Monday, 10 March 2014

Current Obsession

I am currently obsessed by the planting and planning of our vegetable patch. Spring is finally here, the days are warm enough to be outside without a jacket, so I've spent a couple of days digging in the back garden. Below are my concise and clear notes:

Last autumn our broccoli patch flowered and seeded, bringing gorgeous butterflies to the garden. I collected the seeds, and hacked out the plants, then used the area as a random dumping ground for compostable stuff for a few months. Until the frosted vegetable peelings no longer looked like they were going to decompose, only attract rats.
So the other day I began turning the soil again, I'd only done it once or twice. Nearly everything had disappeared into the soil and we have some fat juicy worms in there, almost 1cm wide, and about 15cm long some of them! I'm planning on potatoes in that patch, with some spinach and peas around the edges up the walls.

We have other areas I'm clearing for planting. Inside our front garden hedge we have an L-shaped flowerbed, about 30cm wide. I've tulips coming up on one side, and strawberries from last year on the other.

I'm going to plant peas inside the beds, hoping they'll hang on to the hedge as they grow. I just want to maximise our edible planting, and the kids have so much fun finding the pods and eating the peas.

On the third hedge of our front garden, which is along the path, we only have about 15cm, and some of that is taken up with flowers. I never knew there were flowers there, but about 3 years ago I cleared the dead leaves out from under the hedge, and left the soil exposed, and was delighted to see violets and hyacinths growing that summer. There are even more of them this year, but I may sneak in a few peas for the craic.

Other plans are a pumpkin patch, to be sown in April and ready for Halloween. I'll do this on the concrete that runs along our garage to the back of the garden. I grew squash some years ago in pots, and the fruits sat on the patio and kept growing, so I hope that will be the case with the pumpkins. I'll do 3 large pots of seeds and see how that goes.
I'm also dying to have a rhubarb patch, but unsure where to put it. It needs space and some light, and there ain't much more light-space available. I might plant a few crowns in pots and transplant in a year or two. I've read that you can't harvest the first crop anyway.

I'm also planning hanging strawberry plants on the patio, I've yet to figure out the cheapest and easiest way of doing this.

These window boxes hold mixed lettuces and spinach, too big for window ledges they will sit on the patio and along the path in the sun. I'll intersperse them with tomato plants, as soon as I see tomato plants in the shops.

And I have lavender I want to plant out of 3 pots, into a bed in the front garden. That'll be a few days work, it's all lawn at the moment, so I'll have to create a bed for them. I love the idea of the scent coming in the open windows in summer.

My honeysuckle will need a bigger pot. I bought it last year and am training it up a trellis around the front door, so I'll have to be really careful re-potting it so that I don't break the vines. I LOVE honeysuckle and can't wait for the flowers, we didn't really get any last year. Those are carrot peelings by the way, and violets at the base, our previous house owner loved violets and they grow in every nook and cranny. Will they affect the honeysuckle doesdoes anyone know?

There's a blueberry bush in the corner of the front garden which never took off, but I see small buds on it, so I'll give it some love. I read that it needs acidic soil, and I haven't a clue what soil we have, but I'll research how to feed it and I've cleared out more debris from around it, so the sun can get through. Any advice, please let me know!

Other than that we have carrots and more peas to plant, which I will put in containers, and dot around the garden wherever I can fit them.
I'm also hoping to do this: With a shoe organiser we never use, plant it with lettuce and spinach and hopefully hang inside the kitchen. How cool to pick a few leaves and put them straight on the plates?!
I've also got some random pot stands which will be great for pea climbing frames. I'll figure out a suitable base container for them to hold the soil and place them on the last remaining place in the garden, a "bench" we never use, but it gets a good bit of sun.

So tomorrow I'm off to buy compost for all the potted plants, I'll be clearing out under the third hedge, and planting more. I've done only one row of spinach and potatoes in the main vegetable patch, the potatoes are going in 15cm deep, and the spinach on the surface. I researched combination planting, and it's such a brilliant way to plant. There are different combinations of plants which work well together, repelling each other's pests and enriching the soil for each other.

I pruned this large branch off Charlie's placenta apple tree, am hoping it will take root and become Noah's placenta tree. Soaked it in honey an' all! 

I am literally obsessed with this the last few days, and am really conscious of getting everything done before I get bored and burnt-out. This mama don't do pacing! I'll have renewed love for them once I see the seedlings, but I know I've got 2 or 3 days left of this planting buzz before I get really sick of it.

It feels like I've wrapped the Christmas presents and I'm just waiting for the big day!

Nee x

Ps I bought a rake and I have a spade and watering can. Other planting/gardening tools include tablespoons, a kids plastic trowel, a rubber spatula as a dibber, butter knives for weeding dandelions and kitchen scissors. Lost one knife into the brown bin...

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