The Terraced Row Garden

Sunday, June 16, 2019

I have been spending every nice weather day in the backyard since the beginning of April, digging up goldenrod root balls from a 20-year-neglected, 650 square foot garden plot. Amazing progress. A half deer-protected plot for asparagus and other veggies in raised beds. And a half terraced/rows garden, for daffodils, onions, garlic, and alliums (that deer and rodents do not eat). It has taken so, so long to get the garden to this state. Weeks and weeks of digging. Then more digging. Hauling root balls to the far edges of the yard. Breaking dried out stems down into bits for walkway mulch. I had blisters on both my thumbs at some point.
Making Terraced, Mounded Rows in the Garden

I'm using a mounded row approach from OldWorldGardenFarms, with 18" growing rows and 24" walking paths, for half the garden, outside of the deer fence. The soil drains a little better on this side of the yard and there's a reasonable number of varieties of plants that deer and critters do not prefer.

I cleaned out all the decomposing goldenrod stems in early spring, before anything was growing. Then I dug out the entire top ~5" of the plot, pulled out all the goldenrod root balls I could find, and mounded the growing rows as needed to make a sort of terraced garden, as our yard is very sloped. I then covered the walkways with a whole bunch of broken up goldenrod stems previously removed. I mixed some 2-2-2 fertilizer into the native soil for the daffodils. For the middle row (which now has a bunch of onions), I also mixed in some composted cow manure and azomite mineral dust. The native soil is very clay-like, and retains moisture too well. In the future, I'll probably mix more leaf compost in to help with drainage.
A wheelbarrow of weeds, after Memorial Day Weekend neglect

The back row spent some time covered in cardboard, to hold back the weeds while I determined what plants to place their (and acquired mulch). The first several years are going to be spent on improving the soil and killing the weeds. 'Hoping going no till helps with this.
Usign rocks to hold down garden cardboard walkways

Planting

The daffodils are in the front row of the terraced plot, volunteer asparagus appeared in the middle and back row, and I planted 200 onion sets in the middle row for red, yellow, and green onions this year. Chives (a perennial) are on the end. This was the initial plan, but I've since drawn up a new plan to place a perennial pollinators' garden in the back row. This will move the chives and daffodils there, leaving the asparagus to share a row with garlic, and the front row to handle onions (remind me to do rootball removal on this row after I move the daffodils).

Daffodils - May 17, 2019
I talk a bit more about the daffodils in a separate post on spring-planting autumn bulbs.

Chives are Planted A new baby asparagus blooming
The middle row currently houses volunteer green asparagus, red onions, yellow onions, and green onions (really just white onion sets planted close together and harvested early). I have a whole separate post on asparagus coming up so I won't drone on about them here. Next year, this row will be asparagus (need to transplant one from the back row) and garlic, I think.

Row Garden - Perennial Flowers Planted
The back row is an assortment of perennial flowers for pollinators that are deer and critter resistant. I'll plant white bearded irises in August, and a whole bunch of alliums in the fall, as well as transplanting the daffodils and chives. The way it's worked out, the flowers will be planted in drifts (small drifts at first, larger when I figure out what thrives/dies) with taller species toward the back, and a few things flowering at all times. Whites and shades of purple. This should help attract bees and other beneficial critters, while also being smelly enough to discourage deer and snails.

Row Garden - Slate from Patio Demo

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