Last year we decided to deal with the horrible hedge at the front of the garage. It contained privet, hop, ivy, hawthorn, bindweed, rose and then ended with yew, amongst other things. It was probably about a metre thick and was a regular egg laying place for the chickens. It had also been the escape route of choice for our Muscovy ducks when we had those. I had had enough of it – the raspberry canes, perennial sweet pea and shrub roses were unable to be accessed easily, and the area hardly got any light or water as it was so sheltered.
So in one morning it went, completely, and was turned into soil improver! I set off to the garden centre to buy raised beds and extra wood to make my own. Unfortunately, I hadn’t realised quite how much the ground sloped from the garage to the road.
After constructing my (pretty naff to be honest) raised beds I set to and put together the ones that I had bought on sale. I put left over breeze blocks from our extension in between to make a path, filling the gaps with stones that I picked out of the soil whilst weeding out the perennial bindweed and creeping buttercup! Inside each of the raised beds I dug over the ground, laid cardboard on top and slightly up the sides to keep in moisture and slow down weed growth from underneath. On top (in some of the beds only) I put well-rotted horse manure and then filled them up with soil improver.
Planting time – I put in bought plug plants, as well as seedlings that we had grown on ourselves, of nasturtiums, peas, onions, garlic, celeriac, calendula, night scented stock, sweet peas, cabbage, purple sprouting broccoli and chitted seed potatoes.
I didn’t get around to taking any further photographs of the plot – I aim to be much better at this this year. The poppies remained in place until the autumn, now that bed is ready to be planted up as well. Over the seasons we harvested fresh peas and carrots (we have only just pulled the last of those) and I have only recently dug up two of the celeriac! We had lots of onions and potatoes and the only plants to suffer were the brassica’s – I really can’t pick off the caterpillars! Next year I think prevention is the key! We also added Dahlia’s, various Scabiosa sp and cosmos to the flowers in the hope of cutting some to bring indoors.
Isabella and I have planted the autumn-sowing onions and garlic, and the autumn sown cabbage ready for this year and I have planned out the crop rotation so here’s hoping to another successful crop or two! Plans for this area include a runner bean row, peas, carrots, onions, sweetcorn, beetroot, potatoes, celeriac and courgettes, interspersed with sweet peas, calendula, nasturtium, cosmos and other flowers for biological pest control and cutting. The fruit area is still a work in progress, but I have bought a crown of a new variety of rhubarb, and some more redcurrant bushes to ensure we have sufficient fruit for our jam-making needs! We also have some asparagus to plant somewhere…