Friday, March 7, 2008

Kitchen Garden Design

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The information below --I found on-line at eHow and the above book -- The Four-Square: A Classic Kitchen Garden Design, by John D. Simpson - were the two very helpful tools in organizing the plans for my new kitchen garden.

Work begins this weekend and I can hardly wait!!
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Visualize Your Dream Garden
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Step 1:
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Study your intended planting area. How much sun does it get? Most vegetables and herbs and many flowers perform their best when they get at least 10 hours a day of sun (what the garden books describe as 'full sun'). Some, however, will tolerate partial sun - six hours a day - though they may not produce as abundantly.
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Step 2:
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Decide what purpose your garden will serve. Do you want a source of food and flowers for a large family and a steady stream of guests? Or for two, with a little extra for occasional visitors?
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Step 3:
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Do some research. Read some of the many books and magazines devoted to beautiful food gardens and study the pictures. Note the ones that appeal to you and why. Or, visit a botanical garden or horticulture school that has an ornamental kitchen garden - many do these days. Call first before heading out; if they don't have one, they can probably steer you to one that's close by.
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Step 4:
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Think realistically about how much time you want to spend tending your garden. Decide on a size you think you can handle comfortably, then reduce it by a third. (You can always enlarge it later.)
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Step 5:
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Decide on the plants you want to grow. Again, books and a few rounds of garden touring will help you decide. Think particularly in terms of heirloom plants. These older, often ancient, varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs are almost always more flavorful than modern hybrids and often more colorful as well; the flowers are usually more fragrant, too.
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Plunge In
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Step 1:
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Determine the garden design (or combination of several designs) that appeals to you, and sketch its outlines on paper. You needn't draw it to scale; simply note the dimensions.
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Step 2:
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Remove any sod covering and prepare the site for planting.
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Step 3:
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'Draw' your design on your planting site, next, using all-purpose flour. Sizes and shapes look different on the ground than they do on paper, so play with the spaces until you're happy with them (just brush away the flour and start over).
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Step 4:
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Mark the outlines you like in more lasting form. If your design consists primarily of straight lines, it's easy to use stakes and twine to indicate the edges of your beds; for curves and free form shapes, use a spade or lawn-edging tool to mark the ground.
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Step 5:
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Erect any fences, walls or trellises, and lay out paths - whether of brick, sod or gravel - before you plant.

5 comments:

Sasha said...

Please show pics of it along the way so we can see your progress!
Nothing is more therapeutic for me than working in the dirt. Even watering my outdoor potted plants somehow nourishes my soul.
Enjoy your time outside this weekend.
Love,
Sasha

Sabina said...

Hi Sasha,

You'll have to check our family website for those pictures.

We've got a busy weekend ahead - early Sat. we are seeing Disney Princess Wishes On Ice (the kids can hardly wait) and then onto laying down the bones - as they say - of the garden. We are also having a piano delivered (for Ben).

How is your new home coming and how are your two cuties doing?

Love you,
Sabina ~

brad said...

That is a good plan you've outlined. I only did some of that, so I guess I didn't design it all that well. The flour layout thing is smart.

Step 2 of removing the covering, is not a quick step as you probably know from your removal of the concrete.

We have been working on removing most of the sod from our (small) front yard. The removed sod adds up quickly.

Sabina said...

Brad - I must admit that I just point and my husband does most of the hard labor.

You are so right about things adding up quickly. It took us more than a few months worth of continous labor to remove and haul away all that concrete!!

My original design did not work as well as I thought. That flour idea saved me a lot of time!!

Thanks for commenting.

notsocrafty.com said...

All of this is great advice. Happy Gardening.

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