The first year we spent several weeks removing grass and weeds. We ended up with four 3'x25' beds and three 4'x25' beds. All the paths are 3' wide. The Giving Garden is entirely supported by volunteer time and donations. Because the location is so visible, Project Grow wanted the garden to look neat all the time. To help make the space more manageable, we laid landscape fabric on all the paths but covered it with straw to look more natural. The straw also prevents the fabric from breaking down from UV sunlight after a season.
Many of the beds are also covered with landscape fabric topped with straw. This keeps the weeding to a minimum. In the fall of 2012 we dug three yards of compost into the beds and the garden was considerably more productive in 2013.
In 2013 we planted asparagus, strawberries and raspberries in three of the 3' beds. This coming year we will be putting in 5 blueberry plants in the last 3' bed. Putting in the perennials serve several purposes.
- Fresh fruit and asparagus are not commonly donated to food pantries and but they will be showing up at the Back Door Food Pantry, where we donate what we grow.
- Perennial crops allow the harvest season to begin earlier.
- While not necessarily less work than annual crops like tomatoes and beans, most of work for perennial plants is needed at different times of year than the work for annual crops.
- Once the perennials become established, we hope that they will also serve as a demonstration garden for people interested in growing these crops at home.
If you would like to get involved with the Giving Garden, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will put you to work!