What is a High Performance Garden?
What is a High Performance Garden?
A high performance garden is one of the most fun, productive, and organic gardening experiences you will ever have. A high performance garden is the garden that we dream about at night: the vision that dances in our heads as we look at the pretty pictures in the seeds catalogs. You know what I mean; you have had those dreams too. So why does the garden not turn out the way that we envision it? What goes wrong?
Have you ever noticed that some people have the easiest time growing a garden and other people struggle to grow anything? So why is this? Here is the conclusion that I came up with. There are high performance gardens and low performance gardens.
Here is the typical scenario of a low performance garden. You go out in the spring and rototill up some area of the backyard or till the old garden spot, then add some fertilizer. You are very excited and bought a lot of seeds and plants. You put in your seeds extra thick and planted your plants, and then you watered. Some of the seeds come up and some of the plants that you planted lived. You knew that some of the plants would die and the seeds would not germinate so you put in extra, lots extra. You made a really big garden. In about 2 weeks you notice that the weeds are coming up and you go out and hoe the weeds. Then next week you notice that there are more weeds. You are bound and determined to win this year so you spend all day in the garden hoeing the weeds. Your back hurts and you have blisters on your hands but you have won so you feel a sense of satisfaction.
The next week comes and you go way for the weekend and the weeds come up again. The next weekend you have another activity and you miss hoeing. Now the weeds are starting to take over the vegetables. You like the tomatoes and carrots the most so you weed them a little every night but you can’t keep up. So you abandon half of the garden and decide to keep part of it going. Next thing you notice is that the bugs have moved in. The part that you have been weeding is covered in bugs and the plants are looking sick. So you go to the store and buy some bug spray to kill the bugs. Now you have a toxic film covering the vegetables that you want to eat. Things are going just as bad this year as last year. You finally throw up your hands and walk away, letting the weeds and bugs take over the garden for the rest of the season. I hear versions of this story every year from frustrated gardeners.
Correct me if I am wrong but this is the way that most people are approaching their gardens. The results they are getting are dismal and back breaking. It is no wonder that people quit their gardens every year. How about a different scenario? Let’s take a look at a high performance garden scenario.
All high performance gardens start at the kitchen table. The first thing you do is ask yourself what you want to grow. Next figure out how many of each plant you want. Because you are in a high performance garden you will know what the approximate yield will be for your plants so you will know how many to plant. You look up your planting date and know exactly when to start. You can even start early because you know how to protect your plants from the cold and you don’t have to wait to rototill the garden. You have a special prepared soil that your plants love and this soil never needs to be tilled. Your paths go around your grow bed and are created in such a way that you can walk in the garden even after a rain and never get muddy. You feed the soil, plant the garden and give it some mulch. The plants love the soil and all of them do well. You didn’t over plant because you had a good plan. The special soil and the mulch take care of the majority of the weeds so you spend about 5 minutes weeding the garden. You have saved money by not owning a rototiller or a hoe. The first few weeks go by and you water and then weed for 5 minutes if you can find enough weeds. The next week you go away for the weekend and come home to a garden that is still perfectly weeded. The plants are starting to really grow. The next weekend you have other activities and are away from the garden. Monday evening you weed for 5 minutes and the garden looks great. You notice that the plants are growing faster and bigger in the special soil and there are still very few weeds. The mulch is getting thin so you reapply another layer.
Now the plants are producing food and you spend 10 minutes twice a week harvesting the food. You also spend 15 minutes on the weekend putting in some trellises because the plants are getting so big. The garden looks amazing but you are not doing that much. Mostly you are harvesting. The next week you notice that the harvest is getting really big and you are having trouble keeping up with that much food so you start to give food away to the neighbors. The neighbors come over to your house and look at your garden and are amazed at what you have created. The garden produces food all the way until it freezes down in the fall. You clean out the old vines, feed the soil, cover it with mulch and you are ready to start again in the spring. You scratch your head and say “So that is what a high performance garden can do. Wow that was fun! I want to do that again but next year I am going to make it bigger!”
This is the typical story that I hear from people that I have taught to grow in a high performance garden. They always want to make the garden bigger and they are so excited to grow again next year. Is your garden giving you these feelings? If not we can help change that. Gardening is supposed to be fun and productive.
So How Do You Change From A Low Performance Garden To A High Performance Garden?
The difference between the two is an education and a few new skills. The high performance gardener has a different set of skills then the low performance gardener. The high performance gardener has a much easier time and way more fun in the garden because of the new skills. And will spend way less time in the garden and get way more food because they know how to get the performance out of the plants.
So What Criteria Does A High Performance Garden Need To Meet?
Here is the list of criteria that I hold all my gardens too.
1. High performance gardens work in harmony with nature to produce nutrient dense food. To be a high performer the garden should not harm other lives. The use of chemical fertilizer and chemical sprays can be harmful to us, our planet and other life. Therefore, if it does harm, it does not belong in the garden. Mother Nature has gardened successfully for 1000s of years before man invented chemicals.
There is more biology and creatures in the soil of an organic garden than there are creatures above the surface. These tiny organisms called microbes form a symbiotic relationship with the plants and provide the nutrients that the plant needs to create nutrient dense food. The microbes will only thrive in an organic environment. A high performance garden will support the plants so they can live up to their full genetic potential. Not only will they give you volumes of food but the produce will top the charts in nutrients and flavor.
2. High performance garden plants are disease and insect resistant. When you grow plants that are healthy and vibrant and are living up to their full genetic potential they have less disease and are not very appealing to insects. The plants can also be more frost tolerant.
5. High performance gardens require very little input. No more endless soil supplements. A high performance garden will have the microbes in the soil that will feed the plants. All you will need to add is some organic matter and minerals to feed the microbes.
