The 2019 garden beds of Mezzacello. After five years of trial and error, research and learning from failure and success, this is the optimal configuration of garden beds for the potager gardens at Mezzacello. There are some lessons learned along the way:

  • The strong southern exposure of light is optimized.
  • The main axis north and south has a wider access path.
  • Situated directly adjacent to the poultry and rabbit yard.
  • Clean pathways for ambulation, planting, harvesting and weeding.
  • Beds no wider than an arm’s reach.
  • Zones along the fence line to manage invasive weeds.
  • Microclimate bedding with permaculture structures for maximum water retention.
  • In place lasagna gardening and soil amendments.
  • Structured edging to make weeding and mowing easier.
  • A central east west access route wide enough for a truck.
  • A north west walkway wide enough for carts and tools.
  • Burlap mulching to control and manage weeds.
  • Modified paths to make fence-adjacent beds accessible.
  • Weed cloth and hardwood mulching in pathways.
  • A complete picket fence to enclose the garden.
  • Rabbit proof fencing behind pickets to deter wild rabbits.
  • Electricity to power security lights to discourage human invaders.
  • Vertical trellises and structures for optimizing vining plant yields.
  • Tomatoes have been relegated outside the main beds to control seed drop.
  • Garden beds optimized for easy to grow/store rooting vegetables.
  • Leafy vegetables grown vertically, or using hydroponics

I have learned many lessons over the past four seasons. I believe this garden to be the optimal configuration for this environment. My last hurdle is proper irrigation. That is this summer’s experiment. Wish me luck. Especially since the police are concerned that I have so many apparent grave sites situated on my property. I told them I promise to not use gravestones to denote what crop is growing where, as gravestones cast a shadow.
My main challenge now is watering these garden bed configurations properly. I am already monitoring the weather and programming the automatic watering system to not water if it’s raining, but the tractor I use to disperse the 30′ radius watering circle along the 24′ path is not very efficient, needs to be reset twice daily, and sometimes loses water pressure as I live in downtown Columbus and the city does not adequately pressurize the water supply. Another challenge, but I am up for it.

The plan view of the four-quadrant urban gardens at Mezzacello Jim Bruner | Mezzacello

View of the urban garden ecosystem from above Jim Bruner | Mezzacello

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