Evolution of a Garden Bed

Old Sunflower Bed

I created a small, sloping veggie bed along our western fence line back in 2006 when I thought I’d try growing horseradish and ginger from green-grocer products. Before the plants could do anything, Frank and I moved to Darwin and the tenants moved in. Upon our return not much of anything was alive here so we turned over the soil and slammed a few things in (including horseradish which is still alive and spreading, and some ginger which may or may not still be alive but definitely was in June). The photo above shows the last days of this year’s 2nd sunflower crop.

Frank and I recently agreed that we needed to spruce up this bed. It gets sun for most of the day so hopefully heat loving plants (what likes 40 degrees?) will do well here. A couple of weeks ago Frank started removing the old brick edging and terraced the beds. He put in a lot of compost, coffee grounds, soil, and cow manure. Sun and fertile soil – I predict a bumper harvest (after, of course, I plant).

Veggie Bed Renovation

The top bed contains horseradish, ginger and potatoes. The middle bed has a single potato (from the grocery store). The middle and lower beds will get beans along the back and are earmarked for eggplant, capsicum and maybe tomato seedlings once my seeds turn into little plants. A rainwater gauge was placed on the fence a couple of months ago. I’m guessing it won’t like the beans climbing over it and Frank will like that even less. I see some pruning in my future.

Completed Bed

Clever Construction

I’ll plant the snake beans I picked up in my Organic Gardening class in a week or so (when the Lunar Calendar and the seasons are both right). In order to give the beans something to grow up, I constructed a maze of string up the fence. Frank gave me a funny look (and my construction an even funnier one) when I asked if he thought it would work. He did agree it probably will give the beans something to climb, but I can’t help but think that he’d have done something very different. This clearly isn’t the way his mother grew beans!

That black hose carries rainwater from our tanks down to the rest of the garden. It’s got nothing to do with my bean “trellis” and I won’t mind hiding it (and the fence) from view.

Bean Strings

Update 19 September: Well that didn’t work! Those strings that my beans and peas were going to climb have been breaking at an alarming rate – and that’s before any seedling grabs on. I’m going to have to rip it all down before my pea sprouts make contact and replace it with something more sturdy. It seemed like such a great technique – and I’m sure it would have been if my twine wasn’t about 500 years old or was heavier duty.


About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: www.laurarittenhouse.com for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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