I have gardened for most of my life. It's something I love and something I teach my children to love. Right now, the kids (especially Emery) do a lot of the work in the garden. But when I was designing my dream garden, I wanted to make sure that I would be able to maintain it myself, even after the children have grown. Having the garden in the proper location was important. But I also need the garden to be convenient to use.
When designing the garden, we considered the following convenience factors:
Length of the beds. Right now we have a total of ten garden beds. I did not want the beds to be too long so that it took a while to walk around them. I also didn't want them to be too short, because it is more economical to build longer beds. We ended up with several different sizes ranging from 12 feet to 28 feet long.
Width of the garden beds. Again, the wider the beds, the more economical they are to build, but anything exceeding four feet becomes really difficult to reach into the center. So we made sure to keep the dirt portion at no more than 4 feet wide.
Height of the garden beds. Raised beds are so much easier on your back. And if I feel that way at my age, I know it will only become more pronounced as I get older. Because we built the garden on a sloping hillside, the beds are taller on one side than the other. If I had more money, I would have made the beds another row of bricks taller, but in a money-saving effort, they are where they are and I'm pretty happy with them. I also figure that I can always build them up another row in the future if my back demands the change.
Proximity to the Chickens. I wanted the chickens to be close to the garden for two reasons. First, because we throw our weeds and old plants and bad vegetables to the chickens. So having them close is convenient.
But even more importantly, we designed the chicken run to extend around the garden so that the chickens could keep down the bugs. Having the chickens near makes a big difference in how many pests we experience in the garden.
To get the chickens into the orchard and on the back side of the garden, we had to create a tunnel under the garden walkway. I admit I was a little nervous about the chickens being willing to use it, but they do so without any difficulty or hesitation.
Proximity to the Rabbits. Having the garden close to the rabbits was also essential because like the chickens, we share a lot of our produce with the rabbits. But even more important is the proximity to their manure. The rabbit manure for the garden is the main reason that we have rabbits. So having it close is a lot more convenient.
Water Access. The other main convenience factor was an easy way to water the garden. I'll be discussing that in detail in a future post.
Tomorrow I will share how the garden was actually constructed.