Last night, two Master Gardeners and I conducted a gardening workshop at the Norton Community Center. As we engaged the eighteen participants in the discussion, what struck me was the array of options available to gardeners. Techniques and styles will boil down to available space, physical and financial limitations and, more often than not, the creativity and personal tastes of the gardener.
For instance, on the topic of trellising, preferences for pole bean support ranged from corn to sunflowers to cattle panels to twine. Some preferred to trellis all their vining crops and shared their experiences of how suspended melons and squash had improved air flow and thereby reduced disease issues in 2013.
The group was furthermore divided on tomato cages vs. more linear support systems, such as the Florida weave or fencing.
A common thread in the discussion was the disappointment from “novel” potato production attempts. Several had experimented with growing potatoes in straw or barrels or tires or cardboard boxes, but the consensus was that these all look good on paper but fail to match what good soil and time-honored methods will produce.
I suppose most of the class walked away with the understanding that, while there may be obvious wrong ways to grow a garden, there are more ways than one to do it right.