Our Mandala Vegetable Garden

In the spring of 2004, we decided to launch a grand experiment to find out what wanted to grow on the land. We created our Manala Garden of annual vegetable beds, laied out by Djubaya. With nothing but grasses growing for years, the soil was not in a condition to be planted with vegetabes. Below is the process we used to condition the soil and prepare the beds for planting.

Click on the first image to start the slide show with explanatory captions:

We created our mandala garden by first measuring out the beds from a center point in the field and marking the contour of each bed. Since our soil was quite compacted, we used a roto tiller to loosen up the native soil each bed. (53kb) It took several turns over the area, but we loosened up the soil down several inches. (51kb) From another spot nearby, we brought over some additional native topsoil. (62kb) All the soil together was shaped into beds of 3-4 feet by 14 feet long. 4-feet wide beds are gardener friendly because they are easy to access. If the beds are too wide, it is difficult to reach across them. (62kb) To enrich the soil and give the plants a good start, we added compost to the bed. (62kb)
We worked the compost into the soil by hand. The roto tiller would only sink into the fluffy mix at this stage. (58kb) Once the two components were evenly mixed, we made sure the bed was shaped neatly and created a little raised border along the edges. This will keep soil and water from washing off too easily. (60kb) A final thin layer of compost across the top offers readily available nutrients to the plants. (64kb) In total we created 16 beds which we planted with a variety of starts, seedlings and seeds: tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, leeks, carrots, beans, corn, cucumbers, basil, coriander, sunflowers,...  (40kb) ...and it has all come along very nicely! (65kb)

 

Using collected seeds as well as seedling from a range of sources (including excellent heirloom varieties from the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center) we planted a wide variety of vegetables ...broccoli, cauliflower, chard, peas, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, corn, chives, basil, coriander, melons... and our gardens produced delicious abundance!
So much so, that we have been giving away tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, chard and other produce to friends, family and neighbors. We are still learning about what will grow best here and we are keeping a monthly harvest log in our "Tales from Catchtail Gardens" e-posts.


                  veggie patch kids  tomatorama   lemon cukes   
happy harvesters, tomatoes and lemon cucumbers


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