It’s been 11 month’s now since I started gardening. I Started with a few plants bought from a nearby nursery before I slowly moved on to growing vegetable plants from seeds. The past one year has been full of first time experiences – growing plant from seeds, seeing the complete life cycle of so many different kind of vegetable plants, growing one’s own food(even though it’s partial). When i look back at these past 11 month’s it gives me immense satisfaction and i feel gardening is probably one of the most rewarding hobbies one can take up. It has gives back in plenty – to the gardener, the little creatures in garden who call it their home, nature…
Here is a flashback of the past 11 month’s…
When I first got the garden, it was filled with construction debris – cement, sand, half used concrete blocks, polythene sheets, used sponge – you name it and I bet you could find it there. After little bit of cleaning, a layer of 12-18 inches of red soil was filled in on top of that. At that point the red soil had very little organic matter(or so i felt), and even greens like palak would take ages to grow (which are otherwise very easy to grow – is my current opinion 😉 ).
Pic,just after red soil was filled in
A month or so after filling red soil builder laid the lawn. That point of time I let the lawn to be laid, simply because i didn’t know how to go about managing the space and more of all the red soil was making it very difficult to keep the house clean as my drawing room opens to the garden. But in my heart I knew i didn’t want to use space for lawn. Plan to grow vegetable was always there. Just that it wasn’t in a concrete shape.
Soon after the lawn was laid I gradually started removing patches of it to make soil beds for vegetable plants. I started from the southern side as during those month’s (May to September) only that part used to receive sunlight.
Here is an old picture showing Peas, Okra, Papaya, Carrot & tomato growing from left to right on the southern side of the garden.
– Peas, Orka, Papaya, Carrot & tomato
But around Sep-Oct time sunlight started shifting and the northern side started receiving sunlight while the southern part went into shade (sunlight blocked by the boundary wall). So, I had to shift my veggie plots to northern side and the containers too could not be used to a great extent. But I have learnt my lesson from the past season and this season (May to Sep’10) i am aiming to try and experiment growing stuff in bright shade spots. There are few plants like beans, capsicums, palak, lettuce(to some extent) which will do ok in bright shade spots.
All this while I have kept on adding organic matter (mainly compost) to the soil patches. But that has resulted in few issues which can be listed as below:
1. Due to regular mixing up of compost to the soil patches, they were brimming over and top soil was loose enough to be washed by even the slightest rain and watering.
2. Watering with a long pipe from the tap fixed at one end was a always issue as it would always run over some tender plants and I needed to be very careful while watering.
3. Zoya(our dog) would sometimes not know where the veg patches start and run over and kill some tender plants.
4. The grass would always tend to creep into the veggie patches thereby shrinking the veg patches. Also the grass around the soil patches would always be greener and healthier making me believe they were depriving the veggies of their nutrients.
So, I had to come up with a solution for all these issues. To my mind the solution was raising a kind of small fence around the patches.
That will hopefully help me to solve all the problems i mentioned above and help me to adopt a raised bed garden approach over a period of time by adding more organic matter to the patches.
I have chose terracotta tiles over other methods of doing raised beds like wooden planks etc… The reason for choosing the terracotta tiles is 1. it’s easily available 2. There is scope of doing it myself. 3. It’s cheaper and greener (not the color ;)) compared to wood.
Some 2 month’s back i started working on it and now it’s kind of complete.
Each tile cost me a cool Rs.6/-. That’s cheap, isn’t it ?? considering a cup of tea costs Rs. 5/- and these tiles are bought from outside Karnataka, i guess it’s from Gujrat.
So, here are few latest pics from the garden.
Each of these tiles is 5×8 inches in dimension. So roughly 2 inches will go below the ground and 6 inches remain above the ground helping to have a raised bed of same depth. Each of them has a groove at it’s sides helping to form a interlocked structure which will hopefully help to keep the soil intact inside the raised beds.
I have tried to make the edges roundish so that the chances of someone getting hurt is less because of sharp edges.
Also, i have been liberal in leaving a good amount of space for path, 18″ on one side and 12″ on the other. The idea is – One would not to have to step over the patches (that would cause soil compaction – which is not good) in any situation and still be able to access every part of it. One more consideration was if required it should be possible to put a small stool in the path and sit over to it work in the garden (gardeners are known to have bad backs, isn’t it ??). So, here are few snaps of the garden after some days of real hard work.
I am filled with new enthusiasm and eagerly looking forward to the forthcoming year of gardening. Of course, I am no more a fresher in gardening 🙂
View from my bedroom