I have waited nearly twenty years to plant a garden in this very spot; I finally have the chance and the time; I’ll be taking you along on my gardening adventures. I’ve decided to call my garden (because I am wont to name things) Saucy’s Wee Kitchen Garden. So, join me as I watch the miracle of growth.
I love digging in the dirt; ever since I was a little girl I have loved to get my hands in the soil. Sometimes when that meant weeding flower beds when I wanted to play that love was not so strong and my actions brought disastrous consequences. Like the time my sister and I were tasked with weeding a flower bed; we decided that instead of pulling all the stubborn weeds, we would take a shovel and turn the weeds under. Well, after the next good rain, those weeds were bigger, more strongly rooted, and we were in big trouble!
When I married Mr. Saucy and moved to East Tennessee (nearly 20 years ago now), I wanted a garden. As a matter of fact, we spent our honeymoon building a raised bed herb garden for me just behind our house. Long story short, we decided to get into the fly fishing business; what was supposed to be a “Mom and Pop” shop turned into a major undertaking that eventually saw us building a 7,000 square foot shop, working 6-7 days a week for years on end, and my little herb garden was sorely neglected.
Recently, I decided to not work in the shop any longer, except to teach our beginner fly fishing classes. The time was ripe to have the garden of my dreams. Here are some photos of the progression of the garden so far. I apologize that some of the first are horribly out of focus…I had the wrong lens on my camera…but I want you to see the site so you feel at home there.
The only open spot we have on our ten acres is this field…but it gets the full sun for about 7 hours a day, so I’m hoping that will suffice. We live at the end of the valley; the mountain in the distance is the border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s a beautiful place to live.
I decided to not worry with killing the grass (well, mostly clover), so I put down a heavy-duty landscape fabric that would allow moisture to go through from the top, but not allow anything to grow up through it.
The assembly was really easy and took just under an hour. It didn’t require any tools except for a Phillip’s head screwdriver to attach the top caps. Here it is fully assembled, with our barn in the background:
The next step was to put gravel down around the borders, on top of the landscape fabric. This will keep weeds and grass far enough away from the garden, as well as make a path to easily access it.
Before I added dirt, I put supports posts, which were 24″ grade stakes, and screwed them into each side board. This will help keep the sides from warping from the moisture.
I got a little help with the dirt…I enlisted the fellas from our mowing company to deliver a combination of sifted topsoil and Monterey Mushroom compost.
I designed and built (all by my lonesome) trellises for vertical growing (this really utilizes the space of a small raised bed to the greatest yield), and a garden gate. I also installed six posts…four fence posts and the garden gate posts. Mr. Saucy helped me dig two of the holes, thank heavens. Digging fence post holes is not for sissies.
I plan to have a “sort of fence,” by which I mean, it is not going to be a typical fence. I will attach screw eyes to the fence posts and to them I will attach and string 50 pound monofilament. There will be a several down low, to (maybe) deter rabbits, and further apart up higher to keep deer from getting in there. I really didn’t want to obstruct the view; also, I have plans to expand the garden and didn’t want a permanent fence up.
I wanted a “garden shed” to store my tools, so I took an old pie safe that had been living in the basement (storing unused garden supplies) and transformed it. You can see on the top of it, in the photo above, my “inspiration piece,” which was a new handle for the door. I transformed that sad, brown, dirty pie safe into this:
I wanted whimsical and fun…and happy…it’s going to love living in the garden.
And that brings the garden progress up-to-date. It’s fully planted with heirloom seeds. The center box is all herbs and will be the only permanent box. The rest I will rotate crops in from year to year. I’m growing the following:
- Tender Green Cucumbers
- Pickling Cucumbers
- Slenderette Green Beans
- Cherry Bell Radishes
- California Wonder Peppers
- Sweet Banana Peppers
- Brandywine Tomatoes
- Roma Tomatoes
- Grey Zucchini
- Early Prolific Straight-neck Yellow Squash
- Copenhagen Cabbage
- Emerald Green Okra
- Sweet Alaska Peas
- English Thyme
- Italian Oregano
Sprouts are showing themselves now, so it’s the waiting game that every gardener faces. In the meantime, now that I have tender shoots that critters will be interested in munching, the next phase is my “sort of” fence. I’ll keep you posted about my failures as well as my successes; I’ll share recipes for the dishes I make from the bounty of my wee kitchen garden.
Thank you for joining me on this adventure…it’s one of the happiest I will ever take.