Edible Garden Evolution

1998 veggie garden

The layout of my vegetable garden year 2 (courtesy of my 1998 garden journal).

Edible Garden Evolution: The “Design Phase”

A new garden does not happen over night; I can testify to this. Books and videos make it seem so; all you need is grid paper, a shovel, and a little elbow grease, right?  Well, sort of.  You also need free time, some money and decisiveness.

Thinking that others might be interested in the process of revamping my edible garden, I will share the project here. Starting at the beginning and working forward in successive posts, I’ll explain where I’m going and how I’m getting there.  My edible garden evolution, if you will.

When I began gardening at my home I had plenty of time to install the landscape. In 1997 I broke ground on an area for vegetables that was sunny, relatively flat and carved from poorly established lawn.  After grading by hand and installing a water hydrant, next came yanking deep-rooted blackberry and salmonberry. Double digging the sandy soil followed: compost added, rocks subtracted.  The physical side of gardening has always been a pleasure for me, not to mention the end-of-day results.

The drawing at the top of this post is from my 1998 garden journal, and shows what I planted in the second year, which is fun to look back on now.  The work paid off with successful harvests and for 6 years I grew annual summer crops primarily, with a few perennials: asparagus (started from seed), rhubarb, and strawberries.   Then we moved out of state for a total of 5 moves over the course of 7 years.

As you can imagine, while the ornamental garden we left behind continued to thrive, the vegetable garden was on hold with a rare mulching of compost if we got to it while home on a brief visit. By the time we moved back permanently in 2010, the asparagus bed was root-bound and unproductive, the rhubarb slug infested and the sparse strawberries clipped down by deer.  The most profound and deleterious change, however, was surrounding trees and shrubs had grown exponentially to render the growing area both smaller and shadier.

Faced with having to remove lawn to claim a sunnier location, build deer fencing, coupled with taking a new full time job, the project remained in what I refer to as “the design phase” for 4 years. By this I mean it was endlessly on my mind, but no palpable progress was made.  You’ve all been there.  You may be in this position with parts of your garden right now.

To be continued….

©Colleen Miko, 2016


About Colleen Miko

Colleen Miko is a certified professional horticulturist with 20 years experience in landscape design who has designed award winning gardens for the NW Flower & Garden Show as well as HGTV’s “Landscaper’s Challenge”. Colleen is freelance garden writer and speaker.
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