Many people have written to me about the garden videos I’ve been showing on Instagram – thank you ! A lot of questions about increasing the size of the kitchen garden, and in particular about the wattle fencing.
So …. I thought you’d like to know more !
First of all, as you may know, for the past few years we have used the no-dig method in the garden. My mentor in this is the British gardener Charles Dowding, whose YouTube videos I highly recommend. If we weren’t on the no-dig method, with its incredible time saving I would never have been brave enough to more than double our vegetable garden. The no-dig means that we never have to dig DUH!, and that in itself is a huge time saver, but more importantly because the soil is never disturbed we get hardly any weeds at all. The result is a happy kitchen garden and a happy me, because I free up so much time for other stuff.
The only down side this year has been the moles. Oh my goodness, the moles. They are not in the slightest bit interested in eating my vegetables, but they have dug an underground circuit that makes the Paris metro system look like a joke. When they dig the tunnels, if they encounter the root of a vegetable, they simply chew their way through it. Their presence has led to a number of dead plants, but (always looking for the silver lining here) a very happy fox terrier, aka Ghetto, who has decided to make it his mission to track and eliminate the moles!
Making the wattle fencing was deceptively simple. A few years ago I had created the first beds using the same system, but with hazelnut branches. Hazelnut was not the best idea, as it doesn’t last more than three years, and after that becomes very brittle and rots.
This time I bought a huge quantity of chestnut branches, each three metres or nine foot long. Once the beds were measured and outlined (the longest part to do) it only took us a few hours to drive in the vertical stakes (we spaced them every 60cm), then weave the branches in and out, until we reached the right height. This is a simple job and quick to do. It can be handled by one person, but it’s a tad quicker and more fun working two people at the same time.
Once the fencing was completed we filled the beds with ‘lasagne compost’, ie alternating layers of grass cuttings, compost, dried leaves, manure, compost etc. We then walked away and forgot about the beds through the winter and up to the spring when it was time to start planting.
During the spring, as the rest of the garden was waking up, and begining to bloom, the vegetable garden got off to a good start. In the new part of the potager I put down sand paths, because it is tricky getting a lawn mower between the beds without damaging the fencing.
On the whole the months of May and June were looking pretty good. We are trying to limit watering to a minimum, and again the no dig method helps with that because the enriched soil retains the moisture so much better. In the vegetable garden I have also planted flowers as cutting flowers and simply to make it look pretty.
If you want to see more images and video, check out my story on Instagram today.
Voila, a round up of what’s going on in my garden today. I hope that wherever you are, that your garden is bringing you joy too. Stay safe and take care.