Our head gardener, Elena Hughes, has been working tirelessly these last few weeks to prepare the garden for a huge expansion next season. The current garden space is 2,300 square feet, and this expansion will enlarge it to 13,200 square feet. Relocating the chickens and ducks gives us access to the land they have been fertilizing and opens up the garden and greenhouse space. New chicks will be added in the spring, and through a chicken tractor, they will be able to move around the property. In her experience, Elena says, that is when they are happiest and most productive.
So why are we expanding the garden from .05 acres to .3 acres? The obvious answer, to grow more food, of course applies. But Elena has a bigger vision than simply creating more produce. “My ideal garden is a growing space but also an enjoyment space. Of course, the primary goal is to grow food sustainably and efficiently, but I also like the idea of a garden being a place that people can come to enjoy and read a book or spark interesting conversation,” Elena explains. The vision is to create an inviting space for guests of Boulder Mountain Guest Ranch to explore what’s growing and ask questions about the food they are enjoying in Sweetwater Kitchen.
There will be many features of this new garden space. First, there will be a food tunnel, which is an above-ground structure built from metal grid fences or wood that allow trellising crops to grow over them. This creates a living, green tunnel to walk through. There will be all different shapes and sizes of beds throughout the garden, allowing for grassy pathways to flow through the various parts of the garden.
Near the center of the garden will be an area of either a circle of stump seats, a series of benches, or a grassy area with a shade structure over it. This will be a space surrounded by beautiful beds of vegetables and flowers for meetings, talks, discussions, and the like available for the many workshops, events, and retreats we host at BMGR. There will be bean and pea teepees, which are just that – a teepee structure with beans/peas growing over them with an opening on one side. Guests will be able to sit inside with the plants around them. And finally, there will be a new section dedicated to pumpkin, watermelon, and winter squash patches.
We are very excited about these changes and new additions to our garden. For now, we are preparing and winterizing the earth. Come spring, the building of the structures and planting of the season’s produce will begin. Stay tuned… as the ranch becomes even more beautiful, and Sweetwater Kitchen’s menu even fresher.