2013 gave me an wonderful opportunity to start a new garden in the Welsh / English borders. There are already a series of posts about this venture, and there are links below to some of these.
At the start of the year the garden was almost entirely lawn, with a narrow border of shrubs near the house and a hedge bank bordering the road. By the end of the summer I had established:
- A polyculture vegetable bed measuring approximately 3 metres by 4 metres (I haven’t measured it before writing this)
- A mixed flower, vegetable and herb bed
- A “hedgetable” patch
As the table below shows much of the time spent in the garden through the year was spent in ‘constructing’ these growing areas – mostly the polyculture vegetable bed.
|Time Spent in Borderland Garden 2013|
|Sowing seed / taking cuttings||3.25||0.5||1.5||5.25||7|
|Management / maintenance||0.25||0.25||> 1|
|Preparation of new areas||24.5||1||0.5||26||33|
The primary objective was to begin to create an edible garden, featuring lots of perennial vegetables, but also integrating some annual vegetables as well as lots of herbs and flowers. A secondary objective was to accommodate as many established perennial vegetables as possible from my other garden (in Shropshire) as the house there was to go up for sale during the year and I wanted to ensure plants were moved to a new home early in the growing season. This meant that there was quite a deluge of plants to accommodate before I had had much time to prepare the ground for them.
It is not surprising therefore I have spent more time preparing new areas and planting out, than any other tasks. Much of the 18+ hours spent on ‘other tasks’ included working on cutting out lots of extra growth in the hedges around the garden. Eventually I gave up counting time spent doing this as it was not generally directly related to the vegetable growing.
The yields from the garden (divided by different types of vegetables) are given below:
|Produce From Borderland Garden 2013|
|Beans / peas||–||–||1106||636||1742||30|
- Cooking greens were predominantly kales
- Salad leaves were mainly lettuce and wild rocket
- Roots (so far) have been potatoes, carrots (from seed saved in the other garden), dahlia tubers, burdock roots, Jerusalem artichoke, oca and yacon.
- Beans and peas were pods and peas of marrow fat peas (from a pack of dried peas to cook) and ‘Trail of Tears French beans from seed saved in 2011.
I have only begun to harvest perennial roots / tubers from Jerusalem artichoke, yacon and oca since the new year so although they filled a large part of the main vegetable bed the harvest is mostly still to come.
I am very happy with what has been accomplished in a short time and am eagerly looking forward to the next growing season. However, I will have to move my main polyculture bed as the space has been designated for an extension to the property. In addition I hope to do the following in 2014:
- Plant fruit trees in a mini orchard
- Surround this with polycultures of perennial vegetables, flowers and herbs
- Experiment with various types of grains
- Incorporate fruiting shrubs and bushes into the hedgerow that borders the garden
So there is lots to look forward to in my ongoing quest for easy to grow food!
As I always like to include at least one picture with a blog post, but it is not a good time for actual photos here is one of the scenery in the vicinity of the Borderland garden. Wales is so very beautiful.
Happy New Year!
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I wonder how the Jerusalem artichokes figure into your calculations about calorie yield. As far as I know, that plant stores most of its energy not as starch, like potatoes, but as inulin, which can’t be digested by humans. That’s fine if you grow them because you like the taste, or because you want to increase your fiber intake, but it does it really count towards an energy yield?
Happy New Year, Anni! Interesting to see the different proportions of the harvest. Roots and beans – really can’t beat the return, can you?