|Chris Sanford Checks my Design-in-Progess|
|Hands on soil analysis|
The first step in the course was to create a site analysis. As it turns out, all that time I spend mooning around in the garden is valuable. According to Rosmarie, “being present” in your space is a vital first step to forming a sustainable design. If you’re paying attention, you’ll notice the direction of winds, how the sun tracks, where shadows fall, where the birds go, how the slope of your land affects drainage. Put these on a map, along with permanent structures, mature trees and shrubs, power lines, traffic paths, and you’ve got a map that helps you to identify the microclimates of your yard. Well, almost. The first map I came up with was far from enlightening; it was crowded and confusing. Chris showed us how to represent information more effectively with nifty landscaping symbols and layers of tracing paper.
- With sustainability in mind, I spent my first burst of gardening energy on building a compost bin from locally sourced, untreated lumber, that will help me create more homemade inputs for my garden.
- As well, I think I’ve finally figured out where to put my tomato plants, which usually die prematurely in my very sandy, wind-exposed vegetable plot. I’m making a no-dig raised bed in the sheltered hot spot of my property. Since my map reminds me that this bed is on a slight slope, I’m making the bed from rotting firewood which will trap moisture and feed the soil as it breaks down.
- Last, but certainly not least, I’m creating a five year plan to reduce our lawn mowing and encourage a bit more of the wild back into our lot. In years past, my partner and I have thrown up our hands and said it can’t be done—this is the lawn we inherited. But it will be done, making thoughtful, creative adjustments to the way we manage our property.