Do you remember your high school geometry class? Do you remember doing constructions in that class, where with a compass (of the kind that draws circles) and a straight edge (like a ruler) you made all kinds of perfect shapes and divided angles and what not?
No, me neither. But my training as a math teacher took me back to geometry and geometric constructions after all the ‘more advanced’ math I did with my physics degree, and I’m so glad it did. I took a class called Geometry for Teachers which was nothing like the joke I expected it to be. We started with Euclid’s axioms (very basic underlying assumptions), and logic-ed our way to everything else we had time for. And there were lots of constructions. And it was brilliant.
And it turns out it was crazy useful, too. Not that I’ve ever taught a geometry class. But I have laid out garden beds. And it turns out this is just like doing constructions.
Rather than a straight edge, I use string. My drawing a straight line with a pencil on paper has become pounding a stick in the ground, tying string to it, and stretching it out straight to where I want, and then tying it to another stick which gets pounded into the ground.
Rather than a compass, I use a rake. By keeping one end in place and rotating the other around, I can swing out arcs or complete circles. By having useful lengths marked out on the rake itself, I can make circles with different length radii.
The end result is that the south end of our property now has 20 garden beds marked out, with parallel lines and right angles and the like just where I want them. They are rectangular beds, 4ft wide with 2ft paths between, 3ft paths at the ends. They vary in length from something like 2oft to 50ft. Last year I was fancier and made hexagon beds in a different part of the yard where the grass is constantly trying to reclaim them.
Now all I need is the garden to fill all these beds. Here’s the about-to-be garden site, by the way:
It’s the whole part that is only sort of green, from where I stood to tak the picture stretching off down to the right side of the red shed. Hopefully it will be more obvious, verdant and tasty looking soon.