After Mom got frustrated with us raiding the carrot rows before they were ready she starting giving us our own little plot, we could plant what wanted and the best part - we could eat it when ever we wanted. My carrots always disappeared well before they were ready.
I really wanted a vegetable garden but knew that I wouldn't have a lot of time to dedicate to it. So I started looking for "less work" gardening solutions. I found a book at our library by Patricia Lanza called Lasagna Gardening and it has changed the way I garden.
We started a little vegetable garden 4 years ago using the "Lasagna Garden" method and have had great success. I would highly recommend using this method if you want lots of produce with little or no maintenance.
The concept is layers of straw, manure, compost, soil, newspaper etc that create a raised bed. It is a very rich soil base so you plant things close together. One great advantage of doing this is that once the plants are up there is very little weeding to do.
The ratio is one layer green to four layers of brown. Here are some examples of types of layers.
Grass clippings (make sure they have no chemicals on them)
Newspaper (use as your first layer)
Cardboard (use as your first layer)
Shredded office paper
Wood chips/twigs/shredded branches
A blog article she wrote with great explanations - http://ourgardengang.tripod.com/lasagna_gardening.htm
Layers described hhttp://www.oprah.com/home/Lasagna-Gardening-101/3
Here is her blog - http://firstlasagnagardener.blogspot.ca/
The Shelburne Public Library has the original Lasagna Gardening book and Small Spaces by Patricia Lanza. They are worth the read. Click here to request them
We have a 4x10 plot and have harvested tomatoes, peppers, yellow/purple bean, peas, beets and radish off of it, enough for two people to eat and a some for the freezer.
Here is a picture of my garden last year.
Len Pense from Missouri has taken this concept to a whole new level of gardening. A former engineer he has it down to a mathematical equation. I am hoping to implement some of his plans this summer to start my own larger garden. You can check out his site at www.gardeningrevolution.com