Garden Improvements 2016

Rough plan view of garden and improvements, more or less to scale

We installed the garden in year two on the site, that would have been 2014.  Basically that involved designating a space, installing the five 4 foot by 8 foot raised beds, on contour, and filling those beds with topsoil.  The soil profile on the home-site is 2 inches of topsoil, atop five feet of clay, almost clean enough to throw pots with straight out of the ground, resting on sand, almost as fine as powdered sugar.  In short, it is not great soil as-is for a vegetable garden.  This year so far, we have added about 4 cu. ft. of compost to each of the raised beds; call that a wheel barrow full in each.  Now though, we are getting a bit more ambitious.

There are a few reasons why we are getting more ambitious, and why we are perhaps a little impatient in making our garden more productive.  First of all, our diet has changed pretty radically over the course of the past two years, for reasons I may go into in detail in a later post, but for now suffice it to say that it is for health-related reasons.  This past year we have got a better handle on what we put in our mouths, and we want to grow more of that food ourselves, organically.  Secondly, in partnership with a friend, we are going to raise a few meat chickens this summer and into fall; if allowed, chickens can be hell on a garden.

So, the two biggest improvements to the garden for 2016, are:

  • bigger garden beds (cross-hatched areas in the sketch), not raised in the conventional sense, for the growing of root vegetables, squashes, and other produce I’m sure (Geri does the detail work regarding the plantings), and,
  • fencing to exclude the chickens from the garden during growing season.
Other improvements are:
  • two “herb spirals” (see circular crossed-hatched areas in the sketch), actually these are more like herb concentric circles; think of a round layered wedding cake with three layers, and,
  • the addition of 8 cu. yd. of screened top soil.  Because of the heavy clay soils in situ, and our desire for a productive garden in the near term, I will till the cross-hatched areas, top-dress with the top soil, and re-till.  We will plant into that prepared soil this year, and then continue to build the soil organically.
Before picture, facing east; north is to your left
Yesterday was planning day, to include development of the layout pictured above, and preparing the garden for today’s work.  Today is tilling, top-dressing, and re-tilling day.  Hopefully we will be planting late afternoon into early evening.  The next big undertaking will be the design and installation of the fence.  I will keep you posted.

Thanks for reading, and kind regards,
John

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p.p.s. soon, this blog will be ported over to our new website, and the name of the Facebook page will change to Primal Woods; more on that as the date approaches

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