Raised-bed gardening is a solution to one challenge that North Georgian farmers know well: the red clay right below the surface of their soil. That’s one reason why the Steve and David Gianino of Legacy Gardens conduct a raised bed gardening class at their farm in Augusta.
Clay can be problematic for gardeners because it of its low percolation rate; this means the particles are so packed together that they don’t drain or absorb water quickly. This can cause root rot if the clay stays wet, or compound drought problems.
Raised bed gardening allows you to essentially bring your own soil. You construct a bed above ground, then fill it with soil and whatever amendments you want. “You can create ecosystems.” David Gianino said. “You change the soil into a growing, live thing.” To find out how to build a raised bed garden of your own, check out this tutorial!
The community gardening scene in Augusta is growing with the help of organizations like Augusta Locally Grown and learning farms like the Gianinos’. “We want to pique people’s interest and show them that they can start small.” Gianino said.
The Gianinos are a father-son team. “Together, my father and I have 23 years of gardening experience,” David said. “That’s been a lot of trial and error, and with that comes failure. It can be disheartening at first, but these years of experience have given us a model and a method that produces better results… We want to share that knowledge with other people.”
They run a variety of gardening classes, sometimes in partnership with Augusta Locally Grown, including introductory gardening and composting classes.
The Gianinos also work hard to make sure agricultural knowledge gets passed on to the next generation. Gianino likes to quiz kids on veggie identification, and though they don’t always get it right, “they get to learn that potatoes don’t come from McDonalds—they come from the ground!”
The Gianinos use compost straight from their backyard to amend their nursery mix, which they source from Bricko, a local source of organic plant food. They make their own wooden raised beds, though you can easily purchase pre-made ones. “It pays for itself after the first harvest,” Gianino told me.
Legacy Gardens’ next workshop is September 7th. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.