Spring has sprung and with it, the pent up energy to garden has been unleashed in our back yard.
It was a long and dreary winter spent remodeling our house, traveling away from home, and watching the weeds slowly take over our yard, and winter rains (yay! Rain in California) has caused our raised beds crumble away (although the green of the weeds at least was pretty.) I haven’t been able to stop dreaming about getting our garden in shape. But it’s official spring and it’s planting season with the promise of warm weather to come – we’re past the time change it’s been amazing to have just more day to my day after work. Raise your hands if you agree that one of the worst things about winter is leaving in the morning for work in the dark, and returning home in the dark!
While browsing Pinterest and blogs I came across this article (http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/edible-landscaping-zmaz09djzraw.aspx) about how much produce could be grown in a fairly small area – 100 square feet (in Northern California, same region as me). Our patio isn’t really that big – I live in a townhouse in a suburban area so no chicken homesteading (don’t think the HOA would go for that) or sprawling garden beds for me. But I feel pretty lucky to have space at all verses a micro-balcony or only a sunny windowsill to work with. So when my husband asked me to design how I’d like our new garden beds to look (I’d asked for garden boxes to help keep our space tidy) I was looking for a way to get about 100 square feet just as a number to aim for. Plus, #100sqfootgarden makes a nicer hashtag than #approximately100sqfootgardenasfarasIcantell.
Here’s the design I came up with; 3 raised beds at 3’ X 7.5 feet perpendicular to a longer raised bed running along our fence. To increase growing area, we’ll go vertical along the fence and along one wall, where I’ve sketched in vertical garden pockets. The raised beds will not only keep rows tidy but allow us to easily add in compost and purchased soil to amend what we have. The deeper long bed will retain more moisture to sustain plants grown vertically that get almost TOO much sun.
Plan view and elevation view. In another lifetime I studied landscape architecture although I remember nothing of it now, hardly. That’s a coffee cup stain on the plan view for greater authenticity.
My dear and darling husband spent two weekends building these beautiful redwood beds to fulfill my (our) gardening dreams! (I love him partially because of his can-do attitude, and I should mention how grateful we are to have received some power tools as wedding gifts. And how grateful I am he likes to use power tools; I consider myself not a completely incapable woman but power saws for some reason scare the bejeesus out of me.) The 3 beds are 6” tall and the back one is 18” tall.
Sun loving tomatoes and peppers will go along a south facing side; lettuces and deep leafy greens in the shadier area (our lettuces just kept bolting last year). Cucumbers, squash, and maybe melons will be grown vertically along the fence. I’m really excited to try greens and root vegetables in vertical pockets along the shade to partially shady wall. How hilarious would it be to have carrots and beets grown along a wall? Areas of deep shade will get decorative succulents. Since the photo was taken we’ve removed that over-grown kale from two seasons ago and sadly neglected over the last year. We also got some lovely chard transplants from my in-laws so there was some instant greenery in there, hooray! (Starting from seed, which we are doing, is satisfying but just soooo sloooow.
Every year I start off the growing season with deep and unbridled optimism but this year in particular I think we’re going to get a great garden going. I imagine with these beautiful beds our vegetables will surely be inspired to thrive!
What kind of garden dreams are you all thinking of as we move from winter to spring? Anyone else have 100 Square foot Gardens you’ll be working on this year?