Productive Land: February and March

Sorry for the lack of posting recently; between thesis writing and a host of social engagements it’s been a hectic few weeks. A third factor has been the garden, which over the course of February and March has undergone quite a transformation. Everything is taking much longer than I’d hoped, but we’re still making good progress. Most of the concrete is now up; the forest garden at the end is pretty much installed; the raised beds are now in place; and there is a socking great pile of stuff ready to go to the tip.

First buds on the apple tree, February

Much of our spare time in February was spent sieving soil and working in compost in order to get the first section of the garden ready for planting. Here’s what we settled on for the forest garden area at the north end of the garden (bearing in mind that, at about 3′ x 10′ it will be the world’s smallest forest garden):

Trees: Apple and Plum

Dwarf Trees: Nectarine and Cobnut

Shrubs: Blackcurrant, Blackberry, Raspberry, Red Gooseberry

Herbs: Sage, Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Rosemary, Mint (various), Herb Robert, Comfrey, Borage

Ground cover: Strawberries, Peas, Wild Garlic, Rhubarb

Roots: Jerusalem artichokes

Climbers: Climbing Nasturtium

There is also a wildflower section to attract bees. The only problems with the forest garden section so far have been the leaf curl that has blighted the nectarine and the clumsy kittens who have been knocking over seedlings and trying to catch bees. I briefly installed a bamboo hurdle to keep them off the patch but in the end I settled on some almost-invisible netting which will stay there until the garden is a bit more established.

Bamboo Cat Hurdles. Good name for an album.

The back garden isn’t designed to be pretty; instead it is going to work for us, and if there are places to include something that’s nice to look at then all the better. Our autumn planting in the front garden has paid off, though, providing us with a floral ray of sunshine every time we leave the house.

The front garden - low-maintainance and easy on the eye

Next up will be April, and the construction and planting of the raised vegetable beds (which was finished on Sunday). After that, the plan (roughly) is to lay the lawn at the beginning of May, build the decking in June, bring in the chickens in July, have August to enjoy the garden before harvesting the first lot of vegetables from September onwards. Rather a lot to get done, but if the weather holds it is pleasant work. Meanwhile, here’s where we were up to at the end of March:

The back garden, March 2011

Published in: on April 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Mate: fabulous. Rock on.

    • It’s all going pretty well. The potatoes are all showing their tops now, and the spinach started coming through today. This sunny spell has helped the beans and peas too. Fruit trees not happy though!

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