The new garden in the hills is coming along nicely. As described on 14 April 2013 I used what was at hand initially to begin the new veggie patches and I have continued to do this to make fertilise and enlarge them. As I have an absolute aversion to either exporting or importing fertility or potential fertility I do everything I can to recycle garden “waste” as close to the place where it was generated as possible. In addition I try to do this in ways that make next to no work for me.
There have been grass cuttings a-plenty over recent weeks and I have mostly been spreading them out on top of the newest part of the veggie patch (which was mostly unplanted). Grass cuttings have also been used to mulch round plants in the rest of the patch, along the pathways crossing the bed and some have also been distributed around plants in the “hedgetable patch” as they were in danger of drying out before they became fully established. As we are not here all the time they needed some help to retain moisture and the grass cuttings have helped with this.
As always happens I have raised more plants than I can accommodate in the existing beds so I needed to create more space and the end of the hedge bank behind my main veggie beds seemed the best place. I initially tried to dig into the grass with a spade and with a trowel but it was like iron and I could not get more than about two inches down. I’m not terribly strong anyway so I quickly gave that up and started piling up organic matter – lawn cuttings, upturned turf, twiggy / leafy hedge trimmings and some topsoil donated by the next door neighbour.
My partner has been generating hedge trimmings and I wanted to ensure that they were incorporated into the garden straight away. I was not sure initially what I would do with them, but looking at the veggie beds I decided I could use them to ‘build’ outwards from the side enlarging the growing area. The edge has been held in place by a mix of large stones from under the hedge and longish branches also from the hedge. I removed these and cut the soft new green growth off the trimmings and cut them into bits no more than 12 inches long (much was shorter than this) and let them pile up where they fell along the side of the bed. The woody material, large twigs and small branches were laid neatly alongside the edge of the bed to make the edge again and the rocks replaced outside this. Afterwards I also dropped some pea seeds in to add some life as they seem to be able to get started in fairly minimal amounts of soil.
To get the garden established I have been bringing as many and varied perennial veggies and supporting plants as possible from the other garden. So far this bed is home to these plants.
|Jerusalem artichoke||Raised from tubers saved last year|
|Oca||Raised from tubers saved last year|
|Yacon||Raised from tubers saved last year|
|Mashua||Raised from tubers saved last year|
|Apios americana||Purchased this year|
|Salsify||Raised from seed|
|Skirret||Plants raised from seed last year|
|Dahlia (a new root for me to try)||Raised from seed|
|Potato||An odd one from somewhere|
|Parsnip||A single plant saved from last year, now flowering with the aim of it setting seed naturally|
|Field beans||From seed saved last year|
|French beans||From seed saved 2011|
|Peas||From pack of peas dried for kitchen use|
|Daubenton’s kale||From cutting|
|Nine star perennial kale||From seed saved last year|
|Wild kale||From cutting|
|Red Russian kale||From seed saved last year|
|Wild rocket||Some from purchased seed, one plant purchased|
|Flax||From seed saved last year|
|Wild marjoram||Transplanted from other garden|
|Nettle||Transplanted as a green manure|
|A few miscellaneous wild plants||Have just appeared as they do!|
|Gladioli!||Corms going cheap in local shop!|
The “hedgetable patch” is now home to:
|Field beans||From seed saved last year|
|Runner beans||Purchased seed|
|Peas||From pack of kitchen peas used on dry, slippy bits of bank as experiment|
|Skirret||Raised from seed last year|
|Burdock||Raised from seed last year|
|Lathyrus tuberosus||Raised from seed last year|
|Three cornered leek||Transplanted|
|Bunching spring onions||Transplanted|
|Shallots||Saved from last year|
|Wild kale||From cuttings last year|
|Daubenton’s kale||From cuttings last year|
|Nine star perennial broccoli||From seed saved last year|
|Lamb’s lettuce||Transplanted, now setting seed|
|Nettle||In situ already|
|Raspberries||Transplanted and a new autumn fruiting variety|
|Blackcurrant||Transplanted from cuttings taken last year|
|Phacelia||Seed travelled in soil with transplants|
|Clematis and honeysuckle||Purchased|
|Herb Robert||Transplanted from another part of the hedge and used to stabilise the edge.|
|Saxifrage and bugle||Transplanted from ornamental border and used to stabilise the edge.|
This looks like (and is) a lot of plants in a small space. On the one hand I am happy to concede that they may well be too close together and could suffer as a result. On the other hand I had the ‘problem’ I always run into at this time of year – too many plants for the space available and I end up putting them in where I can on the basis that if they don’t all work then at least some will. Also the beds are deep, particularly the hedgetable patch, and this should give the roots a place to dig into as the organic matter they are composed of decomposes. I noticed a number of worms as I planted things yesterday, plus beetles, spiders and a chrysalis of some kind. I have also added some fertility in the form of wood ash from the wood burner and meticulously saved over the cold months in order to use as fertiliser. This photo shows the main patch with peas and yacon close to the front, mashua on the left, oca on the right. The other plants are on the small side to see individually!
The signs are that the new beds are shaping up to become healthy and fertile in due course and based on experience at the other garden I have every reason to expect that they will. There is lots still to do but I have had some initial small harvests of wild rocket, pea shoots, rosemary and thyme!