Defining the garden
As promised, I pulled together a list of unordered requirements for the “Peak Oil Garden Project”. These are intended for general use, rather than a specific size garden in a specific area. We’ll deal with that later.
So, here are what I consider important requirements for an easy-to-maintain, productive organic garden. Feel free to comment on these, as my domain expertise in the field of gardening is very limited.
The garden shall ensure all plants are within X inches of a walking point.
Your value for “X” will vary depending on your own arm reach or if you want it to be accessible for children. A typical value (per Square Foot Gardening) is 24 inches.
The garden shall have walking paths greater than X inches in width.
A good rule of thumb would be about twice the width of your foot at a minimum.
The garden shall be mulched to a depth of X inches. Mulching specifications are found in the document “Mulching Guidelines” [TBD later].
I’ll work on putting together an actual mulching guidelines based on my readings and your comments.
The garden shall reuse all organic waste, excepting diseased plants or soil.
This can be accomplished using a compost pile, turning dead plants back into the soil, or simply using the plants as mulch directly.
The garden shall use only organic pesticides and fertilizers as defined in the document “Specifications for Organic Gardening” [TBD later].
Hard-wiring this idea into your requirements should help keep your hand firm every time you have an urge to reach for a bottle of commercial bug spray. (I’ll try to find a ready-made document to fill this niche – I’m sure some exist.)
The garden shall have no less than X different plant species.
The garden shall have at least 2 varieties.
These requirements help ensure biodiversity in the garden.
The garden shall be enclosed with a barrier per the document “Garden Barrier Specification” [TBD later].
This requirement is for guarding against critters. If something like a fence is impractical (e.g. a large lot), you can rewrite it so that you can use natural barrier strategies such as putting peppers on the garden perimeter. If you don’t have or anticipate such a problem with hungry animals you could probably exclude this requirement.