Welcome to my spring garden! Oh my goodness, we are living through strange times right now. Secluded at home with my husband, I’m in daily contact with my children, my mum and my good friends. But while I’m happy to check in on them, I am so aware of those working in the health care world who are taking risks everyday to care for others. Also people working in food retail who ensure that we can all still buy provisions, or the transporters and shippers who are currently so vital in keeping the economy going. We are all so grateful for the work they are doing.
Like many of you, I feel pretty helpless to do anything except to stay at home and prevent the spread of the virus. We are not going out at all, except for a weekly trip to buy food. As well as working from my office, I’m using this confinement period to prepare my spring garden. Sowing seeds, laying a final mulch and planning the year ahead.
This week on my Instagram I’ll be sharing lots of videos from my garden, hoping to bring you a little welcome calm and comfort.
Today I wanted to explain how and why I have doubled the size of my vegetable garden, or potager.
I’ve since become an evangelist for no-dig gardens, it is amazing! We add new layers of mulch, compost, leaves etc at the end of each year, and by the time the spring comes around, we have a beautiful weed-free bed ready to plant, or sow directly.
So inspired by this time saving method, this year I decided to double my vegetable garden. We dug out the paths last fall, and they will soon be filled with sand. We have created the same wattle fencing around the new beds, and are nearly done replacing the fencing on the original beds. The choice of wood is important here. The first beds were fenced in with hazelnut branches, but they only last two or three years. The new wattling is made from chestnut branches, that I bought from a producer in the center of France, and he tells me they will last closer to 8 or 9 years.
Of course it is one thing to create the new beds, but now we have to fill them. Last year I was lucky to visit some spectacular gardens where I took lots of pictures and notes, on how to plant and stake and design the beds.
Aesthetics are very important of course, ‘cos you know that I love a good photo :). But the first decisions were what do we want to eat from this garden? There is one bed that will be given over to herbs; we have huge established rhubarb already, but besides that it is a clean slate.
So I thought that you may have some advice for me. Crops that you have grown successfully in your garden, or others that should be avoided. There is an added difficulty this year with all our garden centres closed due to the virus. Consequently, I am sowing seeds! Gulp! Did I just say that?! I’ve never been very clever at growing from seed, but this time I have no choice. I’m trying to stay concentrated, and remember to check in on them everyday, and water. We have a very small green house, where I’ve made some very makeshift potting tables with some old doors and trestles. Not really high-tech, but it’s getting the job done.
I’d love to hear if you are out in your garden avoiding seclusion blues. Are you experienced at sowing seeds? Have you also adopted the no-dig method. There are videos going up on my instagram everyday this week, with images of the garden, of my seeds and the potager. Please pop over and take a look.
Take care my friends. Stay inside, or stay isolated. The only way we can stop this pandemic is to avoid contact with other people, and we really have to take that seriously. Let’s beat this thing together!