Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Garden layout and design: getting started

Since reading Companion Planting, we've been re-thinking the layout of our garden and how best to use the small space we have, and how to make the most of Canberra's four seasons, beginning with Autumn!

Below is the current layout of our backyard where we have planted vegies along with managing the existing shrubs and trees.

The northerly aspect provides a good deal of heat and light to bed #1, which backs up against the northern garage wall. We have red onion seedlings here (about 2 weeks in now). The opposite bed, #2 sits along our neighbour's fence and receives some late sun and is partially shaded by the fence for much of the day. Here we have spuds, garlic, broccolli, caulflower, silverbeet (all about 2 weeks old), and herbs (oregano, french tarragon, sage, crawling thyme), which sit under the bay tree (which sits in the northeast corner of the backyard).

In the northwest corner on the back fence sits our compost pile.

Beds #3 and #4 are pretty much the same bed, but we've separated them because bed #3 has more established plants like galangal, lemongrass, chillies (jalepeno and habanero), and a cherry capsicum.

Bed #4 sits under the shade of a huge native pine (the name of which escapes me right now) and has not had much use it seems, as the soil there is dry and water resistant. We've been building this bed up with pea straw, compost, worm castings, fish & seaweed emulsion, and mulch from other areas of our garden. We have planted some broad beans there (about 10 days ago), sowing them directly into the ground.

We weren't too sure what would work under the pine (southwest side of the backyard), so we'll see how the broad beans go. Even is they don't do too well, they should fix some nitrogen back into the soil! Beds #3 and #4 get late sun, before being shaded again later as the sun sets. these beds sit alongside our fenceline on the street-side of the block (southside).

We may try a 3-4 year planting cycle, so that the future crop benefits from the previous crop in what it leaves in the soil.

Next: ideas on companion plants for a 3-4 year planting cycle!

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