One Acre Garden - Layout and Soil Prep
Our latest project at the Garden Home Retreat is the One Acre Vegetable Garden. An acre is 209 feet square. Our garden is slightly longer than it is deep and it’s really just under an acre.
So what I decided to do is take this little piece of ground that had already been cleared back in the 1950s – there weren’t many big trees, a lot of brush and sawbriars – and make a vegetable garden for producing a good amount of fruits and vegetables. In the process of clearing the spot we saved about a dozen pine trees for poles for our next big project a timber frame barn.
The soil was so important to get right. We started out with a good base, but it needed to be amended. We piled up some compost to which we added some sand and I was able to procure some straw used as bedding at the state fair for the livestock. And oh yeah, I can’t forget the chicken litter. We put that out here.
We blended all the amendments together, allowed it to age for 6 months, and tilled it into the existing soil.
Then came the lime. For a vegetable garden you want a pH that is somewhere between 6 and 7. I had the soil tested. It’s easy to do. You can purchase kits to mail to your local cooperative extension. The soil at the Garden Home Retreat was just a little on the acidic side so we added lime.
Once the soil was prepared I began laying out the rows in the way I want this vegetable garden to work.
There is a 12 foot wide path that runs down the center from north to south. There will be ridges radiating off of that path on each side that will be reserved for perennial vegetables varieties, brambles and other plants that we won’t plant year after year. For instance, we’ll have blackberries, raspberries and blueberries as well as asparagus and strawberries. These are plants that stay in the garden.
And then in between these ribs, if you will, there will be plenty of space to grow the annual vegetables – tomatoes and squash and cucumbers and onions and potatoes.
So the layout of the garden is that the central walk serves as the spine and then coming off of it are the ribs for planting the vegetables. And you will have those radiating on the east west axis. I believe that it is going to make a very handsome space.