A couple of years ago I decided that it was time to start hacking away at the rough field just to the east of the house at the Little Garden. The area was dug and I immediately started plonking plants in, mostly because I had nowhere else to plonk them. Bad move. It wasn’t long before the weeds took hold and started to swamp my plonked plants.
So I’ve had to rethink the area. I’ve decided that since it is so close to the house, which also shelters it from the prevailing winds, it would be a good place for some veg and flowers. I am loath to use the word ‘potager’ because it sends my pretentious asshole meter through the roof. But that’s actually what it will be in a rough sort of way. It would be lovely to have bricked paths and fancy, neat beds, but I’m going to have to go with stone-edged beds and re-used Mypex on the paths to begin with. That’s what the budget calls for.
As you can see I’ve gone all permaculture. First I made my circle with stones; there’s no shortage of them around the place. Then I gathered a heap of cardboard boxes from local shops. They were only too happy to get rid of the boxes. I flattened the boxes and removed the plastic tape (this doesn’t disintegrate for about a billion Carbon years). Then I put the boxes down, a couple of boxes in thickness so that there are about 4 layers of cardboard over the whole bed. I have a good amount of scutch grass that would be only too happy to poke up through a thin layer of cardboard once it gets wet.
The next step was to fill up the bed with my secret recipe. Well, it’s not really a secret and it’s not much of a recipe either (whenever I use the word ‘recipe’ I always think of the Baldwin sisters from The Waltons). Recipe: well-rotted manure (2 types – one with straw and one with sawdust, both horse manure), top soil, garden compost, and old potting compost – no measuring, just whatever I feel like at the time. I don’t throw potting compost on the compost heap anymore because I found that it made for a dry kind of compost. So I keep it separate and use it to lighten up the clay soil that I have. In the case of this new bed, it’s a good, bulky material to help fill the area.
And that’s it. I could go ahead and plant today if it wasn’t blowing a gale outside (again). At least it has warmed up a bit, but every time I go outside it immediately starts to rain. So I’ve been sowing seeds this morning: another batch of lettuce, loads of different kinds of peas, and a second sowing of leeks (if you don’t sow leeks here by April you don’t get very big leeks). I think I’ll probably sow some flower seeds now… for my new pah-tah-zhay…
I’ve taken a few more photos of things now in flower at the Little Garden (here for your viewing pleasure), including shoots from my favourite plant at the little garden, Paeonia ‘Buckeye Beauty’. Wait till you see her in flower.