is correctly fertilized. There are other plants, if you are interested, that you can try out in your garden that can last through the dry times.
Feeding The Mound
When I am feeding the mound, I move to my compost heap that is typically well-rotted horse manure. When preparing the area, I sprinkle a generous amount of compost on spots surrounding the soon to be mound spot. Next, I will begin to drag the earth to get some elevation and to mix the soil properly with the compost. I remain dragging the dirt until I make a little layer of plain earth on the surface of my compost mixed center. It is at this layer where I place my plants. Not too long after, the plants will start to push out their roots under the soil to search for some plant food. There are some vine plants, like cucumbers and squash, which do pretty well on mounts as well. Still, most of them, especially the cucumbers, need watering as they are not able to survive through any drought period.
I do not use mounds for certain plants like bunch beans and tomatoes. However, pole beans that have long poles set around the mound and are pulled together tied like an Indian tepee is an amusing sight to see. You can harvest even the most unusual of crops from those small areas.
A wondrous addition to your garden can be simple to get done from covering the mound by using pepper plants that are either hot or sweet. You should leave a remainder of pepper behind until you notice that they become a shade of yellow or red. With this in mind, a mound could also be something one can use for ornamental reasons other than its usefulness.
I am probably a teeny bit oversold on my lovely pet garden project, but I can get a lot of great tasty vegetables. A lot of my happiness stems from me being able to mound my garden. It is a hobby I hope to remain doing every day. It is nice to find several methods you can use to save any of your plants during the ever changing seasons. What works great for one season, may not work for another. However, I say that if you want to pick up trying “mound gardening” I would use it for the wet months in particular. ; )
Best of luck!
Want more info on mound gardening? Check out this video from Starter Permie:
Is this something you would consider doing in your homestead? Let us know below in the comments!