adj. in·tens·er, in·tens·est
- Possessing or displaying a distinctive feature to an extreme degree: the intense sun of the tropics.
- Extreme in degree, strength, or size: intense heat.
- Involving or showing strain or extreme effort: intense concentration.
- Deeply felt; profound: intense emotion.
- Tending to feel deeply: an intense writer
- Of, relating to, or characterized by intensity: intensive training. See Usage Note at intense.
- Relating to or being a method especially of land cultivation intended to increase the productivity of a fixed area by means of an increase in capital and labor.
I wasn't able to attend Gardening School this past Saturday but, I knew they were going to talk about how to plan a vegetable garden so I tried to read the manual. The manual for the class is really designed to be a supplement to the classes so although its an enormous looseleaf binder that appears to be chock full of info, it doesn't tend to answer all my questions or explain things very thoroughly. While reading I came across the concept of intensive gardening. The basic gist is to get more out of a small space. All at once I realized that one of the things that really made my garden less impressive and less productive than some of my community garden neighbor's last summer is the fact that they were carefully employing these methods and I wasn't. The big eye opener for me was the fact that the space requirements listed on the backs of seed packages are designed for some kind of professional grower with lots of space and a need for neat rows of crops that you can water and fertilize and weed with machines! If you're like me and gardening in a little trapezoidal plot in a community garden you really should be squishing things as much as you possibly can and its not wrong to do that....its just intense!
This is actually very exciting news! The challenge now is that I have to re-do the garden planning I've done based on these new "intensive methods" which include things like companion planting, interplanting, vertical planting, succession planting and so forth (square foot gardening is one of these too). That means I need to know what these techniques are first and then how to use them. It probably won't be as hard as I am thinking because I've been dutifully ogling other people's garden plots for 2 years now but, I am a little intimidated.
Basically, I need to re-figure how much space everything really needs and then see if I have room for more stuff. The manual sort of implies that intensive gardening isn't really for everyone and it might be best to start slowly. Why would that be? Will I screw something up if I do it wrong? The manual also makes it sound like you need to either use one of these methods or not, as if halfway is not an option. Why is that? Is this extreme gardening, as in not for the weak willed or faint of heart? What's the big deal? Clearly, I am confused. I guess I'll just try to do some reading and see what I can figure out.