Garden Going Up


Yes, I know one usually speaks of the season’s garden going IN. As you can see here, this one heads in the vertical direction so that later, the horizontal efforts will not become wildlife forage.

We’ve thought of some things we can do eventually so that the “stockade” doesn’t look so formidable–train flowering vines on the wire (preferably something distasteful to cloven-hooved creatures) and more practically, put one of those owl decoys on top of one of the posts to deter the crows.

A 10 foot deep shed will go up at the far end of the garden for tiller, mowers, and tools–and maybe a month’s worth of dry firewood.

The former garden was farther from the house (behind me as I took this picture yesterday) off near the pines, more in the shade and over the septic field.

Since nothing around here is level, we’ll have to put in railroad ties outside the garden on the road side to build it up. A little gradient is okay, but too much and we’ll have our topsoil end up in Goose Creek.

I’d love to get a dump truck load of composted manure into the soil but that’s not going to happen this year. We’ll do what we can with top-dressing of 5-10-10 and get the soil tested early next year to see what it really needs.

I figure, if we live to be, oh something like 286, our “free” vegetables will pay for putting up this barrier–without which otherwise we’re at the mercy of someone else’s labors for green beans, corn and tomatoes.

I’ll post more pictures soon, and along during the growing year (he said with mock confidence.)

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. i’ll be interested in seeing how this all turns out for you. i can’t wait to have a huge garden, but we’ve been in rentals for the past three years and haven’t had a good place for one. we have a great spot here, but are still in transition and i don’t know if i want to put in all that effort if we may be moving again.

  2. Oh the efforts we make to have fresh home grown veggies. It may take years to pay for it in dollars, but much less time to pay for it in good eats!