CCE-Schuyler Community Gardens 2009
squash, raised beds
Image by Cathy Barnes

Growing Techniques

Raised beds can be used to improve soil drainage, provide healthy growing medium in situations of soil contamination or very poor soil, or to elevate growing beds for accessibility. Learn more with the Cornell Gardening Raised Bed Fact Sheet or ACGA’s Basic Raised Bed Info Sheet.

Sheet mulching can be used to create vegetable beds, perennial beds or sustainable landscaping. It’s a no-dig method that focuses on adding large quantities of organic material in layers to mimic a natural system. If you have access to appropriate materials, it can be a low-cost way to establish new beds. See Introduction to Permaculture Sheet Mulching.

High Tunnels are unheated structures covered with plastic that are tall enough to walk through and to accommodate trellised crops such as tomatoes or cucumbers. In addition to providing a warmer growing climate, they can be covered with shade cloth to provide cooler summer temperatures for crops like lettuce, and also offer protection from extreme weather, such as high winds or hail, and from certain diseases and pests. The terms “high tunnel” and “hoop house” are often used interchangeably. There are many excellent resources online for educators, growers and farmers, including the Michigan State University Hoophouse website, Cornell’s High Tunnel website and

Greenhouses come in a wide variety of styles, shapes and sizes and may be unheated, but often include heating systems, electricity and/or watering systems. For tips and information on gardening in greenhouses, check out Cornell’s Greenhouse Horticulture page or University of Maryland Extension’s Planning a Home Greenhouse.

Companion planting is a strategy for locating particular plants together that will create a benefit for at least one of the plant species, for example pest deterrence or nitrogen fixing. Learn more here.

Last updated May 12, 2023