Joy of Gardening

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Garden Way's Joy of Gardening can show anyone, anywhere, how to turn any patch of ground into a lush, bountiful vegetables garden.

With Dick Raymond's help, you will

- Double your harvest with wide rows. Less weeding, too.

- Solve soil problems forever. His secrets will work anywhere.

- Get your earliest and healthiest tomatoes. Use his trench-planting technique.

- Harvest the sweetest melons. Use tin cans for sweeter melons that ripen faster.

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Joy of Gardening

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Garden Way's Joy of Gardening can show anyone, anywhere, how to turn any patch of ground into a lush, bountiful vegetables garden.

With Dick Raymond's help, you will

- Double your harvest with wide rows. Less weeding, too.

- Solve soil problems forever. His secrets will work anywhere.

- Get your earliest and healthiest tomatoes. Use his trench-planting technique.

- Harvest the sweetest melons. Use tin cans for sweeter melons that ripen faster.

The companion to the television series of the same name, Garden Way's Joy of Gardening contains the best of Dick Raymond's vegetable gardening wisdom — his proven methods for raised beds, wide rows, and other techniques that promise a bigger harvest with less work.

Full-color photographs and illustrations, and at-a-glance charts, make Dick's proven methods accessible to any gardener, beginner or seasoned expert.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780882663197
  • Publisher: Storey Books
  • Publication date: 1/3/1983
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 398,826
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 2.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Most gardeners are grateful that internationally known garden expert Dick Raymond has compiled the vast knowledge shared in his popular Garden Way television program, Joy of Gardening, into book form. He's also written Down-to-Earth Gardening Know-How for the 90's, among other books. Dick was head vegetable gardening specialist at Garden Way Gardens in Vermont for 15 years where the Joy of Gardening television series was filmed. He also gardened and cared for plots in Texas, Florida, Georgia, and on the West Coast for Garden Way. Over 40 years of hands-on experience have made Dick a very respected gardener and teacher.

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Read an Excerpt

Garden Way's Joy of Gardening
By Dick Raymond Storey Publishing
Copyright © 1982
Garden Way Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-88266-319-7


I promise you more production in less space with less work! Up to three times the harvest from your same garden. And my wide row gardening system works with more than 30 vegetables, in all soils, and in all climates, too!

During the past 30 years I have tested almost every gardening technique. I've spent most of my gardening life trying to perfect the easiest and most rewarding techniques for growing a satisfying home garden.

The way I grow my garden now-using my wide row method whenever I can-is tops by far. I get more food and enjoy longer harvests than with any other system. And I spend only about one-third the time planting, thinning, weeding and caring for my garden.

Each year, gardening with the wide row method simply gets easier, more enjoyable, and more productive.

What do I mean by a wide row?

Single row-skimpy harvest! Wide row-double, even triple the harvest

Look at the wide row of carrots on the right. On the left, planted in the traditional way, is a single straight-line row. It's easy to notice the main features of wide row growing-thick wide rows, more plants in the row, and much more garden soil being used to grow food. The result is more food for you and your family.

Plant 144 onionsin 1 square foot

I love scallions and I pull well over 100 from each square foot of my onion wide rows, leaving a dozen or so to grow into keeping-size bulbs. When thinning single rows of onions, however, I get only a handful of scallions. By planting onion sets 1 inch apart and harvesting most of them for scallions I can easily get 10 times the harvest of a single row of the same length.

I doubled my chard harvest

I planted these chard rows on the same day. Both rows were 10 feet long. The single row (left) yielded 17 pounds, 8 ounces through the season. The 15-inch wide row (right) produced 34 pounds, 4 ounces. It takes the same amount of time to get the soil ready and sow the seeds, so why not try the wide row?

In my wide row system I broadcast the seeds in wide bands

The easy way to plant a wide row is by "broadcasting" seeds ... scattering them evenly the entire length and width of the row. The plants come up quite close together, but with my thinning and harvesting techniques they never get too close.

Here's why I love wide rows so much!

In this 30-foot by 40-foot garden I planted 8 of 13 rows wide!

I grew this backyard vegetable garden as an experiment. I used wide rows whenever possible. There were 13 rows of crops and 8 of them were planted "wide." Only the pole beans, tomatoes (two rows), broccoli, and summer squash were in straight-line narrow rows.

Even cabbage and cauliflower are great in wide rows

I fit many more cauliflower, cabbage and head lettuce plants into my garden by using the wide row method, and I harvest much more over a longer period of time. There are other benefits, too-see how the leaves of these plants shade the ground. The sun can hardly hit the soil in this row. The soil stays cool and moist, and weeds are rarely a problem.

