I suppose it's human nature to second guess oneself and lately I've been wondering if the vegetable garden layout I decided to make was designed the best way. It's very functional and all the vegetables have been growing wonderfully (until a couple pests came along, but that isn't related to the garden's layout.) Aesthetically the layout works well and there is plenty of space for our little vegetable crop, but there are a few things that could be tweaked.
Right now the area inside the rabbit fence is grass. Having grass inside the garden creates a small problem: it's inconvenient to mow around the irregular shapes. Mowing near the fence is difficult since the mower gets caught in the fencing. Around the beds I just can't get close enough to get all the grass and either a trimmer or a set of shears is needed to make the area look good. It might have been made easier if I had just done simple rectangular beds. My solution (that I haven't gotten to yet) is to take cardboard and lay it down over the grass then mulch. If I have mulch there the mowing won't be necessary. I would eventually like to have a steppable ground cover like elfin thyme covering the mulched areas. I've considered a gravel based mulch but I've heard some people swear against. Please don't swear as this is a family friendly blog but what do you think?
The beds are almost four feet across which makes planting in the center hard to reach. Planting in two rows should work better for next year. A three foot width would probably have worked well but I like having the extra space.
I still have some work to do. The outside perennial bed isn't ready yet. The left side is started and has been planted rather haphazardly. A mixture of "whatever I didn't have a spot for" seems to find the ring. The one ring. The one to hold them all and in the garden bind them. OK that's enough channeling my inner Tolkien. So far I only have one butterfly bush planted there. It's the one in the lower left that came from a cutting I made over the winter. I know he's glad to be planted. Daylilies, sunflowers, a canna lily, zinnias, a scarlet runner bean, and some cosmos have all found a home in the ring. Hodgepodge doesn't even begin to describe it. Eventually I'll move those plants into a better home, but for now the ring is their home.
I need to fashion a gate for each side. Right now I have creatively (or really, cheaply) allowed the fencing to overlap so it will form a flexible gate at each end. It seems to work since I haven't had any bunny attacks in the vegetable garden. Two wooden picket fence-like gates are on the agenda, just somewhere toward the bottom this season's list.
I would like to expand the ring a couple feet outward but that will have to wait for now. It's getting hot in Tennessee and planting might have to wait a while.
There's always too much to do isn't there?
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Saturday, June 28, 2008
My Vegetable Garden Layout Revisited
Dave is the author of Growing The Home Garden and runs a small nursery business growing vegetables and herbs for local customers in Spring Hill, TN. (Blue Shed Gardens or FB page). He has written for gardening publications, Troy-Bilt, and Lowe's and is available for garden consultations. Dave gardens organically, is a Real Estate agent, and when he isn't writing, collecting seeds, or propagating plants he's parenting his 4 children as a stay at home dad.