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Monday, December 12, 2011

Toni's Blank Slate (A Gardener's Tabula Rasa!)

I have a blank slate. It is a small back yard that I hope to turn into a garden next spring.

Like any normal person, I pulled out the tape measurer and took detailed measurements, along with photographs of all possible growing areas. These steps were followed by digging into my office supplies to find graph paper, determining the dimensions of cinderblocks, using the info to cut out paper blocks (to scale), and using those to prepare a variety of diagrams to determine the most efficient design that will yield the most plants/veggies. Here is what I came up with:

In the midst of all this, I also made a list of heirloom vegetables with notations on numbers of plants I could grow per square foot, which can be frozen, canned, besides being eaten fresh. With that info, I determined how many square feet I need to plant the vegetables I wanted, including room for flowers and herbs. This number I used to determine the most efficient layout of the garden.

Wait . . . Did I actually start this blog with the phrase “like any normal person”?? Disturbing as it sounds, the above is exactly what happened and exactly how I started my last garden. It was not (blessedly) how my garden at the Estes house actually came together.

Scotte and I have moved into our third house. I ‘designed’ gardens in both of our prior homes. The first garden started a little at a time until after 15 years, it had entirely overtaken the horse-shoe shaped, leaving only a narrow pathway for our poor dog to get to a small side yard.

The second garden was much the same. Starting with four 8x4 foot raised beds, this simple plan expanded until my garden encompassed an area approximately 60 x 120 feet. But, again, this did not happen in one season; the garden grew over a ten year period (and there were still areas unfinished when we moved out).

Despite my best intentions and OCD tendencies, in the end my gardens have come into being organically. One or two beds are dug and planted, and then as objects become available (I should be a crow for all my scavenging), beds of all shapes, sizes, and materials seem to sprout up all over the place. The end result is part aesthetic design, part Darwinian experiment (let’s see if this will grow here, or here, or here), and part accident—like life.

If history is destined to repeat itself, I anticipate my new garden will come into being much the same as my old ones have. I try to throw away the graph paper and start with one or two beds in the most prime location of the yard. We’ll see if I can muster that much self-control.

I’ll post pictures and updates as the garden takes shape.

Wishing you bountiful growth and only beneficial bugs.


1 comment:

  1. I am sure your garden will be wonderful and not to mention, bountiful! Keep up the good work! I look forward to eating from the fruits of your labor!