This winter I want to turn a small strip of ground under an ugly utility easement into our "Pocket Farm." My husband and I will build a series of back-saving and gopher-thwarting raised beds, like the corrugated-metal-and-wood ones we saw at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show.
We'll assemble another worm bin, compost bins, a fence, tool shed and an arbor. Plans include a fountain and birdbath, fruit trees, and a critter-enticing perimeter planting of native Ribes (currants), coffee berry and ceanothus. Wild California roses will scramble up a wooden fence, absorb city sounds and provide nesting places for birds.
The raised beds in the new area will give me space for plants that need a full day of sunlight. I'm penciling in berries, beans (I'm trying fava beans for the first time), squash, and a big helping of salad greens, edible flowers and herbs.
I'm excited and, although I haven't planted a seed or a slip, I can already visualize how this new little patch of ground will look. For me anticipation is always 50 percent of the joy of a garden.
How about your yard? Go outside and look for eyesores such as utility poles, guy wires, air conditioners and electrical boxes. Now get out your paper and pencil and list some of your favorite plants or garden accents to give that area a face lift. Sketch, erase, dream ... and you'll begin your growing season with a fresh start.
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