MAKING A GARDEN
Gardening is often called the only living art form. Like any form of art, designing a garden is subjective. Although gardening successfully requires learning certain skills, in the end, a garden’s beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
The first thing in garden making is the selection of a place. Without a choice, it means just doing the best one can with terms. With small space it concludes itself into no garden, or a box garden. Sure enough a box garden is better than nothing at all.
But we will straightaway think that it is possible to actually choose just the right site for the garden. What shall be decided? The biggest determining factor is the sunlight. No one would have a northwards corner, unless it were absolutely forced upon him; as, though north corners set for ferns, certain wild flowers, and begonias, they are of little use as spots for a general garden.
If possible, select the perfect place a southern exposure. Here the sun lies warm all day long. Once the garden is thus placed the rows of vegetables and flowers should run north and south. Hence placed, the plants get the sun’s rays all the morning on the eastern side, and all the afternoon on the western side. One should not to have any awry plants with such an placement.
Suppose the garden faces southeast. In this case the western sunlight is out of the trouble. So to set out the best dispersion of sunlight, run the rows in northwest and southeast direction.
The theme is to set out the most sunlight as equally distributed as possible for the longest period of time. By the asymmetric growth of window plants it is easy enough to see the result on plants of poorly distributed light. So if you use a little plot remembering that you wish the sun to shine part of the day on one side of the plants and part on the other, you can juggle out any situation. The southern exposure makes the ideal case because the sun gives half time nearly to each side. A northern exposure may imply an almost entire cut-off from sunlight; while northeastern and southwestern places always get irregular distribution of sun’s rays, no matter how carefully this is projected.
The garden, if possible, should be plotted out theoretically. The architectural plan is a big aid when the actual planting time comes. It saves time and excess purchasing of seed.
New garden places are probably to be found in two terms: they are covered either with greensward or with trumpery. In big garden areas the ground is ploughed and the greensward turned under; but in small gardens remove the greensward. How to depart the greensward in the best manner is the next question. Stake and line off the garden place. The line gives an exact and straight row to follow. Cut the borders with the spade right along the line. If the area is a small one, say four feet by eighteen or twenty, this is an comfy thing. Such a narrow strip can marked out like a checkerboard, the greensward cut through with the spade, and easily removed. This could be done in two long strips cut longitudinal of the strip. When the greensward is cut across, roll it right up like a roll of carpet.
Just suppose the garden plot is large. Then split it up into strips a foot wide and get off the ground the greensward as earlier. What shall be done with the sward? Do not throw it away for it is full of fertility, while not rather in usable form. So pack the sward grass side down one square on another. Leave it to decompose and to endure. When decayed it makes a fine fertilizer. Such a mass of rotting vegetable matter is called a compost heap. All through the summer add any old green vegetable matter to this. In the autumn put the autumn leaves on. A fine lot of goodness is being fixed for another season.
Even when the garden is great enough to plough, I would choose the largest pieces of sward instead of have them turned under. Go across the ploughed space, pick out the pieces of sward, stir them well and pack them up in a compost pile.
Simple spading of the ground is not enough. The soil is still left in lumps. Always as one spades one should break apart the big lumps. But however the ground is in no shape for planting. Ground must be very pleasant so to plant in, because seeds can get very close indeed to fine particles of soil. But the large lumps leave behind large places which no small root hair can penetrate. A seed is left aground in a perfect waste when planted in chunks of soil. A baby surrounded with large pieces of beefsteak would lust. A seed among large lumps of soil is in a similar situation. The spade never can do this job of powderizing soil. But the rake can. That’s the value of the rake. It is a great lump breaker, but will not do for large lumps. If the soil still has large lumps in it take the hoe.
Most of the people handle the hoe awkwardly. The main work of this enforce is to rid the soil of grasses and shake up the top surface. It is used in summer to form that mulch of dust so useful in keeping moisture in the soil. I often see people as if they were attending chop into atoms everything around. Hoeing should never be such energetic exercise as that. Spading is energetic, hard work, but not hoeing and creasing.
After lumps are broken use the crease to make the bed fine and smooth. Now the great piece of work is done.