J.M.B. Greengardens, L.L.C .    
A green approach to the design & construction of edible & ornamental gardens
Building your garden     

Getting your garden built.          Return to Table of Contents               

     There are many routes to getting your garden built, depending upon your needs and preferences. Normally, this would begin with setting up a consultation and preliminary site evaluation. During this consultation, we can discuss your requirements, preferences, favorite plants and garden features, the way you intend to use the space, the types of gardens which would best for the space, maintenance options, and so forth. I am happy to offer ideas and suggestions, and the design process is flexible, whether you wish to be very specific or would prefer to leave it all to me once I have an idea of what you are looking for. 

     Should we decide that we are a good fit, I can either draw up a site plan for your approval, reflecting our discussion, at which point we can make any revisions before proceeding, or you may, as above, leave it to me after a brief check-in to assure that we are in accord. In either case I will conduct a more thorough site evaluation, including taking measurements, probably brief observations at different times of the day to determine where sunlight and shade fall, and most likely taking a soil sample for analysis - particularly important for vegetables.

     Once the garden is installed, I offer many maintenance options, according to the needs of your garden and to your time, needs, interests, and budget. As the saying has it, “A garden is never finished.” Nor is it, as another saying has it, ever as good as it will be next year.

     I work on a time and materials basis rather than using the fixed bid system – I believe it is fairer both to you and to me. It is a very rare project where there are no time consuming unforeseen issues, no necessary changes to the original plan, no price fluctuations in materials, and no changes of mind. Both the time and materials and fixed bid systems take this into account; the bid system does so by pricing the uncertainties into the bid, on the understanding that, on average, each client is charged a fair and reasonable price for work done. However, this means that while you may get a very good deal under the bid system, you may also end up paying more than you would have with the time and materials system. The time and materials system easily adjusts to changes so that you pay only for what has actually been done.

     Of course, I will gladly provide you an approximate cost for the project at the outset, and I am always willing to work with you and your budget as the project develops.

     While I make every effort to select healthy plants, and every effort to plant and site them properly and appropriately, unfortunately, due to many things beyond my control, I cannot guarantee plant material.

     I am not at this time set up to provide tree service on large trees or lawn service other than trimming around flower and/or vegetable beds.

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Planning and scheduling your garden project          Return to Table of Contents
     While many garden projects can be done, weather permitting, at almost any time of the year, and some can be done outside of their ideal time if appropriate measures are taken, some have a more specific timetable. Here is a rough guide to assist you in planning and scheduling what you wish to have done.

     Planning and designing, bed preparation, soil testing, hardscaping, and construction of arbors and the like can be done at any time of year.

     The main season for pruning and shaping trees and shrubs is January through March but can be done any time of year, as needed.

Vegetables                                    Return to Overview
     Planning for spring vegetable gardens can commence in December (or earlier) and is best completed by mid February. Bed preparation should be done by mid March if possible.

      Summer vegetable gardens can be planned as early as spring ones, with planning best completed by mid April and bed preparation done by mid-May, although good harvests of many summer vegetables can be had from late August to near frost in mid November by getting plants in the ground as late as late June. Even later can work – I have planted tomatoes in late July and had them ripen fine fruit in October.

      Planning for fall and winter vegetable gardens is best completed by mid-August, with beds prepared and plants in the ground in the first week in September. Some exceptions apply – many root vegetables, such as parsnip, rutabaga, celeriac, leeks, and some varieties of carrots should go in earlier, and spinach a little later. In our region, many vegetables will hold over the winter, available for harvest, with minimal protection, and in the case of some types of vegetables no protection at all.

     If you are planning a four season harvest, planning the seasonal gardens all at the same time helps assure that space is available for each crop at the appropriate time.

Spring flowering bulbs
     Spring flowering bulbs, such as jonquils, tulips, crocus, and the like are generally purchased from June through October, although selection is best when ordered before September. They are delivered in September and October for planting in October and November, sometimes into December. Some summer flowering bulbs such as lilies are often fall planted.                                  
Herb gardens                              Return to Overview
     Depending on the species, the site, and the weather, these are best planted from mid-March through mid-October, so as to permit them to become established before extreme heat or cold. As with perennials, shrubs, vines, and trees, they may need little extra care when summer planted.
Perennials, shrubs, vines, and trees, including fruit-bearing varieties
     These can be planted mid-February through mid-November depending on the species. Spring and fall are generally the best times, though it can be done in the heat of the heat of the summer if they get a little extra coddling.
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