Sunday, 4 January 2009

Plotting the plot

So after declaring my new year's resolution last week, Mr A has already been digging (or indeed double-digging) to incorporate all our lovely home-made compost into our brand new veg-patch.

The problem is, I've got grand plans for our garden but very little space and really will need all the help I can get. So I thought I'd put together a little (but wobbly) video-tour of our garden to reveal what we're up against.

You'll see that we're going to have to use every nook and cranny we can lay our hands on and I've got a feeling that we'll have to try our hands at vertical gardening in order to maximise our assets. And believe me... this will be tough so all ideas will be most welcome.

So while you're having a gander around the garden, my next task is to think about the veggies that my family actually likes as well as those that will be easy to grow and which will help reduce our reliance on packaging. And I mustn't forget, they'll also need protecting from the chickens. Oh my word. So much to do. Right, pen at the ready, it's time to start reading those gardening books.



Karin said...

Just seen your video. It is quite a small garden, isn't it.

Did you ever see Geoff Hamilton's ornamental kitchen garden on tv? You can get a book and the dvd. The idea is that you grow veg among the flowers, which could be useful for you.

Another idea that might be useful in your garden could be permaculture. Where gardens are concerned is about having different layers, so a few fruit and nut trees, with fruit bushes lower down and other crops below them, but you'd need to know what works with what. There are books and short courses available.

Having a willing/enthusiastic husband able to do the heavy digging is always useful.

Potatoes might grow OK in a shady patch if it's not too dry. They are a good first crop in weedy or stony areas as they are pretty robust and provide good ground cover.

Garden organic give lots of info on crop rotation, what to grow when and lots more besides.

Baba said...

I'm very jealous of the passion flower - we tried to grow one without muh success on our balcony but the conditions just weren't quite right.....have a look at this weblink and see if its any help......
love the video - I'll be using that to try and advise you on how to attract some more birds! XX

mrs green said...

Forget the garden; I want your hat :D

Great to see your little plot mrs A - I'm sure you'll turn it into a productive paradise. You can grow a huge amount in a tiny space and now I feel inspired because I know my friend over in the East will be toiling while I attempt to tame our jungle too. I don't think I'm brave enough to You Tube OUR garden :D

mrs G x

Tracey Smith said...

Hi missus - small is beautiful mate and you can do an awful lot in that space!

Also, don't forget you can grow things on the walls (wait until you see my upside down tomato plants in the spring lolol) and in hanging baskets and patio pots too.

Anything you do to supplement your table is admirable and will go a long way to breaking the myth that all food comes from the shops.

I only wish I was nearer to you and that we could share our abundances.

Much love, great to see you've kicked off the New Year in green and groovy style chick!

PS: LOVING that hat too - you have a queue of us waiting in line for it.....lolol...


Ruby said...

I totally agree with Tracey that small is beautiful! Producing food from a small space is somehow much more interesting & fun than if you have loads of room, and you can still grow lots!
Will you be growing anything from seed? I like the Thompson and Morgan website for the range of varieties they have and for all the info on it - worth a look.
And can I join the queue for the hat please?!!

John Costigane said...

Mrs A, It is such a good idea to grow and show the veg. Others will copy your good habits and I will learn from your experiences as well.

Shaded areas are good for roses, with bone meal a great help.

Maybe you can 'show' different hats from a sponsor.

Anonymous said...

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Hi Karin - thank you so much or these suggestions. I haven't come across Geoff Hamilton's book before but it sounds fabulous and thanks for the introduction to permaculture. That really has simplified an idea that previously seemed very complex. Potatoes sound a great idea for that shady border, thank you. That might be just what it needs, especially as the garden is built on an old agricultural field and has it's fair share of stones. :-D

Hi Baba - Shame about your passion flower. I also feel bad about pulling this one down, but needs must...Thanks for the link, those are some really great ideas for the shady spot too. I forgot we had some mint in there already, which seems to do pretty well. I always forget it's there because it dies back in the winter. However with that info, I can also make good use of the area behind the bench at the back of the garden. Am so looking forward to your tips about the birds :-D

Hi Mrs G - LOL at the hat. It is actually a Baker Boy hat but I put it on back-to-front because the peak got in the way.

I can picture you working away in your garden in The Forest of Dean, but wow what a job. It might be worth getting in some extra assistance. Is there a LETS group near you? Sometimes members offer gardening assistance and may be able to lend a hand with the clearing. I've been a LETS member for 7 years and it's great. :-D

Hey up Trace - Happy New Year! Great to see you emerging and hope that you had a fab new year. Can't wait to see your upside down toms. We've got quite a large wall at the back of the house so I think more hanging baskets will be the order of the day. Forget the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. It'll be the Hanging Gardens of Bury St Edmunds. :-D

As for the crops. I'd love you to be able to share some and have an idea...more on that later - I'll email you.

