A New Garden

Posted on by linnea

Before I left for the wilds of Owens Valley, my roommates and I put in a new garden at our not so new house. The available planting area was much smaller than Hyperion, but better in every other way. South facing, good airflow, no crab grass, somewhat decent soil. Unlimited on-site bamboo: both a bane and a boon. We settled on a wide bed with a “keyhole” design next to the house, and a long, narrower bed stretching the length of the fence. The permaculture concept of a keyhole allows you to maximize planting area by reducing path space- all corners of a deep bed are easily accessed from the keyhole.
We constructed raised beds over eighteen inches high, with primarily reused materials. Soil was built using entirely free resources: city compost, two types of city mulch, well composted manure, and the dirt on site. I did a little test of our blend by transplanting my seedlings into larger pots using the mixture. When all the transplants thrived, I knew that our bed soil would sustain the dense planting we envisioned. The layout was designed to create strong communities: certain plants protecting others from the hot sun, some providing living ground cover, others attracting beneficial insects. Everything delicious and beautiful. I was so happy we were able to get this project in the ground during my last week as an official housemate. I knew that I’d be moving out well before the garden began to produce its summer bounty. The vegetables and herbs planted reflect the desires of those who will care for this garden, it is very much theirs. Even with finals looming and hectic work schedules, all of us came together, making time to play in the garden. Everyone got their hands dirty. There were sunburns and iced tea, music played through the window, friends stopping by to chat.So long Temple House. We had some fun. I can’t wait to see that beautiful garden when I’m back in a few months. Save me a zucchini and make some pickles!

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