Sunday, May 22, 2016

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,

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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


  1. Hi. I came by to return the blog visit and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment on mine. You are so right about chickens! I go to any lengths to keep ours out of the garden. They've really created problems in my edible hedgerow, as I'm less successful at keeping them out of that.

    I like your plans and reasons for your garden. Your hard work will certainly pay off.

    1. Many thanks for the visit Leigh! I'm experimenting with chickens, and am also thinking about ducks or Guinea fowl. Thoughts? I am really enjoying your blog; I guess the "in" word for your writing is "accessible." Thank you for sharing.

      This year has been our first of planting outside the garden, Service Berry, Elderberry and Hazelnut, and as of yesterday, we now have peaches, pears and plums to put in the ground. It's very exciting.

      Thanks again Leigh.