Our Mission:

Our Mission: To enable individuals and communities to take an active part in the cultivation of systems that provide the highest quality fruits, vegetables, herbs and other yields, in a way that benefits themselves, cares for the land and environment, and provides a surplus to use, share and reinvest into the system.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Keyholes & Composters

This week I finished up an installation that included a couple raised garden beds, a rain barrel and two rotating composters.

The homeowners had been wanting to get more into gardening.  The location they were thinking of was already being used for tomatoes in years previous.  It had good sun exposure yet was protected from the afternoon rays.

They were also wondering how to blend raised beds in to the existing landscaping without it becoming an eyesore.

Initially we had discussed using boulders to border the beds, but were concerned about them collecting excessive heat and drying out along the edges.  Cedar was the final decision for its physical properties and rot resistance.
We decided that a "keyhole" design would be a great way to maximize planting area and keep the area contained.  A keyhole bed is one with a small access way into the middle so that you can reach all parts of the bed.  Sometimes there will be a small circle area right in the middle which gives them the appearance of a keyhole from above.

The original estimate was for beds that laid flat and followed the contour of the ground.  This would have been okay but the slope was enough that it could look a lot better if the top of beds were all one level. After a brief discussion with the homeowners, the project grew to include the flat tops.

This made them look really sharp!
Tying into the existing retaining wall with the boulders and then transitioning to a boulder edge worked out quite nice too.

Since it was right by a downspout a rain barrel was included in the plan.  Rainwater is the very best water we can use to irrigate our plants.  Overflow was directed under the beds and out into the yard.  But first it passes two T's where it can also flow into corrugated pipe under the beds retaining moisture in the subsoil.

Also concerned about sending food scraps and other organic waste to the landfill, they wanted to begin composting.  After discussing their expected volume and time/labor budget for turning piles, a pair of rotating bins were selected so they can have one to add material to and another that is finishing the composting process.

Just in time for the plants they were buying at the Clarion Sage Market Garden & CSA plant sale this weekend!

I hope you have a GREAT week!