It’s barely August and I’m already planning next year’s garden. The current garden space is where the original farm house was. Then an Amish family bought the farm and built a ‘Dawdy’ (spelling varies) house for the grandparents, right behind the old house. Taxes went up for a property with two houses so they connected the two with a series of mud/utility rooms with roof lines that went every which way. Tax problem solved but not ours. The original barn was struck by lightning and burned to the ground, the fire was so hot the house shingles were damaged. But did anyone replace the roof? Oh no! The shingles for all the additions overlapped in the opposite direction of what common sense tells you. And the melting shingles didn’t help at keeping the old house watertight. Someone put a layer of visqueen up to channel the rivers of water that came in during a heavy rain into a drain.
So we now have an old house with a non-working furnace, a leaky roof that has washed paint off the walls, sagging floor joists and a shared septic tank, sitting on top of the house we live in. We fixed all that by tearing down the old house.
Where to put my garden? How about that nice square where the old house stood that’s been nicely filled in with dirt? Close to run out and grab something for dinner, no long hose needed to water from the cistern, perfect!
Until the fill dirt dried out, then I couldn’t hack it with a shovel. Things grew but I have no idea how. Lots and lots of mulch from the barn fixed the dirt. Lots. Layers half a foot deep, every year for 8 years have made the soil workable all summer. It isn’t picture perfect black loam but it’s getting there.
But now the shade trees in the yard are starting to shade the garden part of the day, and I’d like to plant a nice big tree square in front of the house to block the afternoon sun. And grow more trees, but that would crowd out the vegetables.
My solution is to move the garden to the back yard, still close to harvest and water and it gets the morning sun so I can work in the afternoons and be out of the heat. There’s a spot along the back of the house where there are no water or utility lines to hit with the rototiller, it joins up to the pergola and swing so I can have somewhere to grow really tall things that want support. I can put a trellis along the back of the house for more tall things. Put a bit of shade on the house along with color.
Right now it’s a nice flat piece of sod so I’ll put down a layer of cardboard to shade and kill the grass and cover that with a layer of mulch to add organic matter and improve the fertility.
The old backyard fence is starting to look a bit sad and I want to take it down, there’s probably enough good sections I can use to fence in the garden and keep the chickens out when I don’t want them scratching up the seeds and young plants I just put in.
The original Amish outhouse is there too, the original function of it has been filled in but it’s still a nice size for a garden shed to store tools.
The first garden space will turn into a fulltime tree nursery, plenty of room for more trees and if they shade the house in the summer I’m OK with that. I’ll just be sure to plant something I want to keep and leave the best of the row to grow and be our shade tree when everything else is transplanted.
What should we plant to be our shade tree? Candy