Introducing the “Hedgetable Patch”

I am currently transferring veggies from the Telford garden to the new garden and trying to find new homes for them has meant pushing the boundaries – literally – as I am using the hedge bank that borders the garden to grow vegetables!  In part this is an invention born out of necessity as the newly created polyculture beds are not large enough to accommodate all of the plants I want to move.  The garden as a whole is largely laid to lawn; and for the moment as I don’t have sufficient energy or time to remove it / create more new beds that is how it will stay.

The bank the boundary hedge sits on is between one and two feet high, a couple of feet wide and the soil at the base of the hedge is rich in humus, soft and fine textured.   A bit further away it is much harder, has little or no organic matter and looks like it is mainly comprised of clay.  However it is deep, very deep; and that has to be good.  Much of the bank runs behind the house and is in shade in the morning but gets light and sunshine from the side during the afternoon.  This photo shows the bank and the dappled sun on it this afternoon.

DSCN4692 back hedge

As yet there is not much evidence of the plants, but so far I have planted:

  • A row of runner beans (Czar) close to the base of the hedge.  This is because two years ago beans grew very happily and productively in the shady edges of the garden, clambering up through an apple tree and shrubs.   Last year I tried to replicate this, but the wet conditions meant that slugs ate all my lovely plants.  However I am very keen to try again to see what happens.
  • In front of the runner beans is a row of field beans saved from the other garden last summer.  They are tough, unfussy plants and should be fine here.
  • I don’t usually plant in rows, but the linear nature of the boundary does make this pretty much inevitable, at least at the moment in order to keep track of what is where.
  • Burdock plants raised from seed last year have gone at one end of the bank in deep soil and a sunny spot.
  • I have been growing clumping spring onions as perennials and they have each split into approximately a dozen very slim individual plants.  I gently teased them apart and planted them singly near the burdock.
  • A few small clumps of Babbington leeks went in nearby.
  • Shallots that I harvested last summer, dried and saved have been planted in front of the bean seeds.
  • Beside these are some more onions that I cannot presently identify.
  • There are a couple of skirret plants tucked into a niche near the hedge, in nice soft deep soil.
  • It’s not the normal time of year for planting garlic, but some cloves that were discarded from the kitchen have also been planted to see what happens.
  • Some lathyrus tuberosus plants that over wintered in pots have gone into the sunniest end of the bank behind the new polyculture patches beside primrose, foxglove, wild violet, wild strawberry, wood sorrel, wild garlic, three cornered leek and allium paradoxum.
  • I have also scattered some flax, honesty and vetch seeds all saved from last year.

Peering in a little closer you can see some of the Babington leeks and spring onions here:

DSCN4695 Babington leek, spring onion in hedge bank

Having used my observation of how plants have fared in different situations in the past I am reasonably confident that this new “hedgetable patch” will work okay but of course it is an experiment and who knows what will actually happen.

The other side of the hedge facing the road has also been ‘fortified’ with some raspberry canes and blackcurrant cuttings plus a few bean seeds.  I also plan to plant one or more of clematis, hop and honeysuckle into it as well.

Finally, here is a lovely clump of aubretia, just because it is beautiful and the bees have been buzzing energetically round it all weekend!


About Anni Kelsey

I love forest gardens and forest gardening, nature, reading and everything good about being alive. I have written two books - the garden of equal delights (2020) - about the principles and practice of forest gardening; and Edible Perennial Gardening (2014) - about growing perennial vegetables in polycultures, which is basically forest gardening concentrating on the lower layers.
This entry was posted in Borderland Garden, Forest Gardening, perennial greens, Perennial Vegetables, Permaculture, roots and tubers and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Introducing the “Hedgetable Patch”

  1. Pingback: Of edges and hedges | Anni's perennial veggies

  2. Pingback: Evaluating 2013 and Looking Forward to 2014 in the Borderland Garden | Anni's perennial veggies

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