I thought I might keep a running diary of this year’s garden. There are some rather large changes underway so this is an easy way to show you what’s happening and explain why I’m doing it all.
Mayo and I have been rethinking what gardening means to us and what it means particularly when we’re involved in so many other creative pursuits.
The first thing that’s clear is it needs to shrink.
The hard reality is we want our gardens to be fun. We don’t want to feel like we have to go out and weed.
We want to spend time in the garden but we don’t want it all hard slugging. Think time to smell the flowers rather than time to build the darn things. And yes, we can’t do it all.
Warning: Some of you may cringe a bit when you see what we’re doing.
But remember a) we’re serious about shrinking the garden and b) that takes making difficult decisions.
You May Remember Our Vegetable Garden
I Began The Garden Teardown in Fall 2016
Last fall, I tore down the sidewalls and began the process of feathering out the edges.
Spring 2017 has it looking like this (April 2/17)
The weedy patch at the front is a small holding bed for some shrub starters and you can just see a few white pots (peony seeds) plunged in the ground behind the weedy patch. This will be cleaned out this spring.
Note the edges are pretty well feathered out so we can mow the sides.
Mayo will be identifying how big she wants the vegetable garden. I’ll build it for her and then grass the rest of easy maintenance.
Last Year’s Project
You may recall I spent a great deal of last summer building the stone walkway into the house. Good news, none of the rock decided to leave so they’re all still there (and level!) this spring.
This year I’ll begin the process of planting some of the cracks and allowing some plants to creep out into that walkway to “soften” up the edges.
The front bed to the right is now where all sunshine annual plant tests will be done. That way, I can see them every day as I walk out the door.
This bed is now considered “finished” so it will become home to a wider variety of perennial plants.
Summer 17’s Construction Projects
The first project is to get Mayo’s vegetable garden built and landscaped. That pretty much speaks for itself. And (frankly) this is project number one on the gardening list. (When momma ain’t happy….,)
The second project is install a drip irrigation system. I started writing about this for the Premium members and intend to finish it off this year with practical examples.
The third project is the dry stone wall around the garden. The picture below was taken April 2 and what you see is what’s sitting there from 2016. My objective is to use up all the stone on the pile and get a short wall right around the garden (if possible). I’ll then know how much stone to order to complete the wall to it’s designed height and shape.
And with the wall started around the garden, I can begin adding soil to this shallow area and improving it while I build the walls higher.
Explanation to the above. I need to add soil because it’s very shallow and with a rock wall of 8-12 inches tall around the garden, I can easily use my tractor to haul and dump the soil. If I built the wall to its full height and then began adding soil, I’d have to use the tractor over a 3-4-foot wall and while this is possible, it’s far easier and safer over an 8-inch wall.
If you’re interested in dry stone walling (or taking a beginner course) you may want to check out Dry Stone Canada or Dry Stone Conservancy in the U.S. You may find other resources in your province or state.
Thoughts On Crossing The Starting Line for 2017
It’s really a great feeling to look at the right side of the garden entrance and understand this “works.” Filling it with plants will make a massive difference to the way the house looks.
I’m excited to be back working with dry stone. There’s something quite satisfying about working with stone and I’ll have to think about this and get back to you.
I’m delighted to share what we’re doing in pictures and you can expect regular updates and reports on the construction and plants as the summer progresses.