As I mentioned in my previous post, I have selected a sunny hill top with a southern slope for the location of Rukmapura’s community garden. I made this decision after learning (from Eliot Coleman’s Four Season Harvest) that “every increase in degree of slope of the land to the south improves the soil-warming effects of the sun.”
This site is also ideal because–as you can see in the background—there is a line of evergreen trees and shrubs (just north of where the garden will be) which will serve as a windbreak. *Cold winds can dramatically reduce soil temperature, so windbreaks are especially important in the winter.
Also–this spot is directly south of the hotel, and located within Zone 1 (very short walking distance). Also in Zone 1, and directly east of the garden (not so close that it blocks the morning sun) is a shed which contains all tools necessary for garden work. *This is an example of relative location (having to do with the permaculture principle “connect”). –By placing the garden near the tool shed, a useful relationship and time-saving connection is being made.
Yesterday, I cleared out the tall weeds, and used old railroad ties to create the garden’s foundation. *Upon breaking ground, I found the existing soil to be very rocky; so I have decided to haul in top soil for the raised beds.
Today, I continued building up the beds. First, I created a southern slope (for increased soil warming) and then lined the south facing portion of the northern most railroad ties with concrete blocks which will absorb heart during the day, and radiate it into the soil at night.
*I am in the process of covering the rest of the wooden frame with concrete roofing tiles–for further heat absorption/radiation. I have also added wooden trellises along the north and west sides of the beds–for climbing plants (such as peas and beans).
Because the garden bed is situated on the upper half of the existing hill, cold air will move way from it. This will happen due to the fact that cold hair is heavier than warm air; and so it will flow down the hill’s slope and collect in the valley at the bottom. *This means that on frosty nights, the garden will have a better chance of escaping light freezes.