Veg Patch 2019

Over the last few years I’ve had a fair amount of success from the veg patch…

But I’ve also been getting increasingly frustrated with the poor use of space! Over the years I have increased the amount of herbs and soft fruit I grow and therefore lost a lot of veg growing space.

For the last three years I’ve had just one veg bed and have been rotating legumes brassicas and roots within that bed and trying to grow any extras in pots. This means I have to wait for a couple of years in between growing my favourite things: potatoes, broccoli, beans etc etc. It’s good for the soil to have this rotation as it maintains the balance of nutrients and keeps down pests… but I want to grow a bit of everything every year.

So I’ve had a move around and put in some raised bed frames to give it some structure… I thought you might like to see the before and after shots!

It’s still pretty messy, but it’s a much more practical layout and will hopefully be a much more productive veg patch! I now have three veg beds at the bottom of the garden so that I can grow a little bit of everything in each year and rotate between them.

One of the two smaller beds is for herbs and the other for strawberries. I have also moved my blueberry bush so it’s more accessible next to the strawberry bed (but virtually invisible in the image because it’s currently dormant and leafless). I hope it’s survived the move! The side fence has both summer and autumn fruiting raspberries growing up it and I even have a little space left in the corner if you know of a small fruit bush that doesn’t mind shade?

Last year we barely used the herbs and they became massively overgrown – simply because they were difficult to get to! Having more defined beds will help with keeping everything tidy and the new paths will mean we can reach everything without having to limbo under the tree/ walk on the soil.

I can’t wait to get some seedlings going now!

Veg Patch 2018

Over the last few years I’ve gradually introduced more fruit and herbs to our front garden leaving less room for veg. But this year I’m planning to squeeze in as many crops as possible!

Now that the purple sprouting broccoli has finished, the main bed is full of potatoes and parsnips… although there’s no sign of parsnips yet…

I’m planning to put pots of rocket/lettuce between the rows once they get going.

I’ve cut back the climbing hydrangea in the corner of the garden to make some fence space to grow squash and courgette vertically. I’ve never done very well with squash and one has been attacked by a slug already, but the courgette look pretty happy.

For slug defence I use a combination of broken egg shells and copper rings which are meant to give slugs a small shock. I never use slug pellets as they might poison hedgehogs. We’re moving towards eating a mostly vegan diet at home so we’ve run out of eggshells and I’m mostly depending on the copper rings now!

Both autumn and summer fruiting raspberries are doing well.

In fact a little too well! The blueberry bush is being swallowed up as next year’s summer raspberries are growing in front of it while this year’s overlap it from behind. I can’t move the new raspberries until later in the year so we might not get many bloobs!

At this time of year there is always a carpet of blue as the cianthus drops. I’m looking forward to hacking that back once it’s flowered… and the rambling rose which is making it difficult to get to our front door!

But when the roses are this pretty…

Rambling rose

It’s worth it!

I didn’t have much hope for our strawberry patch this year because Splodge had started using it as her wee area (!) . We also have quite a major woodlouse issue and unfortunately they nibble the strawberries.

Apparently the best way to get rid of woodlice without pesticides is to wrap up veg peelings and cheese (!) in damp newspaper. They swarm it and then you can just throw that away. To be honest… that sounds gross and I don’t want to do it! So instead of trying to get rid of them I’m just removing things that encourage them.

Strawberries

The picket fencing that edged the patch was dry and rotten at the base (which woodlice love) so I’ve removed that. I normally put straw around the base of the plants so that the fruit doesn’t sit on the soil and rot. But of course woodlice love straw! So I’m trying old bits of lino instead. I don’t have enough for each plant but if it works I’ll get more.

Strawberry patch

And to keep Splodge off the strawberry patch I’m planning to build a fruit cage. But as temporary fix I’m using this handy cage that I bought from Wilco’s last year. It’s already come in handy for keeping cabbage whites off the brassicas last year and propping up the massive broccoli over winter. It’s adjustable, easy to use, packs up small and I would definitely recommend it (they’ve not sponsored me to say that!).

Strawberries

To make the most of our small space I’m growing spinach and carrots in pots. They’re sitting on the front garden bench which has now become an extra growing area.

The last thing to squeeze in is tomatoes. I’m loving my new paper potter that my bro got me for Christmas!

Tomatoes

Tomatoes can’t be planted near potatoes so I’ve made space under the cianthus… although there might not be enough sun. We’ll find out!

If you want to watch my garden progress – I have set up a ‘highlights’ area for the garden over on Instagram. Enjoy! x