Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Maurie, Maurie...How Does Your Garden Grow?
It's been a while since I mentioned our Lincoln P-patch plot. I wrote about it back in February. We didn't start work on it until this last weekend. And what work there was to do! It had gotten pretty weedy since the above picture was taken in February, but it will give you an idea as to how much change really happened over the weekend.
I wanted a design that would be really comfortable to work in, one where I could plop my ample tush down in a path and comfortably work in the beds. Wide paths aren't that common in p-patch plots because we only get a little bit of land (ours is 10X11 or so) and people want to use all that space for plants. I have a war with myself over this every time I design a new p-patch. But I know the way I garden. I like to be comfortable, not cramped and that can make a huge difference in how much time I end up wanting to spend at the garden. So with Mark's encouragement we designed a garden plot with ample path space and a layout to be able to let some of my artsy nature have room to play.
We also had a serious slope to deal with and it was essential to build up the garden space, level it out and makes sure that we did a design that would not allow our soil and seeds to wash away down the hill. We ended up putting 12 inch tall boards in on the west and north sides to help with that issue and then went with raised beds with in that, to help even more.
There are four triangular beds one for each of the four directions, something I like because of the tie to some Native American beliefs and lore. Each direction is also connected to one of the elements, earth, air, fire and water. I can have fun with that by incorporating colors and little artistic touches to represent each. This was done in more formal herbal gardens in times past and really the garden plot does have an herb garden look to it, though very few herbs will be grown in it - I am trying to find spots at home to put my herbs where they will be more handy. On the East side we put a bamboo trellis up to discourage the dogs that run down the path above the garden from running straight into a garden bed. When we saw that we would have some taller bamboo support poles on either side we thought it would be fun to put a string of colorful prayer flags between them. Mark picked out the larger sized flags from the garden center and we ended up stringing them along three sides of the garden. East, South and West. It makes the garden really colorful and pleasant, and yes, unique! Here are some pictures of the process:
After those pictures were taken we got to planting some starts. Golden beets edge the perimeter of the south bed (in the above picture that's the one to the right). Red scallions edge the west bed. Broccoli fills the center of the north bed and the edges have two different lettuce starts along them. The east bed has Russian Banana Fingerling potatoes and a few left over scallions. I have some shelling pea starts that will go along the trellis. The rest will be left for some summer crops to be put in after the May Tilth Plant Sale. I have two spots where I plan on putting flowers either in planters or by creating more raised bed spots at the ends of the paths on the NW and SW corners. We still have to figure out what we are going to do for the paths.
We have an 8X4 raised bed in our backyard where it gets at least half a days sunshine or a bit more and we will have more food plants in there. I have pictures of that process but I'll save that for another time and another post. It's sunny outside and I think I may just head over to the garden and get those peas in while the weather is cooperating!
Happy Spring and Gardening to everyone!