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Order in the vegetable garden...with a bold trellis and box system.

Order in the vegetable garden . . . with a bold trellis and box system

An annual cornucopia of flowers, fruits, and vegetables overflows this raised-bed garden in Lake Oswego, Oregon. The plants keep landscape architect John Herbst and his friends well supplied through summer with more than 25 kinds of edibles and multitudes of cut flowers.

The orderly garden has 15 raised beds and a long perimeter bed--in all, about 1,000 square feet of gardening surface. Some of the beds include wooden structures that allow Herbst to train climbing beans, apples, and grapevines.

To create a unified look, Herbst repeated design features throughout the garden. With the exception of one hexagonal planter, the raised beds are 4 feet wide--a width that keeps plants within arm's reach. The lengths of the beds vary: most are 16 feet, but the one defining the back boundary runs unbroken for 110 feet. Between the beds lie 30-inch-wide graveled pathways. For weed control, a 3-inch-thick layer of 1/2-inch crushed granite covers 4-mil plastic laid on the pathways.

All the wood used in the garden was pressure treated and stained gray-green to match the house. Wooden trim on planters and posts adds an enriching shadow detail.

The raised beds. Whether part of the perimeter trellises or the central beds, each planter has similar construction details. The sides are made of two 2-by-6s nailed to 2-by-4 stakes on the inside face. A 1/4-by 1-inch piece of lath masks the center seam, and vertical 1-by-4s mask the end butt joints. Capping the beds' sides are 2-by-4s with mitered corners.

The trellises. Herbst used one basic structure to train all of his vines. Along the property line, the trellis carries 4-foot-high, galvanized-wire farm fencing stretched between vertical posts (both to keep neighbor's pets out and to train the apples). Where needed for training vines on the other units, 1-by-1s form a vertical screen.

For the trellis in the sketch, the 4-by-4 posts are set 30 inches into the ground and spaced 4 feet apart on center. Pairs of 2-by-4s flank the post tops and tie them together. The 30-inch-wide top level is like a horizontal ladder: 1-by-4 rails have 2-by-2 rungs spaced 7 inches apart. The 2-by-2s protrude 1/2 inch above the top of the rails for a subtly crenelated profile.

As the sketch shows, the vertical 1-by-1s of the vine screens mount to 2-by-4s at top and bottom and to an intermediate 1-by-2 running horizontally between the posts. Herbst continued the line of these horizontal boards by wrapping the posts with butt-jointed trim. This detail repeats on all the trellis posts in the garden.

The soil. Herbst improved the basically rich native soil by adding mushroom compost and sand. He uses no commercial fertilizer but adds bone meal for some plants and lime for his lettuce (it's an acid soil). He located three hose bibbs around the garden, and hand-waters each bed to avoid overhead sprinkling. Because of western Oregon's relatively cool summers, he needs to water only twice a week.

Photo: Structure combines raised bed, vertical screen for training vines, decorative horizontal ladder top. Sketch shows spacing and size of wooden parts. You can change the size of the bed to suit your garden's area

Photo: Vegetable-washing sump, under wire grate, consists of a sunken 5-gallon plastic bucket with its bottom removed

Photo: Draped with beans and grapevines, garden-defining trellis rises from raised bed. Golden-faced gloriosa daisies (Rudbeckia hirta) fill cut-flower bed at summer's end (right)

Photo: Overall view shows the many faised beds and the perimeter trellis that steps down the sloping lot. Foreground bed contains Brussels sprouts and broccli
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jul 1, 1986
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