What are the mechanics of a garden?
If you could do anything you wanted to do make your garden work well for you, what would you do? I’m thinking in terms of what I will call “mechanics” of the garden. Everything from the hardscape to the hardware. The things that you don’t think much about when they work well, but irritate you when they don’t.
I talking about things like
- drip irrigation
- tool storage
- raised bed design
When gardens get growing pains
Most gardens evolve. Most of us don’t have the time, money, or energy to start out with a perfect design. That doesn’t mean we need to give up. We can find a balance with being content with what we have and still work toward that which we would like.
When we are new to gardening, there are so many things to learn. No matter how much we read about it, there is a working out of our own experience and environment. Even if we hire someone to design things, they will have to try hard to get inside our life to do it well.
Only time and relationship with your garden can guide you. And so, you will always come across new design issues or opportunities. It is best to think of your garden as a system of moving parts. Some are biological, some are structural. It is never going to be static.
What keeps you from enjoying your garden?
Sometimes I only have a general sense of avoiding my garden. It might be for clear-cut reasons, such as fatigue at the end of the day. But other times, if I just think a little about it, I realize it is a mechanical issue. There is a struggle that I am avoiding. Quite possible it is a struggle that I could eliminate if I just thought about it for a minute.
I have been thinking about this an extra lot lately because we are in the midst of purchasing some new property. That would mean designing a garden from scratch, as there is no house or yard on the property. What would I change? What would I keep the same?
I recorded some video of me walking through my garden, talking rather to myself about this. Sometimes I don’t know how much effort to put into it, since it is all pending. Sales have been known to fall through. However, I realized that it was still a good exercise even IF we do end up staying in our current home. It is helping me to evaluate and plan. Below the video, I summarize.
What I will try to duplicate
- 4 by 12 or 16 foot raised beds
- modular cement raised beds, custom designed by my husband
- coordinating my sprinklers and drip irrigation
- well space arched trellises
- faucets near my raised beds
- garden close to and viewed through kitchen window
- majority southern exposure
- open area for squash and pumpkins
What I will try to improve
- chickens closer to garden, for occasional clean-up help
- faucets positioned better
- tools stored along regular pathway
- more depth of some raised beds, particularly for potatoes
- slightly wider pathways
- pathways between raised beds that are smoother and easier to clean dirt off of
- some eastern garden for less heat resistant crops
- away from major lawn game or dog play areas
How to find perfection in spite of imperfection
I expect that I will always be in search of the perfect garden, but I won’t let that stop me from enjoying the perfect moments in the garden I have. These moments can be as diverse as picking a sweet smelling cantaloupe to feeding the chickens a last frozen cabbage.
I will keep making notes and having ideas. I will keep learning and trying new things. Maybe the perfection is in the journey.
Recommended inspirational reading: