Thursday, July 24, 2014

Use long summer days to envision your landscape

New Garden Coach/Landscape Design "Full Treatment" clients start in summer

We're often tempted to wait until spring energy motivates us in early April to think about starting that year's garden. In fact, though, the lazy heat of summer is actually the optimal season to plan ahead. The extended daylight hours grant us moments to be thoughtful about our long-range vision as well as figure out what can be realistically accomplished in the upcoming year.

For more information about this design, click here.
The process of planning our landscape can never begin too early. Even if we expect to start our garden or edible/natives landscape a year or more down the road, we would benefit from having a landscape plan soon after moving to a new property. That way, the plan can evolve as we settle in. We can make the needed adjustments to it as we learn about the land—all the microclimates, the differences in soil types, and privacy screening necessities. In time, we will also know ourselves, our diets and our households better, and hence all our needs.

It's important we plant what we will most use in our kitchen and medicine cabinets so we can be sure we stay committed to maintaining our landscape. By the time we go to plant, we are sure we are creating the landscape we truly desire.

With the Microbe Rich (M R) no-till method, planning ahead is essential. We sheet mulch with layers of organic matter months ahead of planting to allow time for the materials to decompose and create an optimal growing environment. This method ensures high quality produce grown with minimal weed pressure, and a soil ecosystem that improves over time.

Edible landscape design by M R Gardens

If you're interested in "The Full Treatment" garden coach/landscape design package, the following is the ideal timeline:

June-September: Contact me for an initial consultation, which includes a walk around your property to discuss your budding vision. I conduct an in-depth interview to gather information that will help me in designing a garden that specifically suits you. After the initial meeting, I draw a draft design that can be revised during the next few months.

October-November: Lay out your garden, taking advantage of the recently fallen leaves, a key ingredient—along with composted manure—in no-till vegetable beds. If you are planting an orchard, we will spread wood mulch on top of cardboard, beginning the process of creating a haven for beneficial fungi and other important organisms for optimal soil health. The cardboard decomposes by spring, and when you go to dig the tree holes, the shovel slides right in, minimizing laborious activity.

December-February: Finalize your landscape plan, incorporating any changes that came to mind over the last few months. I'll also complete other requested materials such as a crop rotation plan, plant spreadsheet with growing requirements, and calendar with reminders of tasks throughout the year.

March-May: Planting time! Now we will efficiently use all that spring energy rather than waste it on planning that was best completed several months ago.

June-July: Stay in touch with me so I can answer questions about harvesting and trouble-shooting with pest and disease control (which should be minimal since you used the no-till method, creating a soil ecosystem that takes care of itself).

August-November: Second round of planting — we'll establish your fall garden and create season extension in the cooler months so you can harvest throughout the winter.

I also serve those with more specific needs and smaller projects who don't need "The Full Treatment." I can complete landscape plans for small sections of your yard nearly any time of the year, as well as offer a season-appropriate "Day in the Garden" lesson for tasks like prepping beds, planting, or preparing a garden for winter.

I hope to hear from you! Contact me (Megan) at 828.333.4151 or