The Corner Lot
This garden is composed of 2 parcels that once contained houses. The house on the western lot was razed decades ago, and the house on the corner burned down, and was razed in 2011. Both foundation sites were filled with low-quality fill dirt, which contains lots of gravel. The sites were not thoroughly excavated and much of the houses remains buried underground. Large foundation stone footers, and fill dirt in the ground made it difficult to dig into the soil for gardening. In an effort to avoid the intense digging that would be required, Franklinton Gardens decided to construct raised bed hugelkultur systems over much of the lot.
In 2013, a high tunnel was constructed at the back of the lot. High tunnels are a great way to extend the growing season. Our high tunnel has a retractable south facing dome, as well as retractable side walls. The tunnel absorbs the heat of the sunlight and stores it in the high tunnel, allowing plants inside to enjoy higher temperatures during cold months. High tunnels also help reduce weed and plant disease problems.
High tunnels must have a watering system, as rain water is not able to get in. There are gutters on the high tunnel, that are connected to large rain barrels, which supply water for a drip irrigation system. This system allows us to control the amount of water our plants receive, independently of the weather.
Many of the beds at this lot are hugelkulturs. This is a German word which translates to “mound culture,” and it’s a great way to grow plants. The basic construction includes a layer of wood, covered with plenty of nitrogenous material (fertilizer or grass clippings/green stuff), which is covered with soil. The wood is rich in carbon, and as it decomposes the microbes feed on the nitrogen. Over a few years, a great soil is made for growing plants. It is important that there’s enough nitrogen in the pile, or else the decomposing wood will steal the nitrogen from the upper layers that needs to go to the plants(nitrogen draw-down). Using wood that is already rotten will help reduce this problem, and takes much less time to create a great mound to grow in. Learn more about hugelkulturs at Rapunzel Garden and Harvey’s Place Garden.