My moveable feast is finally at rest - maybeOne of my projects for the spring is to make a new vegetable garden. I should be pretty good at it by now. This is the third one I’ve made since moving to Three Cedar Farm. Unfortunately I can’t say that the two were complete successes, but hopefully the third time is the charm.
By: Ted Beverly, columnist, River Falls Journal
One of my projects for the spring is to make a new vegetable garden. I should be pretty good at it by now. This is the third one I’ve made since moving to Three Cedar Farm. Unfortunately I can’t say that the two were complete successes, but hopefully the third time is the charm.
The first vegetable garden was right in the middle of the backyard. It had an herb garden in the center and small beds radiating out, like spokes of a wheel.
Each bed was slightly mounded, with wood mulch paths between them. Pretty quickly problems became apparent: The beds were too small; the paths and the sloping sides of the beds became havens for weeds.
The general “weediness” just exacerbated the real problem: The vegetable garden was in too prime of a spot. I wanted to be able to relax without seeing any work waiting to do. And in vegetable gardens there is always work.
So it was out with the vegetables; in with a simple pond.
The second vegetable garden was at the south end of the yard, along the horse pasture. Remembering my problems with all the little beds, this garden was only two big beds, each a quarter circle. Each bed was then divided up in springtime for tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, lettuce and the rest.
I planted a half circle of hedging along the north side and edged the rest with wood boards in an effort to try and keep it all contained and organized.
The garden had a pretty good run before it was time to move on, but eventually some inherent weakness became clear. First, the half circle layout worked with the rest of the garden, but it made organizing the straight rows of vegetables tricky.
Next the big beds were an improvement, but vegetables ended up sort blending into each other.
Finally, the garden ended up being too small for everything I wanted to grow.
So I knew what was wrong, but solving it wasn’t so easy. There wasn’t any other place in the yard with more space, plenty of sun and a level grade.
I started looking with an acquiring eye at the horse pasture. The horses had the better part of four acres. I thought they wouldn’t begrudge me a small section.
So last fall we laid a new fence and pulled up the old one. This spring I moved hedges back and straightened it out.
Last weekend I went out to a friend’s house that was putting in a new deck. My part of the project was to pull off the old deck boards, boards that we’ll use to make raised beds for the new garden.
Right now I think each bed will be about four feet by 10 feet, raised six inches above the paths. Hopefully we’ll get about a dozen beds from the old deck, that’d be about 50-square feet of vegetables.
There are still lots of details to be figured out: What are the paths going to be made of? How are we going to fill the raised beds?
Gradually the answers will come, and hopefully so will the tomatoes and the rest of my “moveable feast.”
To do in the garden:
Keep ahead of the weeds
Plant cold tolerant annuals
Overseed thin areas in the lawn