Zoning the Edible Garden

This is the last post in a short series describing the components in the edible garden. I first talked about the Irrigation Plan, and then goals and random pieces of the master edible garden plan. Now I’m going to show you my edible garden’s zones. If you haven’t noticed by now, the garden design isn’t a small raised bed at the end of the yard. Last year I had the raised beds at the end of the yard, and after going through the zoning exercise, I realize my error.

The first time I heard about zones, I thought it was pretty silly. Why? Now that I have done this, everything seems be to be falling into place. It makes sense where to put something and why they are there. It made me really think what the needs are of the plant or an element and intentionally locate it. It puts the garden efficiency to a new level.

Zone 1 is closest to the house and where I go everyday. This is where the greenhouse and compost pile are located. I have included part of the banana circle in this zone because it’s a modified compost pile.

One of the key elements here is the linear herb garden around the patio. I have travelled enough times in the cold and the dark to grab herbs to complete a recipe. It will be nice to have them right outside the back door.

Also, the compost bin has recently been relocated from the back of zone 3 to zone 1. It’s amazing how much more efficient things have become with just a few simple changes.

One of my favorite future projects in this zone is the worm bin next to the greenhouse. Dropping off food scraps for the worms won’t be too much trouble.

Zone 2  is where I go maybe not everyday, but often and it’s still close to the house. The annual gardens are here. I’m a believer it should much closer to the house now. It’s hard to see what’s going on if you can barely see it, much less want to walk that far.

The important element in zone 2 is the distance to the water hose. Before I had to buy an additional hose to reach the back of the yard. I first put the tree collards in the back of zone 3. Zone 2 is the perfect spot for the kitchen garden full of seasonal produce.

Zone 3 is where I go the less often.  Maybe I visit this zone a few times a week.  Plants here shouldn’t need much attention or water once established. Hopefully never if my irrigation plan holds true. This zone is the bulk of the garden and where most of the trees are located.

Zone 4 is the furthest from the house, and where I go least often. This is the alley beyond the fence. I’ll have to drag the mower back there occasionally. Maybe I’ll seed this area if I have enough seed to cover it. Other times I go to this zone when the neighbor waves me over to offer me some unwanted plants.

Isn’t this idea a no brainer? From what I’ve seen from other gardens, zones have different shapes and sizes. Some even have fewer zones or more zones. Since this is the plan, it will be interesting to see if the zones hold true in a year or so.

Zones are used every where: buildings, offices, classrooms, homes, cities… why not zone the garden too?

UPDATED: As I continue to learn, it’s possible my zoning off. I wouldn’t say it’s wrong because it still gets the point across, but I learned that my garden is all zone 1 and 2. My zone 3 and 4 are technically all 2 as are most urban gardens. I suggest listening to Episode 1312 for a good permaculture zone explanation.

credits & resources: my garden cadd work // geofflawton.com // thesurvivalpodcast.com

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