The best way to grow head lettuce

Better than supermarket lettuce, that's for sure! Most people can grow two wide row crops of firmhead Iceberg lettuce-one in the spring and one in the fall. Head lettuce does not do well in hot weather, but growing in wide rows keeps the soil cool so the plants will head up well even if you get some unexpected warm weather. The leaves grow out, touch those of neighboring plants, and together they protect the ground from the sun.

A 3-foot-long wide row of leaf lettuce fields all a family can eat

It's simply amazing how much fresh leaf lettuce you can harvest from a short wide row. I get basket after basket by cutting the plants in a short swath right down to an inch above the ground. This encourages them to bounce back with tender new leaves while I harvest the rest of the row.

A wide row 3 feet across!

Wide rows can be planted to whatever width suits you best. This wide row of kale is 3 feet across. I've grown crops in wide rows from 10 inches across, all the way up to 25 feet wide. A 3-foot width is very manageable. I can reach any plant from one side or the other, so I never have to step in the row and compact the soil.

"Block" planting-just plant and pick!

Jan and I are looking over a large block of peas in our experimental garden. This is quite a pea patch-it's 12 x 24 feet. To plant it, I sprinkle the seeds over the entire area and run my roto-tiller over them, mixing them into the top of the soil. Some seeds wind up too shallow, others are too deep to germinate, but most are at the right depth for sprouting well. By using a little extra seed I insure a good stand of plants. I never have to weed in a square like this-it's a plant and pick crop.

We used 3 or 4 pounds of seeds and we picked 150 pounds of fresh peas. It's easy to harvest a square of peas like this-we take stools right into the patch, sit down and pick plenty, then move to another spot.

From the very same row I harvest five different vegetables

The most interesting and colorful wide rows in the garden are my new "multicrop" rows. Here I grow up to five different vegetables in the same row. They are all planted on the same day, but the harvest from the row extends for weeks. (More about multicrops on page 60.)

Planting a wide row is as easy as scattering grass seed

With all the plants I have in my wide rows you might think I spend a lot of time planting. Well, I don't.

Planting a wide row takes only a few seconds because I broadcast seeds, scattering them fairly close together the entire width and length of the row. I never bend over to space seeds exactly. With my way of seeding, I probably spend more time opening the seed packet than sowing the seeds. There's very little bending and kneeling on the ground for me. Whenever I plant, I try to do it standing up.

Wide rows provide a continual harvest!

Now harvest earlier and longer than ever

Perhaps what I like most about my method is the continual harvest possible from wide rows.

With more plants in the row there's obviously going to be a bigger harvest. But the nice thing about wide rows is that this larger harvest comes over a much longer period of time than conventional single rows. With many crops, the harvest can easily be stretched out 5 or 6 weeks longer than usual.

In a wide row there's a natural competitiveness among plants growing near each other. They are all trying to get as much sun, water, and food as possible. But, just as in uncultivated woods or meadows, not every plant can win.

The strongest plants get an edge over the others and dominate for a short period of time. That's okay. These plants are the first ones to get to the eating stage, so I pick them first.

In a row of carrots, beets, lettuce, cabbages, or whatever, I always start the harvest with the largest. Because there are so many plants in the row I don't have to wait like other gardeners for the crop to get big-I can enjoy plenty of vegetables when they are tender and small.

I can start harvesting earlier, take the best of the row, and still look forward to much more to come. With each early harvest, I end some of the competition between plants, and more plants receive their full dose of sun and food.

With this harvesting style I multiply the days when I can go out into the garden and bring back some produce for a meal. As a backyard gardener. this is the ultimate-a steady, extra-long harvest.


1st Cutting

When the plants are 4 or 5 inches tall they are in prime shape for a first cut. I slice them only 1 inch above the soil. They are so tasty at this stage.

2nd Cutting

A few weeks later the plants have produced a new set of tender leaves ready to cut again. While waiting for these leaves to grow I've made first cuttings on other sections of the row.

3rd Cutting

After another 3 or 4 weeks the chard leaves have reached eating size again. Chard can be cut like this all season long, but I usually get only three cuttings of leaf lettuce before the quality peters out.

Wide rows save hours of weeding and watering

The "living mulch" formed by close-growing plants stops weeds

The most amazing aspect of my wide row growing method is how little weeding has to be done. The secret is in growing plants close together. As long as the vegetable seeds sprout and grow ahead of the weeds (and the planting and thinning techniques I'll show you later will guarantee this), their leaves will work to block out the sun. And weeds cannot last long or grow far without sun.

I like to seed my rows thickly so that this living mulch over the soil is created early, when plants are small. Then in succeeding weeks I thin out the crowded row so that the plants get room to grow. But I always keep enough plants in the row to maintain the important shade mulch over small weeds struggling to grow.

Saves water three ways

First, the leaf canopy over the row keeps the sun from hitting the soil and drying it out. In effect, the plants in the row create a mulch to slow down water loss due to evaporation.

