Friday, January 16, 2009

My Garden

I realized recently that I have never adequately described my garden on here, so I thought it was about time I did. I live on less than 1/5 of an acre. Part of that includes a house and a bunch of (very) tall shade trees. Much of the remainder is unsuitable for cultivation due to a steep slope. When I moved here I wasn’t exactly thinking about gardening. ;-)

My garden beds are mostly in the back, save for a few herbs in the front. I garden in raised beds. That is pretty much the only option I have to prevent erosion as much of the yard slopes gently. The beds are constructed or untreated timber and are each four feet wide. Most of them are 8 feet long, save for one that is 24 feet. I’ve been intending to extend the others but it has not happened yet. The beds were originally filled with a mixture of topsoil and humus, and that has since been amended with fertilizer, manure, etc. I prepared the beds by two different methods. The first was a variation on the double-dig method first promoted by Ecology Action. In this method, before I ever put the beds themselves down, I dug up the sod and loosened the soil down to a depth of about eight inches with my garden fork and spade. The second method was a much simpler (and less time consuming) method I read about in another book. In this method, I left the originally sod in place, but put down cardboard and newspaper before building and filling the beds. The difference in productivity was obvious from the very first season –the former method outdid the latter by almost 2 to 1 in health of the plants and yield. The original soil was good old Alabama clay. It’s fertile, but thick and hard to work with. And stony. I like to say I dug my weight in rocks out of the beds I double dug and that is probably about accurate. I was lucky enough to have a neutral pH so I did not need to add anything to alter it.

What else do I have? Two fruit trees. One is a Golden Delicious apple tree. It has yet to bear and may not, as it’s infected with cedar apple rust from a cedar tree my neighbors planted. The other is a Belle of Georgia peach tree. I got my first peach from it last year, and that was by far the best peach I have ever eaten. I also have some blackberry bushes and a few flower beds. All told, I have less than one-fifth of my area under cultivation (that is about 4% of an acre) and I am able to dramatically cut my food bill because of it. I am about at the limit of expansion possibilities here because of the slope.

So that’s my garden.



Blogger Jacques de Beaufort said...

heard it was really cold in the Old South today..

1/16/2009 5:43 PM  
Blogger SoapBoxTech said...

Do you have any like-minded neighbors? Maybe you could set up some kind of co-op year round greenhouse.

1/19/2009 7:02 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home