In fall of 2011, I posted about starting up a new salad garden. Click here for the post, and here for a 2012 update. Our salad greens were being picked from different garden areas and you had to wander around a lot to get from one to another. My thinking for the new garden was to get all or most of the salad veggies into one place to make it more convenient to go out and pick a salad. Kind of like a supermarket aisle entirely devoted to salad, except ours would have lots more variety and cost a lot less.
I made the salad garden in the shape of a keyhole; that is, a three sided garden bed with a central pathway. It could be called a horseshoe garden if the pathway were a more rounded shape. The idea of a keyhole garden derives from permaculture. It makes better use of a garden-able area than rows; maximizing plant-growing space while minimizing pathways.
For a salad garden a keyhole seemed like a perfect shape. You can walk into it with your picking basket and pick your salad greens along one side of the path, and wander out while doing the same along the other side. This little trip should theoretically fill your basket with lettuces, greens, green onions and whatever else is growing at the time for your daily salad.
Before making the garden, I had visualized it, mentally walking in and picking. I do this with all of my new garden areas. Visualizing, for me is a lot easier than drawing a plan on paper; a little map showing the shape of the garden bed and where to put each of the plants. A paper plan almost never pans out in reality. There are always changes. Visualizing lets me rethink things on the fly, and is a system that works. It’s only afterwards that I draw a diagram of what I did. See our earlier post on keeping a notebook. The notebook helps to keep track of what was planted and where.
|The Salad Garden as viewed from the back|
The salad garden that I visualized, and then shoveled and raked into existence is working very well. It’s pretty much like I had imagined it. You can walk in and pick chives, lettuce, and arugula along one side. At the far end, yank out a perennial onion and snatch some lovage leaves. On your way out, snip some pieces of upland cress, nab some nasturtium leaves and, if you like, pull up a singular clove of wild garlic. There’s also Giant Red Mustard (great stuff!), and some self-seeded cilantro is starting up.
So many flavors all in one place!. We gather a salad every day, and this garden makes it easy and a real pleasure. It is functional, handy, and convenient. We do love a good salad, and now it’s so easy to pick! -jmm