How does your garden grow, David Sowerwine?
David Sowerwine bought his Menlo Park house in 1972 but, as he explains, “I’ve moved in four times.” Non-profit work that he and wife Haydi did in Nepal took them out of the country for long stretches of the time. But they moved back for good in 2005 and that’s when he got serious about gardening in their spacious backyard.
He considers innovation his “sweet spot.” “Gardening gives me the opportunity to do something new and different,” he says, citing his raised beds (pictured right) which are made with three layers: green ‘hardware cloth’ which is metal mesh, green shade cloth, and heavy black plastic sheet liner instead of the usual wooden planters. “They are all stitched together with recycled wire,” he explains.
Currently he’s working on a system to keep the squirrels – or possibly voles – out of his planter boxes. “They tunnel under the the roots looking for grubs,” he says. “I’m trying a metal screen on the bottom of the planter. And I’m open other people’s suggestions!”
This year’s garden features raspberries, blueberries and blackberries along with chard, lettuce, beets, snow peas, yard long beans, and tomatoes, which keeps him occupied for three or four hours a week, longer when he’s working on an innovation.
“We also have a little orchard out front,” he says, “A nectarine, pear and two apple trees.”
Top photo by Linda Hubbard; photo of bed by Haydi Sowerwine (c) 2020