CREATING SHALOM GARDEN
One of the most gratifying aspects of gardening is the fact that your imagination and needs can
be blended to create a satisfying space and tasty food. While some people are content with
straight garden rows or perfectly aligned raised beds, my soul yearned for an oasis of color and
a relaxed style.
Although I had a previous, half-hearted garden space, the true journey began with creating a
half dozen raised beds from sawmill cedar. My daughter, Katie, assisted me in the fall of 2019.
Once they were built we carried them to a spot on the farm where nothing grew except rocks
and ragweed. The spot was truly chosen in an attempt to utilize a spot that was not serviceable for any other aspect of the farm. Around the same time, we found a tree trimming service who brought many dump truck loads of wood chips. They were piled behind and around the garden beds and made for a dismal look and a small beginning! I had a vision, however, that would not be deterred.
The winter of 2019 found Darrel and I cleaning out and moving a shed from another spot on the
property. Please don’t be encouraged and decide to move a shed by yourself. I highly
recommend obtaining professional services. Once we had the monster in the drive there
simply was no way to turn back. Funny now, not so much at the time!
For my birthday in December, Darrel designed and built a small greenhouse on the side of the
shed. I absolutely love it for the design and functionality of it as a greenhouse. Surprisingly, it
has proved to be a blessing in other ways. It is a wonderful spot to chase away winter blues,
soak up some sunshine and read. The winter of 2020, I got a whim to decorate and hold tea
and hot chocolate parties for my two daughters and me. We had an unspoken rule to only
speak of good and pleasant issues, enjoy each other’s company, and dress up just like we were
attending any other tea party. I hope Bonnie and Katie will treasure those times as much as I
do, and look forward to more this coming winter.
The spring of 2021 brought about some drastic improvements in the looks of the garden space.
I added more beds and more decorations. I was also able to have a permanent fence built,
which brought a huge visual improvement over the electric netting I had stretched temporarily.
I learned a lot about gardening in the organic compost/soil we brought in originally. My
practical advice is amend with lots of organic fertilizer and use something like worm castings in
abundance. I am able to grow a great deal of food in a very small space. We also added gravel
to replace the wood chips around the beds. It is a sturdier surface for me, as I find I do not
have the balance I did when I was younger. I had far fewer issues with weeds trying to take over between the beds. I see that the taller raised beds are easier for me to plant and harvest, so I will plan any new beds I add to be at least at a 2-foot height.
This year, birds and bees were in the garden in droves. I planted flowers that were natural
attractants to them. For me, the synergy of my garden being a haven and home to both was gratifying. The space felt alive and was amazingly noisy. I joked quite a bit and said I have to
ask the bees permission to pick my veggies. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It feels right and
balanced and good. It’s my job as guardian of this space to make it sacred and safe for them.
I am already looking forward to next year’s garden and the chance to add a little more color and interest. I plan to transplant the grape vines and allow them to trellis on the fence. I also
would enjoy adding the large variety of sunflowers along the back fence – mostly to hide the
still-decomposing piles of wood chips. I have already placed an order with my favorite
builder to build a pergola over my butterfly bench, as a spot of shade would surely feel good
when the thermometer is hovering between 90 and 100 degrees. Yah willing, of course!
If you have any questions, please feel free to send an email and I would be happy to help you if
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