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Squash, melons, and corn make up the second long bed.

Design: A Two-Yard Partnership Garden

Over the summer, we worked with a well-known designer to transform an existing garden for one of our clients. The garden occupied the homeowners front yard, but when her sister-in-law bought the house next door, they knocked down the fence between them to expand the garden. Now it stretches across both front yards. It’s a two-yard garden.

Our participation in the project included irrigation, soil, and veggie layouts for each of the raised beds. We chose plants for areas burdened by shade (i.e. herbs and tender greens), and we interspersed perennial crops between annuals to keep the beds looking full year-round.

The Two-Yard Garden Takes Shape

Simpson Garden Redux During
One existing bed remained because it contained rhubarb and asparagus.

The designer took our client’s existing raised beds and rearranged them into one continuous line across both properties. Some abutted one another purely for aesthetic, rather than functional, reasons. We worked within the bounds of the new design.

Simpson Garden Redux During1
Old beds were joined together to form one long bed in front of the second property.
Simpson Garden Redux During2
So the garden had 3 long beds (20-30 feet each) and smaller beds tucked in around them.

We filled the beds with the best quality biodynamic soil available and added 1/4″ drip tubing with 6″ emitters (to allow for biointensive plant spacing). And then we planted summer crops.

The Finished Garden

The summer garden included tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant in one bed, keeping all Solanaceae plants together for easy crop rotation next year…

Simpson Garden Redux Solanaceae bed
Eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, okra, and bush beans fill the long bed, with strawberries in the short bed in front.

And Cucurbiteae members (i.e. squash, cucumbers, and melons) together in another bed…

Simpson Garden Redux Squash
Squash, melons, cucumbers, and corn make up the second long bed in the back, with watermelons, sweet potatoes and onions in the short front bed.

The designer tucked artichokes and rosemary around all the beds for flair, though we advised against it. It looks nice, but blocks access to the beds. The homeowner was okay with it, so we placed crops that don’t need as much attention near the artichokes.

We utilized the shady parts of the yard to plant lettuces, spinach, and arugula. Those would ordinarily bolt to seed quickly but shade from the new house protected them until afternoon.

Simpson Garden Redux rhubarb
The original existing bed was planted with perennial crops like rhubarb and asparagus to reduce regular maintenance. The homeowner also wanted more tomatoes and basil when she looked out the front door.

The original existing bed exploded once we added biodynamic compost and planted additional tomatoes and basil. The beds are chock-full of crops planted bio-intensively for higher yields.

Now, with this two-yard garden, the homeowner can share the bounty with her sister-in-law’s family and still have enough to can, freeze, preserve for later in the year.

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