Anatomy of a Garden Build: One story from the Sierra Gardens Program

When schoolteacher Linda Toll and her artist husband Lew bought their new house in the country they wanted to make their dream of having a garden come true, so they contacted Sierra Harvest. Through the Sierra Gardens program this has become a reality for them!

Because of the timing (it was early fall) we decided to build their garden in 2 phases. They had just had the area cleared and leveled, so we were able to jump right in and build a fence.

Sierra Gardens will build a garden from the ground up, or help revamp an existing garden area. We will come to your property and assess your needs then propose a course of action. Everyone’s needs are slightly different, and we do our best to work something out for your situation.

Linda Toll in her new Sierra Garden 2018

In this case, The Tolls had a good spot already cleared and leveled, and they had a good supply of posts and fencing that had come from another part of their property. We were able to repurpose all of the fencing and many of the posts to build a fence and gate. Then we planted a cover crop and mulched with straw. Linda had also laid down a layer of horse manure that she had access to. What better way to start a garden than by building the soil! The cover crop was sown in mid-October and grew to almost 3 feet tall by the time it was chopped down in early March.

This spring we were able to rototill the cover crop in and add some additional compost and other nutrients, and shape some beautiful beds! Then we set up a drip irrigation system, and voila…it’s a garden all mulched and ready for planting!  

“Starting my own garden is a long time dream fulfilled with the help of Sierra Harvest. I finally own land and could start a garden. I love the planning, building beds, planting and hopefully eating my own veggies. My garden is now my happy place where I can relax and enjoy nature. Thanks to Edy, Cláudio,the fence building volunteers and my awesome husband Lew. I could not have done this alone,” stated Linda Toll.

With the basic layout completed, Linda Toll and volunteer Larry Diminyatz dig post holes. Sierra Gardens does its work with an awesome team of volunteers and staff, cooperation and support from many local businesses, and the all important participation of the homeowner. We provide seasonal plant deliveries that takes the guess work out of “what to plant when”, and we provide ongoing mentoring plus a class series of cooking and gardening classes. We know that getting started with a garden can be expensive, so we also provide scholarships to qualifying families. If you have a sunny spot in your yard and are interested in becoming a gardener but could use a little help getting started, the Sierra Gardens program might be just what you’re looking for!