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Nursery Garden

August 18th, 2016

In previous posts, when I mention that I have a nursery garden, there are always lots of questions about what exactly this is. I figured it deserved a dedicated post, to explain the method to the madness that is my nursery garden. There’s an area in my main vegetable garden that is dedicated to growing out perennials. I have been known to purchase plants without having a place in the borders for them, this is now the spot they get planted as soon as I get home.
nursery garden area 1
Each year, the nursery area grows as I acquire more plants than I have garden space for. Some of these I purchase with a specific spot in mind, but that garden bed isn’t prepared for perennials yet. We have some difficult weeds here that must be completely eradicated before planting new perennials, otherwise the perennials would be choked out in a few years. It’s much easier to deal with invasive weeds when there are no perennials in the garden. My nursery bed is a place where plants can go into the ground while they wait a year or two for their new space to be weed free. They grow out and sometimes reach their mature size. I also like growing out plants in a nursery bed because a new garden area can be filled with mature plants for instant impact.
nursery garden area 2
The nursery bed is also a space where I plant starts I get from other gardens. In this type of garden I can easily see if there are any perennial weed hitchhikers in with the new plants. It’s much easier to deal with them in a nursery bed area than if they are planted directly into a mature garden bed.
nursery garden area 3
Another reason to plant in a nursery bed is to monitor how the plants like your soil and environment. I often purchase one plant and monitor how it grows before deciding to plant in en masse in the garden. This can save you a bundle when decided on a specific cultivar for a hedge. It also gives me an idea of how fast the plant grows and if it has a tendency to become a nuisance as a seeder or spreader. I also like to watch how the plant grows and what shape it takes one, sometimes things grow larger than the tag says they will, sometimes they grow smaller. Growing them out in a nursery bed gives me a better sense of where they need to go in the garden.
nursery garden area
Having a dedicated nursery area also allows me to spend less time managing plants. I’m less likely to forget to water cuttings and small plants if they are all located in one area. For me, it makes sense to keep them all in one area and move them as they mature and as I decide where they would perform best in the garden. My nursery bed area is roughly 500 square feet and it seems to get larger each year. I’m in the process of starting boxwood for a hedge, so it will get bigger before it gets smaller.

Do you have a dedicated nursery area?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.