8. High performance gardens are grown in succession plantings. To be a high performance garden the garden beds need to be filled with plants all the time. When one crop is done another crop is planted. This is called succession planting and we plan out the succession that we want in the garden before we ever plant a single seed.
11. High performance gardens create huge yields. A high performance garden will yield $15-20 per square foot over the course of the season if done right. In 128 sq. ft. (4ft x 32 ft.) and with 15 minutes per day you can grow enough food for 2-3 people plus have some extra to give away or preserve for the winter.
3. High performance gardens are virtually weed free. There is never a reason to have weeds in your garden. Some mulch magic and a weekly vigilance of less than 10 minutes, and weeds are a thing of the past. The secret to hardly any weeds is growing your garden in raised beds and knowing how much to plant so you can have a small compact garden.
6. High performance gardens require very few tools. In a high performance garden you never walk on the soil that the plants will grow in and the soil remains soft and workable. No rototiller required. The only tools you may need are a shovel, trowel and a garden hose.
9. High performance gardens extends the growing season. Once you know your zone and plan your garden you will realize that you can grow your garden up to 8 weeks longer with just a few covers and blankets, thus producing more fresh produce.
12. High Performance gardens are fun and enjoyable and are the envy of the neighborhood. A high performance garden will be beautiful, fun, productive and so enjoyable. You will find the neighbors looking over the fence and asking you how you grew such an amazing garden. Your garden will be your pride and joy!
4. High performance gardens require very little time. If your garden is a high performance garden you should be able to produce enough food for 2-3 people all season long with only 15 minutes spent per day in the garden. A well run garden is mostly planting and harvesting.
7. High performance gardens are well planned. Planning your garden before you ever start planting insures it will perform at its highest level. A well planned garden will be fun, easy and will yield higher amounts of food.
10. High performance gardens utilize all the space available. If you are growing in a high performance garden then you will use tight spacing and will grow vertically to save space and reduce weeds.
Just think of what gardening would be like if your garden met all these criteria! Organic, nutrient dense, weed free, little time, little expense, few tools, well planned, space efficient, longer season, huge yields, incredibly beautiful and enjoyable. Wow, what a great garden! How awesome would that feel?
I started out in a low performance garden taught to me by my parents and to them by their parents. I struggled with this for 8 years and realized that this was not going to work for me and I needed a better way. I realized that if I kept doing the same thing I would keep getting the same results. This low performance type gardening system passed down by my family was making me old before my time. I knew that I wanted to feed my family the very best food possible and I knew that it would come from my own hands in my back yard. There had to be a better way to produce incredible homegrown produce. So I began studying, testing and trying new garden methods. Each method had its perks but was always lacking in a criteria that would make my garden system hum along like a high performance car. I then started combining different methods and created some methods of my own. Over the next 20 years I would make gardening more productive and much easier. I began a serious organic vegetable operation and continued to develop my system. I now grow in 20,000 sq. ft. of organic vegetable production with 9,000 sq. ft. of that in greenhouses where we grow year round in the mountains of Colorado. Little did I know that I was creating the High Performance system that you are learning about today. I was just looking for a way to make my farm better and more efficient.
Once I began growing my vegetables in a High Performance garden system my garden became easy. My sister noticed the results I was achieving and started asking for advice on her garden. After I started helping her I realized that I was growing food in a unique way. She suggested that I make a video course to share my successful methods with other people who are struggling in their low performance gardens or for people who have never started. I liked the idea of helping others to grow easy abundant gardens. This is a way for me to give back to society and the earth.
I named my high performance garden system, the Abundance Garden. I felt that the abundance of joy, amazing food and ease was worthy of the name. This is a unique comprehensive garden system that will take anyone from total beginner to garden proficient in their first season. Once the new skills are learned and the garden is built you will be off and running!
If you are ready to have a super easy productive organic garden then you are ready to upgrade your gardening. We have all upgraded our computers, cars and phones now it is time to upgrade our garden systems. The great news is anyone can do this. No prior gardening skills are required. Actually beginner gardeners will learn this system quicker because they don’t have to unlearn old gardening skills first.
Now you know how those people with the awesome gardens are getting the amazing results out of their gardens, they are not using low performance gardening systems they have upgraded to a high performance garden system.
Once you get your skill set down you can expect amazing results. Here are the results we got in our Abundance Garden demonstration garden the first season. We grew a high performance garden that was only 128 sq. ft. It grew 743 pounds of food that was worth $2560 in food savings with only 15 minute per day commitment.
Imagine a savings of $2500 per year off of your grocery bill? What could you do with an extra $2500 per year? In a ten year period that would be $25,000 you could save. And then you could teach your children so they could do the same thing! I love this! If you learn to grow a high performance garden then teach others how to do it then everyone could create a nice savings and increase their health. Just think of what this world would look like if everyone was growing their own food in a high performance garden system.
My dream is to see everyone growing in a high performance garden and getting great food and having a great time. I want to help everyone to learn to grow their garden in a high performance garden. I feel it is the best way we can heal ourselves and this world. You can upgrade to the high performance system I have been learning for the past 28 years. I want you to have the same joy, satisfaction and amazing food that my family experiences.
Just imagine what your garden is going to be like now. Now that you know the secrets to having an easy, fun and productive garden, there is no stopping you. All you need is some education and a few new gardening skills. I don’t want a single soul to miss out on this incredible gardening journey. Gardening can be so much fun and so rewarding once you know how to get your plants to perform!
Are you ready to step up to a high performance garden system? Or are you going to spend another season in a low performance garden? The choice is yours. If you are ready to begin your High Performance Garden, let’s get started!