Clearing the community path and separating seedlings
Nothing feels more like Spring than planting a garden, and at the New Norris House that's exactly what happened this weekend. Mary, Eric, and I spent some time doing general yard maintenance, and we also planted the raised vegetable beds. The beds were designed and built by students last summer, and we used stockpiled dirt from the house foundation excavation to fill the beds. We also added any vegetative waste produced from clearing the invasive plants, and let the soil sit all winter long. Now it is a beautiful, rich soil filled with worms and ready to produce!
We began by properly spacing all the plants before digging any holes
See the rich, dark soil under the hay?
We planted rainbow swiss chard, red cabbage, cauliflower, heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, carrots, fennel, arugula, gourds, and cucumbers. We also planted zinnias for cut flowers and to attract pollinators. In a few months we should have a huge harvest. Keep your fingers crossed and maybe we can add a County Fair Biggest Vegetable Award to our accomplishments!
As part of our efforts to collect and re-use the rainwater that falls on our site, our vegetable beds will be irrigated via a 200 gallon cistern located at the low end of the beds. The irrigation cistern is currently full of rainwater and ready to be used. We're looking forward to a summer of sustainable farming - right in the backyard!
The New Norris House is a design/build effort from the University of Tennessee's College of Architecture and Design. Began in 2009, the home was designed and built by UT students in collaboration with Clayton Homes. The built project is now complete and the final phase of the project has begun. A team of 4 people (2 living in the home, and 2 graduate researchers) will rigorously document the experience via qualitative assessments and quantitative measurements, posting results to this blog.