My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece. ~ Claude Monet
My main garden consists of two raised beds. The first bed is 17’x17’ and defined by railroad cross-ties. It was put in by the previous owner. When originally established, the garden was placed in the perfect location. As the years passed, the trees flourished and shaded this bed. Before we could start much of anything this spring, Brad and I had several trees removed and a few others trimmed. We love having the large trees in our yard, but we were willing to sacrifice a few in order to make the garden area work.
The soil in the bed was good but not great. I removed the top several inches, tilled the remaining, and then added new soil that is a blend of top soil, compost, and mulch. In the lower half of the photo, cucumbers are to the left, bell peppers and tomatoes are in the middle, and peas are to the right. The upper portion is a variety of everything – carrot, onion, lettuce, radish, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.
For the second bed, I used untreated plywood (which I stained in an effort to make it last longer) and a neat brick invention from Home Depot to form another 13’x17’ garden. The soil here is all new, and is the same top soil/compost/mulch blend I used to supplement the first bed. Across the bottom of the photo are my pumpkins, watermelon, cantaloups, and winter squash. The rows in the upper portion of the photo are corn (left) and beans (right). At the very top of the photo is two row of potatoes.
Currently, there is a dirt path surrounding both garden beds. This fall/winter I will add pea gravel to the walkways, but I really don’t have the time or energy to do that now! Between the two beds is a wooden post supporting a water faucet that ties into the main house. This contraption was put in by the previous owner and is a wonderfully convenient way to water the garden.
The garden sits on the southern border of our property, and so the southern side has a chain link fence that separates our yard from that of the neighbors. We live in a somewhat rural area with lots of deer and other wildlife. Plus, we have two yellow labs that are not as well behaved as I would like! This combined scenario required me to fence the entire garden area. I developed the overall game plan for a 25’x48′ enclosure, but Cooper served as the foreman in getting this project started when he was home in March. He rented an auger and dug the holes for the posts. We screwed 2x4s on the top and bottom, running between each post. And then we hung what I call ‘horse fence’ within each section. We had to tackle one section at a time (instead of running a continuous line of fence) because our yard sits on a slope. We didn’t have time to finish every little detail while Cooper was home so I continue to work on the fence when I can. I have added chicken wire and rocks to sections at the bottom of the fence in order to block rabbits. I’ve also added a door/gate on the east side. The whole thing probably doesn’t even come close to the precision my father would have demanded, but I am thrilled with the result. Besides, I can always use garden trinkets to hide the obvious construction flaws.
As I mentioned in the May Day blog post, I’ve placed hanging baskets on the exterior of three garden posts. I can imagine that eventually every post will have a hanging basket. I’ve also hung a couple of different pots on the chain link fence. These hold some of my herbs – rosemary, Greek and Italian oregano, peppermint and chocolate mint, and thyme. Again, I can imagine that in years to come the entire length of fence will feature various herbs and flowers in a variety of pots. In the meantime, I have also added a few pots on the southwest corner. These contain cilantro, a hot & spicy oregano, and a Cuban oregano. In the southeast corner I’ve placed a pot given to me by Delaney for Mother’s Day. Soon she will place a butterfly bush in it for me.
This is the basic garden structure. If you’re looking for me on the weekends, or after 6pm on weekdays, this is probably where you will find me. I’ll be tending to my plants, weeding, watering, and listening to my new ‘bloom box’ – my Mother’s Day present from Grayson and Cooper. Yes, it is a waterproof Bluetooth speaker spaced strategically in the middle of a decorative metal flower. Ingenious!