If you wanted to set up a small vegie garden in a ‘blank canvas’ garden, what would you do?
I would do the following:
Here is a diagram of how all this might fit together:
Here is why I came up with this design:
|Four not-too-wide equal-size beds surrounded by wide paths (thanks Loes)|
Fruit trees - a good spot for them in this design would be the flowers1 bed, because it is on the South-side of the food garden, so you can let your fruit trees become as high as you like without them creating shading your veggies. I would train (espalier) them along wires so they become a flat shape parallel to the fence.
A passion fruit or grape - they require a warm sunny spot. An ideal spot for this might be the north facing wall of the shed. The shed would provide the warmth.
Chooks - a good area for them would be adjacent to your food garden on the right or left, so part of the food garden fence doubles up as chook fence. You could plant (more) fruit trees in the chook pen (initially protect them with mesh), if you don’t put them too close to the fence with the food garden (to prevent shade). The chooks will keep the soil below the fruit trees largely weed-free, eat bugs and fallen rotting fruit and the trees will love the manure.
|Unusual looking chooks - you get the idea (thanks Rosalie)|
|student desk + old sink + tap = work area + water collection|
How to go about a design that suits your garden?
Over a period of time observe ……
Your kitchen – food gardens are sometimes called ‘kitchen gardens’. A food garden out of sight far away from the kitchen at the end of the garden, is far from ideal.
Wet and dry spots – are there spots in your garden that are always wet or dry?
Soil – dig some test holes here and there. Are there spots with good, easy to dig soil?
Water – do you need to get an outside tap installed in a convenient spot?
Your front garden – Don’t overlook it! In a Tasmanian suburb where pristine front gardens are the norm one family showed us how ornamental and productive a front-yard food garden can be.
|A front-yard food garden - on the left espaliered fruit trees along the street (thanks Avril and Brett)|
In Kitchen Gardens of Australia by Kate Herd (Penguin Books) I found the sentence:
It is time for a new kind of suburban garden, one that feeds us body and soul, and is sustainable in these times of climate change, irregular rain and temperatures.
I hope this blog post will help that cause!