Second, the plants on the edges of the row act as windbreaks for the others in the micro-climate of the row. When a plant is sitting all by itself it is terribly vulnerable to drying winds. The winds may cause the plant to release water into the air faster than it can take water up through the roots.

In a wide row, however, most of the plants are inside the boundaries of the row. They do not take the full brunt of the winds; in fact, they're pretty well protected and lose moisture at a much slower rate. In my test gardens I can spot this important difference easily on a hot windy day.

Third, the leaf canopy of wide rows can trap the dew which forms on the soil under the row and on the undersides of the plant leaves. In a single row, this valuable moisture is quickly lost to morning evaporation because there's nothing there to hold it back. But in a wide row, the canopy of leaves slows this evaporation, allowing some of the moisture to be absorbed into the soil to help the plants.

I stumbled onto the benefits of wide row growing by accident 30 years ago.

It was the spring after Jan and I were married and we were starting our garden together.

We decided to grow some extra fresh peas to sell at the market because the price was good-$8 or $9 a bushel. I bought 10 pounds of pea seed.

On planting day I prepared the area that I had set aside in my plan for peas. I planted the seeds in straight-line rows, one after another, with lots of walkspace between them just as my father and I had always done. When I finished seeding the rows, I had about 3 pounds of seed left over.

To use them up I sprinkled the seeds by the handful over another patch of ground in the corner of the garden and mixed them into the soil with a spading fork.

This was my first wide row-a 10-foot by 20-foot section of garden that was solid peas with no walkways.

Watching the peas grow, I was amazed. They grew so close together that they actually held themselves up. I didn't have to fiddle with any brush or fencing to stake them up as I had to do with my other rows.

The plants grew close enough together to shade the soil underneath them. I noticed that the soil was always moist and cool under that canopy of shade-and peas like that environment.

To my delight, the plants also blocked the sun from reaching any tiny weeds. So, I didn't do any weeding.

The harvest was a big surprise. The wide row pea patch was much more abundant than we expected. Though it was thick, Jan and I had no problem picking all the peas. Actually it was fun because we discovered we could just take stools into the pea patch, sit down and pick a peck of peas before having to move.

Many years of experimenting

That was 30 years ago, and ever since I've planted peas in wide rows. I've planted them in rows from 10 inches wide, all the way up to big blocks 25 feet on each side.

After my first success with wide rows, I experimented with other crops to see if they could be as easy and productive to grow as the wide row peas.

How would beets, onions, and carrots grow in wide rows? How much seed should I use? How wide could I make the rows? How could I weed easily in a row with plants growing so closely together? Before long I found the answers and I was able to double the profits from our little market garden (which grew after a few years to 1 acre in size) just by switching most crops to wide rows. I found that wide rows took a lot less time for weeding and watering. Even though I was growing more food, harvesting took less time. I appreciated this because I had a full-time job and had to make my time in the garden really count.

My wide row method works in all kinds of soil and climates. I know-from experience!

When I travel around the country and give slide shows on gardening, I always hear this question: "Sure looks good, Dick. But will your wide row method work here where we live?"

This is a question that I've been answering "Yes" to for a long time, both in the lecture hall and out in the garden.

I began experimenting with wide row growing at my home market garden in Vermont. Later, as more and more people became interested in my techniques and as I started to do consulting for garden-related companies, I was able to plant and supervise wide row demonstrations in other parts of the country.

I saw for myself in Georgia, in Florida and on the West Coast, that my wide row method not only produced more food in less space but had special benefits for hot-climate gardens. The water, mulch and time-saving aspects of wide rows are especially helpful to southern gardeners.

I've also had the chance to visit many different states-Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Iowa, New York, California, and others for a few days at a time-to help individuals and groups plant successful demonstration gardens featuring wide rows.

I also hear by mail from gardeners all over the country who report they are growing vegetables in wide rows and liking it. These are folks who may have heard a lecture or a radio talk or read about wide rows in my earlier books.

Just how much more productive are wide rows?

Here are typical results from my test plots

Single Row Average Harvest Wide Row 10 ft. long 10 ft. long

Onions 16 inches wide 12 lb. 3 oz. 28 lb. 1 oz.

Carrots 16 inches wide 19 lb. 8 oz. 30 lb.

Lettuce 16 inches wide 13 lb. 8 oz. 32 lb. 12 oz.

Cabbage 20 inches wide 35 lb. 12 oz. 110 lb.

Gardeners from across the country say they love my wide row gardening techniques

Here are some of the letters I've received:

"A few years ago I tried some wide rows in my garden. The results stopped neighbors in their tracks. They couldn't believe how nice those rows looked.

