Our garden is based on Linda Woodrows "The Permaculture Home Garden". We had a lawn area that measured 22mx13.5m (or so) and needed to move our 6mx13m garden to make way for work trailers/trucks etc... The most obvious place to move it to was the lawn seeing as the kids had all grown up and left home they didnt need it anymore. However the thought of scraping the turf off and hand digging this whole area had us beat before we started. I happened to mention our problem to my brother when we were up in Auckland for a visit and he pulled out a his copy of Linda's book and gave it to me. My dad and hubby built our chook dome at 3m rather than Lindas 4m and we have 6 hens in this. This is almost our second year using this system. For the most part we consider it to have been a raving success and alot of fun in a frustrating sort of way. Our aim for the first year was to get used to using this system and 1. produce all our own eggs, most of our own vegetables, herbs and some of our own fruit and spices and herbal teas. 2.(me) to use all those lovely lawn clippings I get from the handful of lawns I do each fortnight rather than have to take these to the dump. 3.Not to have to dig the garden Those aims have been pretty well met and we have new aims for this new growing season. 1.To get our seedlings grown to the reccommended 6 inches high before they get planted out . 2.To get the seedlings ready in time to plant out each new bed as soon as the chooks have been moved off of it. 3.To get a better balance of vegetable types growing. 4.To get the greenhouse built so we can get things up and running faster and have a place to store tender plants and shrubs over winter....Tamarillos for one.(tree tomato) 5.To find the 'right' tomato for our garden I have found I have an addiction to trialling different plants to see which does better. So this year there are 6 tomato and eggplant types including some home grown seed and 4 Okra, just for an example, call me greedy but its fun. 6. To get the garden beds edged so hubby and visitors stop walking all over his food. 7.To finalise the layout of the garden and make it permanent. 8. To get each bed planted out in sequence without missing any due to no plants to plant out. 9. To learn how to do this gardening by the moon/constellations. I think I have a better understanding on this now but as the first book I read on this is from the Northern Hemisphere I still get alittle confused and need alittle more research to fully understand what exzactly it is we are supposed to be doing. We have already discovered that we prefer Butternut Squash to the round sort of pumpkins because they are faster growing, taste just as good( alittle different to round pumpkins I think), store really well and better still, even now, the skin is easy to cut thru with a big knife in comparison to the round ones which go really hard. The idea is to grow as much of what we eat as we can and to find out what can be grown here. I would like to have some nut trees. We spent ages measuring everything out again and marking out with pegs where the beds will go taking into account the width of the permanent edging to the beds,I'm leaning towards Winter savory for this and the dwarf munstead lavendar and until we can get seedlings grown of these we have opted for a type of parsley that grows only 1' each way. These are alittle late being started so the edges have pegs around them so we dont lose track of just where the edges are. Next was drawing up another to scale map of the garden and the exisiting trees, buildings etc.. We put the greenhouse on even though its not built yet because we Are going to build it this year and that Is the best spot for it. This makes the first mandala not a circle which at first was disappointing but now we realise that its going to work really well. We are translating a design worked out for a sub tropic site into a cool/mountain(I thought temperate but apparently not) site, so by having the central bed being used for the chooks and the greenhouse effectively taking up the space of an 'outer bed'.....what that means is that we can if we need to skip over between 1 and 4 beds in winter and use these beds for the winter plants. That puts them as close to the house as you can get and they get the reflected light off the tool shed all day. There was room to 'replace' this bed by moving to the other side of the bed next to the greenhouse. This makes this mandala sort of like 2 sets of triangles with a central bed between them, (more on this irrelevent added significance later). By moving that dratted Orange tree to the central bed of the second mandala, this means we have a proper circular flow going around the mandala leaving good space to get between all beds and all fruit trees and the fence. We or rather I decided that the beds and the mandals needed names. I get tired of saying first bed, second mandala, soooo. I was once again gazing at our drawing trying to get some inspiration and thought well as we are going to start getting serious about gardening by constellations etc,... then maybe we can use this subject for the names. I thought that with the Orange tree being in the centre of the second mandala, that everything flowed around it while it stayed still and that reminded me of the sun. So the second mandala became the sun mandala, which meant of course that the first mandala had to be the moon set. I looked at what the constellation were that I thought related to the sun and have named the 1st, 3rd and 5th beds after Leo,Aries and Sagitarius while the 2nd,4th and 6th became the Gemini,Aquarius and Libra beds. With the Moon mandala it wasnt quite so obvious as they are not circular like the Sun mandala. I finally decided that we had 2 sets of sort of triangles adn that the 'tighter' triangle had to be the earth signs so going along from the greenhouse we get the virgo, capricorn and above those at the apex is the Taurus bed. Earth being a tighter, firmer sort of thing compared to water which is looser. (Told you it was irrelevent added significance) So on the other side of the path from the greenhouse you get the Scorpio, cancer the crab and Pisces beds. I am going to have to find an alternative to cancer or crab bed they just dont do it for me and conjur up most unwanted imappropriate pictures. I did think of putting signs up with the symbols of each constellation and realised that this bed would wind up being called the 69'er,(with crabs... thats just not nice).