53. Spring 2014 Garden Planning

October 17, 2013

Spring 2014 garden planning starts today! My friend Carrie Lang just sent me this picture:

IMG_3917 (2) (640x800) (440x550)

She wrote that she had cut down a tree and was tearing up an ornamental garden to prepare for a big vegetable garden next year.

Joy of joys!

I replied, “Nice, that will be a good spot. Are you going to keep the round shape though? That would be cool.”

Her: “Yes I like it round too!”

Me: A sigh of gladness that another vegetable garden will exist in the world that is not the expected quadrilateral.

Since I consider myself to be the Robert Smithson of gardening, the shapes of my garden plots are very important. You can dig a 10′ x 10′ square but that is just so boring and expected. We started with squares and rectangles and pretty soon the garden started to look like the Transformers logo.



Spy Garden 2012

Spy Garden 2012

And while I think the Transformer movies are pretty entertaining, I wanted the garden to exude a less futuristic vibe. So I started cutting curves into the earth.

Lovely undulating curving tracts.

Lovely undulating curving tracts.

Outside the box

Outside the box

I do have the three rectangular strips in the middle, but this year I rounded off the ends of them.

And am thinking of adding a circle to the end of the one in the middle:

In that grassy area there in the middle.

In that grassy area there in the middle.

Aside from the aesthetic value of unexpected shapes in dirt, it is very pleasant to walk through your garden, without having to walk in the dirt.

Hence the grass paths between the shapes.

The paths makes a garden infinitely more accessible to children (and really to everyone).

The paths make a garden infinitely more accessible to children (and really to everyone).

My grass paths started out quite wide, but have quickly gotten narrower.

So this year I will be careful in edging not to widen the plots any more.

I will indulge my need to dig instead in a garden expansion! It would seem the garden is large enough. However, your garden can never be too big. I want more pumpkins next year and I want to try growing those BIG pumpkins. So I need one more pumpkin patch type spot. Plus the trees around Spy Garden are shading more and more areas, and while many plants I grow do great with a bit of shade, some need full sun. I could cut some of the trees down and trim the others. Or indulge my need to dig and just make a new chunk of garden.

So here is the plan:

Spy Garden 2014 Plan

Spy Garden 2014 Plan

Here is baby’s plan:

baby (800x548)

And here is the Spy’s plan for an anti-zombie vehicle:

antizombie (800x435)




I love planning and expanding the garden in fall.

The ground is soft. Fall rains and cooler temperatures really make digging a breeze. Fall and winter are the perfect times to dig. The ground is damp, but not too wet. Plus you can really work up a sweat and still stay cool and not accidentally get heat stroke if you whip yourself up into a digging frenzy.

If you start now you have loads of time. You could dig a single shovel-full of soil PER DAY and probably still have a 300SF of garden (but please not in any boring dimensions) by spring. And if you flip over a shovel-full clod of dirt and it is all stuck together (i.e. if your dirt has a high clay content) you don’t even need to worry about breaking it down because the elements will do it for you over the new few months.

Happy planning (and digging)!


12 thoughts on “53. Spring 2014 Garden Planning

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  3. Eliza Waters

    I love the way gardens evolve, right along with us. Yours are evolving beautifully! Besides being more pleasing to the eye, all my beds have rounded curves, largely because of lawn mowing; squares aren’t easy to cut! Also, all the tucked in spaces that are a pain to mow became gardens, like near the deck stairs. I could write a book just on how my gardens here morphed in (and out) of existence in the past 23 years! Maybe a subject for a future post?! Love the Spy’s Spanish…;-) He’s got a good grasp on phonics for an 8-year-old!

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  5. Carrie

    Thanks for the shout-out!
    I feel overwhelmed by all my new garden space! Decisions, decisions.
    So you’re saying I should turn over the soil now? I add compost in the spring right? I have no clue what I’m doing…

    1. Spy Garden Post author

      Yes turn the soil now. See how it looks in the spring and depending how “plantable” it looks then add some amount of compost/loam mix (or just bags of soil) right on top of what you’ve turned over. You know I usually have no clue what I’m doing in the garden either. It’s all trial and error!!


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