Back in the Garden

It’s been a while since I posted here – a case of being too busy doing things to sit and write about them. I’ve been bringing my garden back into shape for Spring – a little late, but never mind.

This is how my garden looked in 2007, when I first started this project:

My garden, July 2007

At that time, I had just dug out a side border (to the far left, out of shot), but not much else.

Soon after that picture was taken, I had the conifer in the corner cut down, and after some mad experimentation with trying to grow mushrooms on the stump, covered it with a shallow layer of earth and started growing herbs.

Last year, I added a 1m x 2m raised bed to the right of the Laurel, where I tried to grow brassicas (unsuccessful, due to Cabbage White) and courgettes (much more successful).

This spring I have added a centre plot, so the garden now looks like this:

My garden, March 2009

This gives me a total of about 5m2 of raised beds, plus the side border and herb garden, which should be plenty to keep one person in vegetables; but there is still plenty of room to expand and still leave me a good patch of garden to sit in.

In addition, as last year, I will have a couple of growbags on pavers along the fence by the herb garden, with tomato plants.

The centre plot was created using a no-dig method. Layers of cardboard and newpaper has been laid down over grass, that should act as a biodegradable weed barrier that will rot away once its job is done. On top of that, garden-centre compost, chicken manure, fish bone, and good old fashioned top soil. The idea is that the grass and weeds underneath will die off, and as the cardboard and paper rot, worms will do the rest of the work for me.

I really should have done this last year, ready for planting this year, but I didn’t. It means that for this year, I only have 9 inches of soil to play with, so I am planting veg like lettuces and spring onions and anything else I can think of that doesn’t have deep roots.

Last year, the big success was my sugar snap peas – they seemed to be in almost every meal I cooked throughout the summer. This year I am going to grow half the number of plants, and make up the space with some broad beans. Once again, I am using the side border, but this year, instead of a net, I am going to grow them up a “wigwam” of canes. This should make it easier to weed around them.

Back then, I made the mistake of pulling up the pea plants after they were done, instead of leaving the roots in to provide nitrogen to the soil. I’ll know better this year, and from now on, I’ll probably try some modest rotation.

Jobs left to do:

  • As you can see, I am in the middle of replacing the side border’s edging – which was plastic – with the log border that I have used elsewhere.
  • The deep bed needs to be thoroughly weeded, including moving the daffodil that has mysteriously appeared there.
  • The herb garden needs to be cut back. Shamefully, I didn’t do anything with it all winter, and I think cutting the plants back will produce some tastier new growth.
  • I plan to extend the area in front of the herb garden so the whole area between it and the centre plot is gravel, which will really tidy things up.
  • I need to sort out the strawberry planter – clearing out the dead growth, and plugging any gaps with the runners I cut last year – now all viable small plants.
  • Finally, I have a potato planter to assemble, and plant with Anya.

Should keep me busy!

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