So maybe in the fourth year of developing the Vee Garden , I’m coming to a new understanding of its potential and its place in the bigger scheme of things. Maybe a new executive summary that defines ,succinctly, the design and objectives, is due for that update. Not that the original concept has changed, but that I can see more clearly the applications for this unique contribution to gardening and food.
These four years have provided some ‘proof of concept’, generated many answers and created a tool for asking and answering alot more questions. For that matter, I feel like I’ve just started to scratch the surface of what the seemingly limitless variables this garden design might hold.
It’s a good idea to outline some of the key themes that I’ve landed upon in trying to define the system for purposes of my own exploration:
1.) A kit of parts- because of the diversity of plants found in the typical garden (and all of these different types of plants have a wide range of individual needs and habits) it seems like the gardening methods that address the garden space as a two-dimensional , one-size-fits-all approach could be improved upon by catering to the uniqueness of the different plant types.
To accomplish this task, as a gardener, It’s alot harder to tweak so many variables without first defining the ‘plant’, the microclimate and the soil, then having the facility to isolate and manage each of these variables to some degree.
2.) Having a flexible system that can respond to use and abuse is a good start, but more important is the modular, light-weight portability. The usefulness of this characteristic is both for a configuration of plantings that optimizes microclimates, but also can be managed to create microclimates.
3.) One key feature of the garden design provided by the Vee Garden System is its vertical structure with varying levels of planting wells. In the upper portions , heat-loving plants which form a canopy. In the mid and lower planting wells , smaller understory plantings can take advantage of the partial shade which might serve their growing conditions.
4.) The notion of planting strategies that explore the companion planting opportunities that serve this terraced effect can allow for a wider variety of plant material and , also, increase productivity.
5.) This layering of plants within the same structure gives rise to a consideration of soils for each of the different planting wells- if the soils are separate or designed to be contiguous. The management of nutrients and water conservation can be more easily considered.
6.)Starting the season with good soil is important, but the ability to improve the soils and have the decomposting micronutrients readily available to the plants during the growing season is key to the gardener and the garden. The essential definition of sustainability. Redefining permaculture. Defining a unique ecosystem.
7.) In managing these soils, along with the attention to soil quantity, the flexibility of the system can , also allow for variables in soil depth/ volume to accommodate the needs of individual plants.
8.) With all these variables and the ability to create and manage limitless combinations, there is also the choice ,during the growing season, to move and reconfigure the individual planters as a response to unforeseen circumstances ( ie. poor planning in the beginning or unexpected consequences of greater or lesser than anticipated growth of specific plants, requiring an adjustment).
9.)Of course, one of the greatest features of this system , is that it’s completely containerized. It sits on any flat( or relatively flat) surface where there can be found a source of water, heat and light , adequate for plants.