Tuesday, September 24, 2013

a room of one's own

 For a while I've had the idea of fencing around my vegetable garden.  Out here there's a LOT of seeds blowing in the wind, so weeding's a full time gig.  There are also plenty of invading varmints and critters, including a large shaggy black dog who enjoys napping on my strawberry bed.  And a tall wall can create a sort of micro-climate that extends the growing season.   Gardeners in town seem to have less issues growing stuff when there are walls all around the dirt, so I envisioned an enclosure to mimic living in town.  I optioned the project to my father and he came back with a plan.

After some dickering over the size (he thought it was HUGE, but misunderstood where it would go--not the front yard, but along the side of our house) and position (more on that later), he drew up a plan and gave me instructions to sell a kidney on the black market and buy cedar from a lumber yard.

 I kid about the kidney, but cedar's expensive stuff.  Pretty and fragrant, but not cheap.  After a weekend of laying in posts, Dad booked another couple of days to slap in the boards.  This involved much fetching, carrying and a pneumatic hammer running off an air compressor.  That tool sounded like gunshot and made me twitchy.  I kept having visions of a nail accidentally impaling my forehead in a freak accident.  It spat out nails with so much force that I felt a breeze each time Dad used it.

As you can see, the fence got around 4 of 5 of my raised beds.  Positioning the fence a different way required moving or cutting down a spruce tree.  Unacceptable.  Moving a raised bed is much easier.  After frost, I'll dig it out, lug it back into a new spot inside the garden, and fill it in with dirt for spring planting.  Meanwhile, those beans, cukes and squashes are sitting outside the fence sort of banished.  Not part of the veggie clique on the other side of that wall o' cedar.

 That spruce on the left escaped the axe.  Lucky tree. 

Then we ran out of boards, energy and time, so Dad said he'd come back some day and finish the last stretch and build a gate.  It's kind of marvelous inside that fence.  Like a room of my very own, closed off from the world, full of green and the smell of cedar mixed with basil.  I'll have one bed of strawberries, one of asparagus, some blueberry bushes and plenty of space to grow the rest of what we like to eat:  beans, peas, squash, zucchini, carrots, peppers, beets, tomatoes and onions.  I plan to put in a little seating area towards the back and attach some hanging baskets to the fence.

I have grand plans to landscape around the outside, too.  The bottom edge is 1/2 inch mesh to ventilate the wood so it won't rot quickly.  The mesh keeps burrowers out, and let me tell you, it was beastly to cut and attach.  That stuff has sharp edges and cutting it and stapling it to the bottom of the fence was a two-person job.   We worried more about keeping the top of the fence looking nice and level, reasoning that no one would look much at the bottom once I get everything planted inside and out.

While we worked on my "outdoor" room, Mr. D's behemoth barn shed nears completion.  My days are full of concrete guys, flooring guys and the landscaper. All this excitement outside my window, trucks beeping and digging and hauling while I struggle to write through scene after scene.  It's a bit of a struggle, getting the threads of a plot worked out in my mind and then someone pulls in or knocks at the door--and WHOOSH!  Gone--just like that.

It's enough to make a girl want a room of her own just to get a little peace and quiet so she can get her work done.  Perhaps I should've trenched some electricity out to my vegetable garden.


  1. Wow --I really envy you that walled garden! Like a secret garden! And you're going to have a greenhouse too --soon you can go completely off the grid :-)

  2. That's a very nice walled garden that I'm sure you'll be very happy with. It must be a wonderful place to be in and you will indeed have a micro climate there. Maybe you will be able to even grow some grapevines.

  3. That's pretty darned awesome! Kudos to your dad for doing this.. it's a lot of work.

  4. I am so impressed!

    You know, you could put in a tiny house in your secret garden... here are some ideas to help you dream (because hey, what's another project, right?!?)

  5. Oh how I love that garden wall! Gorgeous wood and such a pretty garden hiding on the inside. Between your husband's shed and your walled-in garden, will you two ever see each other again? :)

  6. Lovely! Just curious, but why cedar? Is it very weatherproof? Does the smell repel deer?

  7. Sounds lovely. I am looking forward to improvements like that in my new garden space.

  8. WOW. Y'all sure don't do things small up there, do you?

  9. What a great idea. I never heard of that mesh on the bottom, but if it works, that's terrific! The barn is coming along great!

  10. Splendid! Just marvelous.
    Have you seen this? your fence seems perfect for it (if you're that kind of girl)


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