Sunday, September 26, 2010

Raised Garden

When I first laid out my plans for our yard in 2004 I planned a small space near the back door for a herb garden. I thought I'd grow the herbs I used the most in cooking. The rest of the yard was landscaped first to mask the buffer area & road running at back of our property line and then to give us something nice to look at in the backyard while enjoying the nice weather of extended spring and fall in the lowcountry. But gradually I decided I wanted to grow a few tomatoes, then some pepper,leaf lettuce, radishes, and even a little spinach. Now all these things won't fit in the space of the herb garden so what to do? There just really wasn't enough room to add a bed and I didn't really want to clear out a planting bed to put in vegetables. Then I noticed that the area where our willow tree once stood was fairly sunny. So I asked Jim to build me a small 4' X 4' raised bed. This fall I'm going to experiment raising few cool season vegetables like red, and green leaf lettuce, spinach, radishes, and more dill and parsley in this spot. I'm also starting a few flowers like hollyhocks and foxglove in the raised bed. If it isn't a sucess the raised bed can be moved in the spring to a new spot.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Garden Pond

I haven’t forgotten about writing but have been very distracted taking care of a new puppy. This got me to wondering if this new lab puppy will be as fascinated by our pond as our older lab was when we first built our pond. I had wanted a pond for many years and my husband finally got on board and we put in a pond and waterfall using a pre-formed shell in April 2005. Here is some of the things we learned building our pond. First build a pond about twice the size you think you want! As soon as we were finished we wished we had made ours bigger. Second a waterfall will help mask traffic noise but only if you put it close enough to your sitting area. We put our pond near the back of our yard so we could see it better but this makes it harder to hear the cascade. Third I’d reconsidered the waterfall because we have made the waterfall over several times for different reasons. We had tree roots grow into the waterfall and suck water from the pool, the “Hill” created for the waterfall weir sunk over time twice. I think I’d skip the waterfall if we built another in this yard. Our yard is so flat it was a challenge to make it “blend” into the landscape. Fourth A small pond needs more maintenance than a larger one so invest in a UV filter to help control algae. Our first year we battled algae growth constantly and bought the UV filter the second year and wow what a difference!

Over the years this waterfall has been home to Comet fish; a hardy Goldfish type that is suitable for cold-water aquariums and garden ponds, assorted frogs, and the flagstones with crevices are homes to many cold-blooded wildlife like skinks and lizards. But best of all the sound attracts birds to the yard that are looking for water. Then they discover food from feeders and plants and places to nest. We also get the occasional opossum drinking from the pond and fish eating birds have found a meal of Comet fish once or twice. Our older Lab Lucy used to try and swim in the pond until plants took over some of the space. Overall we enjoy the pond and would build it again.