And I can't wait to tell Mr A about the popularity of the hat. When I bought it (from our local fair trade centre) he told me it looked like a tea cosy...Cheeky Mr A! :-D

Hi Rubes - Yay...the hat rules (hee hee). Good point about the seeds. I really hope to plant from seed but have to admit that I am really crap at it...mainly because of time and attention. However...we have one of those mini-greenhouses currently tucked away in the garage. It was last used about five years ago during my last burst of enthusiasm. So we will be reinstating that in the garden. We just need to find a spot for it to sit against the wall. Think of it like a bookshelf with a plastic cover and you'll get the picture. Thanks for the top tip about the seeds - will look them up :-D

Hi John - now I'm glad you haven't joined the queue for the hat - that would have got me worried. Love the sponsorship idea though...that could increase my hat collection quite nicely. I would like to plant more roses in the garden. We have some ramblers that grow up and over the pergola. I'll get some shots in the summer as they are gorgeous :-D

Hi Deborah - thanks for visiting and for the comment. It will be nice to have you around :-D

ecobabe said...

Hello Mrs. A,
Love the video of your backyard! We here at our house have a rather small backyard too, and were always struggling with wanting a veggie patch, as well as some green space to plant the tomatoes, onions, lettuce..... so we planted along side the outer areas two long raised beds, about 1/2' deep and 1.5 meters x 6 meters. I was going to post a photo to show you the idea, but there isn't a way for me to do that that I know of.

Anyways, excited about seeing the progress on the chicken coop, we are going to get some chickens in March as part of a project to change the laws in our town to allow chickens in small yards. I look forward hearing about all of that!

Happy digging...

Karin said...

Not sure how well I'll keep it up, but I've started a blog about our garden. Just added a couple of photos of the garden and the veg garden. It has lots of potential, but we don't have so much time, so veg is mostly grown in veg garden at moment, in a good year.

mrs green said...

Hi mrs A; sadly, no one in our local sharing group offers gardening. We have quite an elderly community around here, so not many gardeners!

We have a local timebank. I have over 30 hours collected but have never found anything to trade them for that would be valuable for me.

never mind - the three of us will get on top of things and turn it around I hope :)

Mrs g x

Despairing said...

>>When I bought it (from our local fair trade centre) he told me it looked like a tea cosy.<<

He took the words right out my mouth!

Gill - That British Woman said...

have you tried square foot gardening? Just google square foot gardening and it will tell you all about it. It does work, I have tried it.

Gill in Canada

Karin said...

Hello Gill, I've heard of square foot gardening, but I'm not sure what the benefits are. Perhaps it's better for biodiversity and thus pest control? Is it an efficient way to grow crops, though, or just a useful way to grow a little bit of a wide range of things if you have limited space?

Perhaps it's a good way to make use of all available space?

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Hi Mrs A - enjoyed the stroll around your garden. Have nothing to add to the other suggestions at the moment but will give it some thought and get back to you if I have a "eureka" moment. Keep up the good work!

A x


Hi Ecobabe - thanks so much for the description. That sounds a great idea. Can you email me the photo? If you like I can then include it in the post so others can see it. Looks like the chicken coop is well timed. We can compare notes if you like. Can't wait to hear how you get on :-D

Hi Karin - Thanks for the link to your new blog. I'll be updating my links soon and will add it into my sidebar so that others can follow your progress. You have a beautiful garden with some great plans and I'm looking forward to seeing how you get on :-D

Hi Mrs G - You're just like me. I'm loaded when it comes to our local LETS currency, but fortunately am able to spend it slowly. Good luck with the clearing and digging. It'll be hard but also a real fun experience :-D

Hi Despairing - LOL, Cheeky! :-D

Hi Gill - Thanks so much for popping over and for the advice about the Square Foot Gardening. I've done a quick search and it looks interesting. I've certainly got a lot of reading to do. :-D

Re Karin's question, I wonder if could be useful for planting things like garlic, beetroot, salad leaves and herbs.

Hi Anne - glad you enjoyed the tour. It felt really weird wandering around the garden talking to myself...or rather the camera phone. I think my neighbour was busy in his garden next-door. I wonder what he must have thought LOL. If you do have a eureka moment, do let me know :-D

Karin said...

Just read that potatoes like plenty of sun, so probably not a good idea for your shady patch.


under Growing Tips.


Hi Karin - thanks for that, best not put those in that border then. We'll be digging that up soon so I'll have to have another rethink. Thanks for the link will take a look :-D

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