I’ve decided that the time has come — as much as I like the decorative aspects of my current garden design, it has several crucial drawbacks.
This design is based on 6-foot lengths of lumber, so the big square boxes are six feet square, while the triangular beds are all based on six-foot right angles. Here’s the diagram: (Sorry about the photo quality.) While I love the decorative aspects of this design, it has several practical drawbacks. The biggest of which is that I can’t reach across the beds. Once I got chickens, I wound up fencing the outside perimeter with copper pipe and plastic mesh — which also has the added benefit of keeping the dogs out of the garden. They were never much of a problem, but it’s just not sanitary — same with the chickens (also, the chickens will devour all the greens in record time). This means that I only have access to these beds from the inside pathway, and I can’t reach the center of either the big squares or the big triangles. In past years, I’ve planted long-season crops like kales at the back or center of these beds, but in general, it’s a problem. Weeds crop up and I can’t get to them, and harvesting is a pain, and so, I wind up with a considerable amount of my limited square footage that is just enough of a pain in the neck to get to that it goes feral.
So last week I went out with the tape measure, and downloaded some graph paper off the internet (handy!). The perimeter is 25′ x 15′ and I decided I wanted plain rectangular beds. After a bunch of noodling around, and consulting with the Builder, I came up with this plain-but-efficient design. The U-shaped beds are 3.5 feet across. My kitchen table is 4 feet square, and I can’t quite reach from one side to the other, so I went with 3.5 for these beds. The long center bed will be 3 x 15 feet, which leaves me enough room to maneuver a wheelbarrow.
The best part, I gain square footage! The old beds totalled 216 square feet, and the new beds total 251.5. The other thing I find exciting is that the long narrow bed in the center should be perfect for hooping, although since everything is rectangular, it will be a lot easier to use hoops not only for season extension, but for protection against pests in the early part of the season (when the flea beetles seem particularly virulent).
It’s supposed to start warming up this week — temps into the 50s– so I’m hoping the ground will thaw out enough that I can begin tearing things up, turning dirt over, and laying down new paths. Will post photos when the actual work begins.