Friday, March 12, 2010

Planning a garden

We decided a while ago that there needed to be some things growing around here. That is to say more than just the grass, bamboo and moss in our backyard. So where oh where to begin? Well I am new round these parts so I didn’t really know much about the growing season, daylight hours or sun during the day so I began with some research. I began on the internet but came up underwhelmed with the complete lack of information. Perhaps I was just asking the wrong questions, but I prefer to think that the people out there planting gardens are not the computer savvy ones in the world so I decided to use an older source that I have often turn to and read, fantasizing about someday, The Solar Greenhouse. The book is actually one year older than I am, and like me it is still useful in this world. From its pages I was able to understand the hours of sunlight, the exact location of sunrise and sunset using my latitude, and also the angle of incline. Of course as we all know this changes daily as the earth orbits the sun as well as rotates itself (and now those wacky NASA scientists say that all these major earthquakes are altering the rotation of earth as well so we have to factor that in too). But roughly, on the longest day of the year, the summer solstice, the sun will rise at a compass heading of 65’ and set at 295’ with the max incline of the sun reaching 60’ from the surface of the earth.

With that done I decided to take a look in the yard and find the best possible place to have a garden. The only problem, all our neighbors have trees. And not small ones either, really big ones. The foliage is definitely big enough to obscure the sun for many hours a day. So my best option was to place the garden on the north side of our property and hope for the best as our days get warmer and longer. I marked out a 8’x12’ patch for the garden with room next to it for plants that need to stretch like squash. I also decided to dedicate some room on the south side of our property of flowers, peas, tomatoes and whatever else will fit. So there we have it a 96 sq/ft planter and various other spots that can be utilized around the yard.

south fence of our backyard

Bob enjoying some outside time.

The future location of our garden

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