Thursday, May 24, 2012

Kitchen Garden Plans

Taken from The Country Gentleman 1854

Where all the work is done with the spade, and no ornamental planting is desired, the plan furnished by our correspondent ("A Pupil of the Cultivator,") is a simple and good one, and no doubt as well adapted to the intended purpose as any we could furnish. In the country, where horse labor is always at command, a great saving is effected by laying out the kitchen garden so as to admit the use of the plow, subsoiler, cultivator, and harrow.

In the above figure (Fig 1), we have endeavored to show an arrangement for this purpose, where dwarf fruits trees, currant and gooseberry bushes, &c., are planted in continuous rows across the garden; the crops of vegetables being panted between, and the whole cultivated by a horse, which turns about at the ends on the spaces or alleys, a, a. The flower garden and ornamental part occupy a strip at the centre, on each side of tho alley, b, b. If desired this part may be wholly omitted. Fig 2, shows the more common way of laying out kitchen gardens into quarters, where, it will be observed, horse labor can not be introduced."

Here we have an illustration of "the more common way of laying out kitchen gardens into quarters". Notice they are not calling this a German Four Square Garden.

From The Gardener's Text-Book 1851

By the phrase "Internal Arrangements", we mean the division of the garden into quarters borders beds walks etc This laying out the ground must be regulated wholly by the taste of the gardener and we therefore venture to offer only a few hints in regard thereto instead of giving precise directions As far as our opinion may be worthy of notice we should recommend regular divisions made by the square and line Such are most easily laid out and most conveniently kept in order Serpentine walks with crescent star or bean shaped beds are all very appropriate for the flower garden but they seem hardly suited for such humble tenants as cabbages potatoes and onions It is a rule to be constantly borne in mind by the proprietor of a kitchen garden that his main object be utility rather than ornament.

At least one path should be of sufficient width to admit the wagon or cart which will be required at certain seasons to bring in dung or to carry off produce Foot paths need not be over three feet wide and the alleys between the beds not over twelve or eighteen inches The border extends all around the garden and is from six to ten feet wide with a foot path in front The beds ought to be narrow say four or five feet wide such being the most easy to cultivate The numerous alleys of course occupy a great deal of room but they possess the advantages of convenience and neatness in enabling the workmen to clean or gather the crops without trampling upon the beds The principal paths might be dug out to tire depth of two feet or more and then become places of deposit for the stones removed from the quarters A thin layer of gravel tan or even common earth would render the paths hard and dry to the feet at all seasons.

In connection with the above hints a diagram or plan of our own garden may be deemed not out of place It will be found on the following page It is in the shape of a parallelogram running east and west with the entrance on the south side The border inside the fence is about eight feet wide that part facing the west smith and east is adapted for such plants as require a warm exposure and the other for such as need shelter from the mid day sun In front of the border is a foot path three feet wide Directly in the centre of the garden is the tool house beneath which is a good location for a cistern Here meet the four principal paths winch divide the large plat into four equal parts or quarters as they are generally called by English gardeners These paths are of sufficient width to admit the wagon which can turn around the tool house and return through the same path so as to avoid the necessity of having more than one entrance The quarters are of equal size so that a four year rotation of crops may readily be observed The tool house and cistern being in the centre are convenient of access from every part of the grounds Currants gooseberries raspberries and quinces are set out on the edges of the principal paths running north and south and the grape vines are trained upon the fence Dwarf fruit trees might be placed in the border where neither their roots nor their tops would be likely to occasion much injury.

 This short description will enable any intelligent reader who approves of the plan to adopt it with such modifications as his own taste may suggest.

Although in this business of laying out a garden ornament is a mere secondary consideration yet perfect regularity and neatness are attained with little extra labor and they will certainly add much to the gardener's interest in the spot. The eccentric William Cobbett said that it is quite as reasonable for a man to take pleasure in a garden which is tastefully arranged and tidily kept as it is for a woman to delight in a fine dress and he will be as anxious to preserve the neat appearance of the beds and walks as she to protect her gown from dust or grease from being faded by the sun or eaten by moths. We all take best care of that which is most pleasant to the eye."

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