To make some garden-like use of the long, cold months I’ve slowly been doing a remodel on my vegetable/fruit garden.
It’s been growing steadily over the past few years without a master plan. I built a couple of beds one year, another the next, and so on, until eventually there were ten of them, and they weren’t exactly perfectly aligned.
After a while, the haphazard-ness of it began to get to me–whatever that bone is in the brain that likes things to be balanced and straight started to throb whenever I went into the garden, and I wanted more order.
I got out a few stakes and and some twine (it was Lily Sugar ‘n Cream yarn–I couldn’t find string and I wasn’t going to let the mood pass) and staked out straight lines. I got the beds more or less parallel to the side of the house, the paths between beds the same width, and moved and shifted everything around.
It was a pain, but in the end I’m glad I did it. There are still a couple of beds that can’t be moved yet because their contents are too precious (salad greens), but as soon as I can they’re going into their new proper places.
After that was done, I built a fence around two sides of the perimeter (the other two sides are flanked by the house and driveway). It was a relief for that brain bone to have a boundary, a resting place for the eye, a punctuation mark.
And a gardener has to have a place to sit and soak it all in, or else collapse with exhaustion. Seating is also a good way to isolate people from the herd so you can bore them with details of the six different types of cucumber you planted. So I built a bench and a couple of chairs over the winter.
If you’re planning to start an edible garden, I suggest you learn from my mistakes and start with more of a master plan than I did. Even if you’re starting small and adding on over the years, think about alignment and where you will expand. I recommend that you map out the available area (in my case the area that receives enough sun to grow food) and sketch in your ultimate fantasy garden. That way, as you phase in additions, everything can be in the place you want it to be.
Think about the little extras like seating and tables and where they will be most useful, even if you don’t have any yet.
So as you dream this Spring about what you want to grow, dream too about where it will all go. Free online garden planning tools are everywhere, (here’s one, registration required), although I’m still a paper and pencil girl.
I can’t think of a nicer way to spend a rainy March weekend.