Growing, showing and gladioli

Ups and downs in the garden and around the shows

The story so far

Over the last year, the garden has begun to change and become much more useful than just the lawn it was when we arrived. The top half of the garden is raised up about a foot which creates a drier area (useful because the soil is quite clay based so is wet during winter). In the first year, (the wettest on record for ages!) it was very noticeable that the top half was considerably drier than the bottom section. Therefore, it seemed sesible that it became the area for growing the vegetables and flowers.

It took ages to come up with the final design of where everything should be. The things I knew I wanted were:-

  • a greenhouse (size depending on space and position)
  • the best design of beds so that it gave me the most growing space available
  • preferably 4 different growing areas to help with rotation
  • paths so that I could get easily to the growing areas without having to walk on the soil
  • A small shed for my chickens!
  • I begun by drawing ideas out on squared paper. They were various and many as you can see.

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    Once I had settled on the best one I begun to string it out so that it actually gave me an idea of whether it worked.

    The greenhouse arrived in February 2013. With help from my dad and uncle we prepared a a based for it to stand on made from 3′ by 2′ concrete flags. The greenhouse was subsequently bolted to this in the hope it would stay there even with some of the strong winds we get!

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    Once the greenhouse was up I begun work on the raised beds. It was easier to see how much space was available for the beds once that the greenhouse was up. The woods came in 16′ length and they fit ok in the garden so I decided to keep them the same rather than cut them to 10′ which I thought might be the best length. They are 4′ wide which is a manageable width to be able to reach to the centre. I left a path between that takes the lawn mower.

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    I had done a bit of reading before making the beds and Geoff Hamilton always recommends double digging and the addition of manure when making new beds and borders. Therefore, I dug out a spade’s depth, forked over the bottom and added a layer of manure. I then cut the turf of the next trench and laid it upside down on the manure. After adding another thin layer of manure I dug out the next trench and put that soil on the manure.

    I was thankful that our neighbours lent me a small rotavator to break down the soil. Once I’d run over it a few times it became very workable.

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