Making a Garden 2012
by Jim Kunstler
For several years this past decade, we lived in rented houses where it was not practical to build a garden – given the expense and issue of altering somebody else's property. In the fall of 2011, we bought a place on three acres literally on the edge of Greenwich, Washington County, New York, a main street (former) factory village of about 2,500 people. In March of the snowless winter 2011-2012 I began operations to build a garden.
It was something I had done a couple of times before but this was a little more ambitious. The idea was a central formal potager of raised beds, fenced, with some non-raised beds outside the formal square. I laid it out at 48 feet square with the entrance on a direct axis with the front door of the house.
Here is the garden site in late winter (of a snowless season).
The original front yard needed to be squared off. I called in an excavator to remove one big pine tree and a few small hardwoods. The village is about 800 feet through the woods and down the hill.
Carting away all the debris
Building Raised beds from 2 X 10. Boundaries and paths laid out with stakes and mason's twine.
This was the complete scheme. I filled the raised beds with topsoil and top-dressed them with compost, both purchased and trucked in.
I built a sifter to get rocks out of the excavated soil. Paved path complete.
This is how things were developing by mid-April as seen from an upstairs window.
Two-foot wide borders for culinary and medicinal herbs on three sides of potager array.
Auxilliary side garden for strawberries and squashes.
Early May, the beds have been planted.
Post holes being dug for picket fence around potager.
I decided to plant sunflowers along the rear border this year.
Strawberry plants in side bed.
The picket fence posts are all in. They are locust wood and will resist rot for 50 years or more.
From upstairs window.
Apple and Pears growing up, first year.
This apple is called Liberty
Gooseberry bush with currant bushes behind.
Fence finally going up in October. Posts are locust wood, rails cedar, pickets are plain pine lath.