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IDEA: The beginning of a garden


I have walkedIMG_4751 past this island in our parking lot for two years now.






When I came here, it had blueberry bushes in it. They didn’t remain long. A single glimpse of the soil suggests several reasons why.








As a gardener, I can hardly stand seeing this space unused! It is opportunity waiting! I could spend HOURS on Pinterest coming up with ideas and ways to use the space, ways for it to come alive with plants and all things garden. I can see its potential, despite the fact that the soil is rocky, needs organic matter, and that the bed is surrounded by asphalt. A gardener always sees potential!

When starting a new garden, it is important to know how big the area is. We want to know its area, or square footage. We’ll use this figure to determine lots of things, like how much compost to add, how many plants we’ll need, and how much mulch we’ll need to cover it. The garden is roughly in the shape of the letter “D”, with the long length measuring 30 feet. Its width at the largest point is 11 feet. To calculate the area of the garden, I imagined two triangles. Now, I tend to think a little differently than others, so if you have a better way to figure area, go to it!

bed outlineSo, the area of a triangle is 1/2(base x height). Yes, that high school geometry is working for me! In this case, I have a total length of 30′, so the height of one triangle is 15′. The length is 11′. Here goes the math:

1/2(15×11) = 1/2(165) = 82.5 square feet for the area of one of those triangles

Double that for the approximate area of the entire bed and you have 165 square feet.

Now, wait a minute, you say. There is some area unaccounted for, hanging out of those triangles. Yes, you do, on paper. If if makes you feel better, round up to 200 square feet. We’ll use this measurement frequently in the course of developing this garden. (Yes, I did say “we,” because aren’t you already curious?)

So, how will we fill 200 square feet? Let us count the ways! I need to think about what I want to accomplish with this garden, site conditions, money, and of course, personal preference. Hmm, I do feel some Pinterest study time coming on, don’t you?


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About sdorn

Sheri is the State Coordinator for the Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Program and Extension Specialist for Consumer Ornamentals. When she is not traveling about the state of Georgia admiring the work of Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteers, she spends time in her own (real and virtual) gardens.