March 20, 2017

More Garden Circles for Mootopia!

This is what the Mootopia garden looked like last year.  Not bad for a newbie gardener, huh?
 It is built on an old asphalt tennis court that is 60 ft by 120 ft.  Part of it was turned into a sand volleyball court years ago by the previous owner and it had since filled with weeds.  Rather than invest in repaving, or removing the asphalt, we instead decided to build a garden here since it was the only sunny spot left in our yard.  So we laid down a bunch of wood chips and put Garden Circles all over it.  Almost 50 fit into the north end of the garden.  We called a local excavator to bring us a couple truckloads of good rich cattle compost based soil and made some awesome gardens.   It was a lot for us newbies to take care of, so we invited other to join us.  We had a family friend take over one corner and her squash grew all the way up the 10 ft fence!  

If you'd like to learn more about our first season of gardening, check out our previous blog post “The Food Court at Mootopia” - Birthplace of Garden Circles

This is how last year’s garden was laid out.  The greenhouse did not actually get finished before snowfall and still does not have any permanent beds in it.  

This is what we hope the garden will look like by the end of this year.

We are going to add 20 more garden circles.  Each one will be 5 ft diameter with the exception of one with a custom and experimental 7 ft diameter.  We are tall people and hopefully it won’t prove to be too big to manage the center.
The arrangement of the Garden Circles was meant to maximize grow area while also providing interesting spaces to occupy.  Think hammock and lemonade.
We will take last year’s straw and turn it into one huge potato “lazy bed”.  New bales will hold most of our tomatoes.  I would like to put a few in the greenhouse, too, and see if they are more productive.
We will add a large line of rhubarb and asparagus along the west wall.  I like perennial and easy to grow things like those because they just keep coming back every year.  You almost can’t get rid of them.  #EasyFood  10 best perenials
We will be adding grapes. Some sort of a concord that grows really well at a friend’s house only a few miles from our place.   Additionally, we will be transplanting some currant bushes we have into that area.  That will make for a nice array of jellies and fruit sauces next fall.
I want to set up a space to grow a bunch of strawberries somehow.  I haven’t decided what the best approach for that is, yet.  I like the strawberry troughs that are set up at HUG, where I work, but they freeze out every year.   Should I do that or put them in the greenhouse, or put them in with the asparagus where they will last several years?  I’m open to advice.
Wooden troughs at the Hunt Utilities Group - Resilient Living Research Campus.  These are made from thermally treated rot resistant wood with no questionable chemicals.  Learn more here.
Also, we will get into growing mushrooms.  I want to try whatever we can grow in logs and woodchips, especially Winecaps.  We have a local mushroom company Fruits Nuts and Vegetables Farms that I will be calling on for my supplies and spawn. Any mushroom growing tips are welcome.
Stay tuned for updates.  If you are planting in Garden Circles this year, give us a shout out and let us know how they’re growing.

-Ryan, aka King Moo

Thank you for taking the time to read about my newbie garden journeys in Mootopia. I’m running a Kickstarter right now to help support our Garden Circles effort. Check it out here (ONLY ONE WEEK LEFT). There’s an awesome video with a cat in a hat-bandana combo. As a part of the Kickstarter, we’re donating a bunch of Garden Circles to community gardens and garden programs through, so let your local garden programs know!