This weekend was spent in the garden. In these strange times of confinement I don’t take this lightly. It’s a privilege and a luxury to be able to step in to the garden and I savour every minute.
Many people have written asking about our no-dig beds in the vegetable garden, so I thought you may like a Spring garden update.
I first created these beds a couple of years ago, following the no-dig method. Hours were spent, reading, watching videos and visiting other gardens to understand how the system works. I tried to apply what I had learnt and in November I covered the future beds with cardboard, then layered compost, dried leaves, grass cuttings, more compost, stable manure, more grass cuttings and so on and so on, until someone said that was probably enough.
We also created the wattle fencing around these first four squares of garden. At the time I wasn’t really sure of what we were doing, and we used hazelnut branches because they are easy to find here.
Making the wattle fencing is pretty easy to do. Mark out your lines with string, plant the uprights firmly in the ground and then start weaving the branches in and out, being sure to alternate your ins with your outs, if you see what I mean.
It turns out that hazelnut branches were not the best idea, and after three years it was definitely time to renew the wattle fencing. The no-dig beds however were a GREAT idea. We never ever dig …. we have no weeds to pull …. and the plants grow beautifully.
So encouraged by these results, I doubled the size of the kitchen garden, but this time we avoided the hazelnut, and I purchased a really large quantity of chestnut saplings, all cut to the same three meter length.
And this is where we are at today. the new beds are all ready to be planted, in fact I have slightly jumped the gun and began planting last weekend. In between the six new beds, we have dug out the ground and will be creating sand filled paths here rather than grass. We found that cutting the grass in between the beds was tricky with the wattle fencing, so sand should work better.
I had some saplings left over and we put together some very simple frames for tomatoes, beans, sweet peas and peas.
It’s a funny thing when you tend a garden. The seeds in your hand may be minute, but in your head they are already big and beautiful and tumbling over the edges of the beds. So it is with the kitchen garden. It still may be baby steps, but in my head I can already envision it brimming over with produce.
I know that many of you are more experienced than me at growing vegetables, and I’d love to know what you are planting or planning to plant this year. My list so far is pretty long, but I’d be happy to hear your suggestions.
And if you are looking for more information and videos about no-dig beds then I recommend the gently spoken Charles Dowding on You Tube, delightful!