One of the main reasons I fell in love with my little house was the fact that it had two gardens!
The house might be bursting at the seams (…mostly with wool), but I have a lovely little private garden at the back as well as a good space at the front for growing fruit and veg. It involved digging up a lawn and lots of hard work, but over the years it’s grown into a rather pretty little allotment/garden.
I was reluctant to put up this big ugly grow cage…but it’s brassicas year so it had to be done!
In the past I used both beds in the front garden for veg and rotated my crops between them. But since I started a strawberry patch I’ve been struggling to get things going in the small space next to it.
The area is sheltered by the Ceanothus which I refuse to lose even though it’s become too big for the space! For a month or so every spring it turns the most beautiful shade of blue and then as it drops – the whole garden becomes a carpet of blue. I cut it back a lot last year so it’s a bit more under control but I still have to contend with that area being sheltered from the sun and rain as well as the thick roots.
So that space is now a herb patch! I’ve surrounded everything with twigs while it gets established in an attempt to keep the cats away.
Now that I just have the one bed to use for veg, I’m rotating the crops I grow in it on a yearly basis. Last year I grew Legumes (peas/beans) so this year I’m doing Brassicas (cabbage family). The legumes were a complete flop last year so I took everything out early, put some courgette in (which did very well) and tried some trench composting followed by over-wintering green manure. The soil seems better so fingers crossed.
I haven’t grown brassicas for years because they always got decimated by pests…hence the ugly grow cage this year! I’ve made a start with some purple sprouting broccoli, kale and brokali seedlings. It might be a bit early for them but I’m planning to stagger planting and have plenty of seeds left if these fail.
I’m keeping them warm with cloches made out of plastic bottles (large innocent smoothie bottles are the best), protecting them from slugs with copper rings and egg shells and then the netting over the cage will protect them from caterpillars and cabbage white.
I think I’ll attempt some lettuce as well once it’s a bit warmer….might need to make beer traps as well for a three-pronged slug attack!
Over the last few years I’ve gradually been digging up hedges which were along the fence when I moved in. This has given me a strip of soil perfect for growing raspberries up the fence. I planted seven canes (is that the right name?), some I bought from Wilkos and some from Dad’s allotment. Two of the summer fruiting ones from Dad have survived and are happily growing leaves on the new shoots they sent out last year.
The autumn fruiting one (from Wilkos) was hugely prolific last year and actually fruited in summer, had a rest and then fruited again in Autumn. I cut this back to the ground as autumn fruiting raspberries fruit on the new years growth… I can’t wait for berry season!
We also planted a blueberry bush two summers ago. Last year it produced three blueberries! Hoping for more this summer.
What are you growing? Do you have any tips for brassicas and blueberries?