"I started with beans, carrots, and beets, but now I do most of my planting in wide rows. I use half a row where I used to use a whole row.

"I had more produce in 1/4 acre with wide rows than I had in 1/2 acre the other years. It's the most practical way to garden." Henry Carty Elkton, MI 48731

"We studied your wide row planting chart during the winter and changed our whole garden. Last year, thanks to the wide row method, we grew all our own food. We didn't buy any vegetables at all.

"The wide row method is super. I wouldn't garden any other way. I do the rake thinning bit-I drag it across the row just like you say. It works well, but I was afraid to use it at first. It's casual for me now." Richard Kirchner New Fairfield, CT 06810

"I tried your wide row method with lettuce, carrots and radishes. I am very well pleased with the results. I have told people of this better system, but if they don't listen it's their hard luck." Leland Klukkent Prineville, OR 97544

"Wide row gardening as inspired by Dick Raymond is the greatest! My fall garden is started and I am looking forward to fresh vegetables all winter, including kale," cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, green peas, onions, Swiss chard, spinach, turnips, beets, carrots and lettuce." Frederick H. Myers Jr. Augusta, GA 30906

"I'm experimenting this year with your wide row idea. I'm planting peas, carrots, beets and lettuce in 15-inch wide rows. I like the results very much so far." Walter Hinkley, Sr. Sabbattus, ME 12601

"Let me express my thanks for introducing me to wide row planting-it's the only way to fly! I've got most of my friends doing it also and the results have been superb." Don Hollis Rapid City, SD 57701

"I have read a great deal about your wide row planting method in several publications and have used it to a limited extent with great success. This year I plan to use it for cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, in addition to beans, peas, beets, carrots, etc." Robert J. Dolansky Poughkeepsie, NY 04280


Excerpted from Garden Way's Joy of Gardening by Dick Raymond
Copyright © 1982 by Garden Way Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
<%TOC%>Contents Preface....................vii
MY WIDE ROW GARDENING SYSTEM....................1
What do I mean by a wide row?....................2
Wide rows provide a continual harvest....................8
Save hours of weeding and watering....................10
My three big-harvest garden plans....................14
The Salad Garden (6' x 8')....................16
The Summer Garden (30' x 40')....................24
The Eat 'N Store Garden (60' x 80')....................30
Seed varieties....................38
Planting a wide row....................42
Thinning, weeding, and harvesting....................54
Multicrop rows....................60
Block planting....................66
Double and triple rows....................70
GETTING THE SOIL READY....................72
An early start cuts weeding....................78
Soils, pH and fertilizers....................80
Raised bed technique....................92
Terrace garden....................100
Garden in a strip of lawn....................102
STARTING PLANTS....................104
Count backwards for starting dates....................106
Soil, pots and light....................107
Cold frames and hotbeds....................118
Stressless transplanting....................120
Tunnel growing....................126
Meet my friend the radish....................131
STOP WEEDS COLD....................132
Stop annual weeds early....................134
Introducing the In-Row Weeder....................136
My favorite hoes....................138
How to fight perennials and win....................142
The buckwheat story....................144
GARDEN CARE....................148
My favorite mulch....................151
Watering, only two rules....................152
Side-dressing guarantees top nutrition....................156
Quick recipe for home compost....................162
Harvesting for best yields....................166
Succession crops keep garden green....................168
My fall garden....................172
GREEN MANURES....................176
Peas feed soil....................185
Beans are soil's summer nourishment....................187
Buckwheat easy to turn under....................188
Annual ryegrass blankets garden....................190
Planting a green manure crop....................192
Eternal Yield gardens....................194
THE ROOT CELLAR....................198
System to maintain cool temperatures....................199
Root Cellar know-how....................202
A VEGETABLE TREASURY....................204
The Bean Family....................206
The Cabbage Family....................214
The Greens Family....................236
The Onion Family....................248
Potatoes, sweet....................270
The Root Crop Family....................272
The Vine Crop Family....................298
Garden Perennials....................318
Garden pests....................330
Insects and diseases....................336
HANDY GARDEN CHARTS....................346
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Table of Contents



1 My Wide Row Gardening System

2 Getting the Soil Ready

3 Starting Plants

4 Stop Weeds Cold

5 Garden Care

6 Green Manures

7 The Root Cellar

8 A Vegetable Treasury: The Bean Family, The Cabbage Family, Corn, Eggplant, The Greens Family, Okra, The Onion Family, Peanuts, Peppers, Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes, The Root Crop Family, Sunflowers, Tomatoes, The Vine Crop Family, Garden Perennials

9 Handy Garden Charts


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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2001

    I love this gardening book!

    This is one of the easiest step by step books I have found for gardening. Great gardening book for everyone. I like how the author Dick Raymond is so willing to share all his time proven gardening tips!

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