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Friday, July 2, 2010

Raised Beds & Bath Tubs: The Plan

Now that I've analysed the site, it's time for a plan. Being an artist, planning is not my strong suite, as I follow a rather more serendipitous style. In other words, I'm rather disorganized and compulsive. However, this approach flies in the face of organizized science and as gardening is as much a science as a craft, I decided that a more logical approach was in order. Time to get the graph paper and tape measure out. I also involved Roland at this point since he is the constructor of all things physical.

After much consideration (i.e., arguing) the plan is as follows: Due to a lack of good soil structure, large sheets of cardboard were laid out over the existing grass and raised beds were installed, constructed out of Doug Fir heart wood and Cedar for durability. Frugal minded Roland wanted to use 2 x 12’s, 10’ long and construct 3 4-1/2’ to 5’ x 10’ beds on (to utilize the whole board) behind the claw foot tubs and 2 on the north end of the planting strip along the street. The beds were filled with commercial garden dirt - I mean soil, and amended with organic humus and fertilizer. The south end is for larger edibles such as, rhubarb and artichokes and edible flowers which would do better in large mounds than raised beds. Since Roland is slow to remove refuse from his yard, I proposed we turn the dead Subaru into a chicken coop. He didn’t go along with that idea and promises to remove it at some point. Where the vehicle sits would be a good small contained compost and potting area, perhaps with some cold frames. Currently, there is no exterior access from the lean-to greenhouse, which is currently filled with tools and a dead hot tub. The only access is from the laundry room.

The south facing greenhouse gets upwards of 120 degrees in the summer, even with the open gable ends and decking for the floor, so some sort of ventilation system would need to be installed (Roland wants to rebuild it anyway and the cats like to climb in and bake in it for now).

Roland has a propensity to use old plumbing fixtures as planters with the notion of using them in the house some day (ha!) The two exisitng claw foot tubs would make excellent tubs for potatoes and herbs as they are both deep, have good drainage and the cast iron retains heat. A sink pedistal makes a good plant stand and an antique wall mount sink on a pedestal holds pansies.

A scatter of pots hold annuals, several fruit trees and basil. The sloping banks hold lavender and strawberries as the grass and Black Eye Susan's get ripped out. We've staked the bare spots with wood spikes to keep the poopers out. A cloche was installed on the bed closes to the house for tomatoes and other tenders. So, with all of that, we have a good start on about 150 sq. feet of veg garden space. Next is what to do about the dirt, er soil.

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