Gardening in the 3rd Dimension
The 3rd Dimension or Making your veggie patch 2.5 times bigger without lifting a spade
By Andrew Yip
Regardless how much land you have, the vegetable garden tends to be limited to a relatively small area.
We get good at doing things in rows (x-axis), better still are grids utilising two dimensions (x-y axis). But thinking in the 3rd dimension or z-axis can be difficult. Stuff grows up and down, across and around.
Below Ground – mix roots and tubers. This year I have had a go at intermixing oats with potatoes. The oats will provide deep roots and, the potatoes will grow in all the gaps. The oats will provide seed and mulch, the potatoes, tubers and compost material.
Above ground – getting into the 3rd dimension usually means trellising. Trellising forces you back into planting in rows, but you can maintain high number of plants through careful trellis placement. Remember, there are always two sides to a trellis.
- Trellis over pathways to free up garden bed.
- Trellis a foot in the bed rather than on the edge.
- Mix up fruits and roots, as one grows up the other grows down.
- Try visualising your beds as a giant rectangular cubes rather than a thin layer of soil.
Looking at the 1m by 1m ‘One Magic Square’ starter garden as in the figure above we see the growing area being 1m by 1m or the soil plane. Not much space for feeding the family.
However, thinking in the 3rd dimension our Magic Square suddenly transforms into a ‘Magic Rectangular Box’. Below the soil plane a good 0.5m that can be filled with roots and tubers, and above the soil plane up to 2 metres of growing space (you will be surprised how tall peas and beans can grow if given the room). All in all, 2.5 times bigger.
Next time you look at your veggie patch hopefully it will look 2.5 times bigger.