Magazine article Sunset

Tight Space, High Performance ... Sunset's Test Garden Secrets

Magazine article Sunset

Tight Space, High Performance ... Sunset's Test Garden Secrets

Article excerpt

Tight space, high performance ... Sunset's test garden secrets High-performance gardening--growing healthy plants in innovative ways--is called for when space is tight and demands on that space are heavy.

In a 3,200-square-foot test garden at Sunset's Menlo Park, California, headquarters, we grow a succession of plants year-round for research and photography. Fenced off from a 7-acre display garden that's open to visitors, the garden is divided into four test plots, each 23 by 32 feet.

By any measure, it's a high-production garden. This year along, we've harvested basil (18 varieties)> cabbages (20 heads)> carrots (40 varieties)> culinary herbs (13 kinds, many later used in dishes prepared by our kitchens)> gourds (51, of 7 varieties, weighing up to 30 pounds each)> lettuce, onions, and spinach (14 varieties each)>peas (23 varieties yielded more plants each of 12 varieties yielded more than 500 pounds of fruit)> and watermelons (48, the largest weighing in at 38 pounds). Flower beds include bulbs and 20 different drought-tolerant perennials.

To keep up this kind of production, meticulous soil preparation and making every inch of space count are vital. …

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