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A Slender, Sunny, Sliver ; The Russells' Organic Garden

Sometimes an gardener’s zeal for growing organic produce at home is shadowed by the leafy canopy overhead. The shade from mature oak and maple trees certainly do make outdoor living spaces more comfortable, and tame summer cooling bills, but many popular edible plant varieties need a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight. Attempting to grow tomatoes or peppers in anything less will probably lead to garden let-down. For the Russell family, that left just one small, sunny, sliver on the left side of the couple’s Myers Park bungalow.  And while the site may be slender, it has several advantages that make it a suitable site for an organic garden. Most importantly, it receives a nearly a full day of sun exposure, from mid spring through late fall. The garden area lies alongside a brick pathway, just outside the back door, sidestepping the long hike and muddy boots many gardeners live with. A bank of windows conveniently looks right out onto the garden, and a nearby spigot makes hand watering fast and easy.

By request, we built the Russells’ two 3’x8’ Kitchen Garden raised beds 21” tall - a little taller than the Kitchen Garden’s standard 18” height. The raised beds are made with untreated Eastern Red Cedar, which is famously resistant to insects and decay. The Kitchen Garden design’s height and seating cap make working in the garden way more comfortable for gardeners, and nearly impossible for rabbits to get into. 

We fill our raised beds with an OMRI approved organic soil blend that contains no native soil. This soilless mix of pine bark fines, mushroom compost and slate pebbles stays light and loamy, maintaining excellent drainage and soil aeration season after season.  

And to free up a little more family time and help ensure consistent watering - even when the family is away on vacation - we installed a Netafim 1/2” drip irrigation system in the garden beds. The drip system is connected it to the property’s main irrigation system, which allows the Russells to adjust and automate their organic garden’s watering schedule from the main irrigation control panel.

With plenty of sunlight, premium organic soil, and automated watering, the Russells' are well on their way to a prize winning organic garden. Is your property too shaded for an organic garden? Have another look - you just may find a nice little nook with everything you need.




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