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The summer of 2009 marks a turning point in my occupation of this house. My beloved high-maintenance Long-haired German Shepherd, Django, has passed on at the age of eleven and a half, leaving me and my pug, Sophia Loren, with a lot of space and time to fill. Now retired caterers to Django’s every need and want, we are both quietly traumatized, sad, and disoriented. It is a good moment to embark on a new project that will keep at least one of us very busy and give both of us a feeling of a new life beginning here.

The lasagna beds have also gone. So has the lawn. Although I’ve kept the organic material that I used to make  my lasagna garden, I have embarked on a project to transform my garden into a vegetable garden, or potager, a term I learned from Joy Larkcom’s Creative Vegetable Gardening. The idea is to create a vegetable garden that is pleasing to the eye as well as the stomach. I have hired a contractor, Jeff von Rötz, to put into action my plans.

He first had his crew removed the lawn and all the shrubbery along the fence. The next phase will involve digging and installing a large water-reclamation sump that will both collect rain water over the year and take from the city water system for the drip irrigation that will nourish my garden. A sump pump will channel excess water out to the sewer. Then Jeff’s crew will grade the yard and bring in soil to supplement the mulched lasagna garden organic material.

While all that excitement is taking place, I will be in London, where Ann, Jonathan, and I will sketch the arrangement of the raised beds that Jeff will build when I return in mid-July. Sophia the pug will remain in charge while I’m gone. I have in mind reserving the deck for sitting, creating a dining and grill area on the ground at the foot of the deck, and creating two crescent herb beds with a trellis portal between them to separate the dining area from the potager. I will have the raised beds arrayed in an attractive fashion and make the paths between them consist of some kind of golden straw-colored mulch. Larkcom’s book has given me lots of ideas.

The timing does not work for a harvest this summer, but when I return from the UK, I anticipate germinating seeds for my winter potager. In the meantime, my garden grows.

Updated, 6/11/09: Jeff’s crew have dug the pit for the reclamation tank. Why did I expect it to be circular?

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