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When I wrote my second book, Groundbreaking Food Gardens, I talked to food gardeners from across North America and the UK. I asked them about their gardens – design, layout, materials – and what they like to grow – veggies, fruits, herbs, pollinator plants and so on. As I gathered their garden stories, a funny thing happened – I got inspired! And, I began to look at my own garden with different eyes, realizing that I was ready for a change. It took some time to work out a new vegetable garden design that would incorporate all the elements I wanted to include, but the final plan is now ready and just a few days ago, the ‘big dig’ began!
My vegetable garden design:
I’m pretty lucky with my site – it’s a sheltered, slightly south-facing slope. It warms up early in the spring and resists frost for a few weeks past our average frost date. However, the trees that protect my garden from the wind have been growing rather quickly, resulting in increasing shade for the beds at the back of the plot. Full sun is a basic necessity for most crops and therefore a few of these trees had to go. That was step one. Step two began when contractor Jason Mclellan arrived with his trusty (brand new) tractor.
At this point, site preparation took center stage. Jason cleared out the old garden, carefully placing the dark, wonderfully rich soil to the side. This will be used to fill the new raised beds. He then carved out the new measurements (good-bye lawn!), levelled the the area, and built a low stone retaining wall to prevent soil erosion.
Now the fun begins – it’s time to build the beds! I’ve been debating the various types of wood for the raised structures, but we have decided to go with local, untreated hemlock. In the past, this is what I’ve used for my cold frames. It’s rot resistant, reasonably priced, and ages well. My goal is to build the beds 18 inches tall using three 6 inch by 6 inch pieces of lumber. If all goes according to plan, the garden will be ready to plant by late April. Fingers crossed!
Stay tuned to Savvy Gardening to follow the progress of my ‘big dig’!
Do you have any changes planned for your garden this year?