Friday, January 30, 2009

Potager Design - A bit more information

Thanks to everyone who has expressed an interest in our little project. We are still bashing around ideas, and my straight lines are getting bent quite a bit. In response to questions people have asked I'm posting more info rather than responding privately or in the comments.

1. putting paths where people walk - This is probably the only thing I've gotten right so far in this project. It is a method we used in developing elk resistant fences in Wyoming. They are going to go where they want to, so accommodating them with flow-through or easily repaired fencing saved a lot of expense and trouble over time. Same is true for people. Designing while the snow is on the ground has really worked. It is easier to see the patterns, and to go stomp out some of the layout to see how it feels.

2. Lead from the house. That has been a worry for us as we renovate. We have done some testing and not found much of a problem. We are being very careful. The gardens will be built about 10 feet away from the existing house. There is a porch planned (soon to be built) for that space. That should get us far enough away from any residual in the soil. We will also be building up the level with soil and amendments from elsewhere on the farm.

3. Ali at Henblog asked some questions about orientation, wind, shadows etc. I've included a sketch that is a bit less cluttered to show some of that. The garage is a single story set partway into the hill. It doesn't cast much shadow. The house is 2 story and has a pretty long shadow but not until late afternoon. The buildings serve to block a significant amount of wind, and that will be enhanced with some windbreak plantings that are happening on the other side of the house.

4. The plant list is as follows (so far):

several mint varieties
lots of sweet basil
spicy globe basil
yellow and red cherry tomatoes
several different thymes
peppers, both sweet and hot
parsley, both flat and curly
lemon verbena
lemon grass
lemon tree
bay tree
and lots of flowers

Some of these things will not survive in our Zone 5ish climate. They will have to be potted or treated as annuals.

The proposed greenhouse is based on Anna Eddy's Solviva design. I'll post the details of that one as we get closer to building it.



Dan said...

Planning now for placement of garden plots can be tricky as you're finding out. I just remembered that you can determine areas that will be shaded in the summer by going out into your yard on the night of a full moon with a clear sky. Buildings casting shadows in January on the full moon night will correlate to shade cast in June during the day. February will correlate to July, etc. Tree branches casting shadows will help determine day time shade.

Dan of Henbogle

There is a 6 month span from the winter month to the summer month so January

Alan said...

Thanks Dan, if I get a break in the clouds when the moon is full I'll give it a try. I've also shot the sun angle using the charts from my passive solar house book. The trees closest too the garage might be compromised a bit on sun, but they will get at least 3/4 of a day. I'll propose to the committee that we move them out a bit further. We'll see what happens. Having them there provides a screen from the road that we have been looking for. Guess nothing is perfect.

shibaguyz said...

Love the thought you've put into your design. I hope ours goes as well! Can't wait to see yours grow and develop over the season.


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