Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Everything is green

This year I was determined to get more out of the garden than a few mushy courgettes. We don't have tons of space, but having lived in a garden-less studio flat previously, I count my blessings in this small yard with its single raised bed. I figure that if I can make a go of this space, then I will be skilled up for when I get my acre!

Our yard faces east. The raised bed is partially shadowed by a wall and by the holly tree.  I decided to stock this with as many perennials and easy annuals as I could, just to stop our (and the entire neighbourhood's) cats digging it over. So far I have planted sage, variegated sage, french tarragon, lemon balm, parsley, chives, nigella, honeysuckle, monbretia, clematis, calendula and a pale pink climbing rose that I am hoping will fill a gap in the privet hedge. There are a few gaps to fill with annual vegetables too, this year with courgettes.

The pots are devoted to annual vegetables. If I had been a bit more organised pehaps I could have made them even more productive, but it has been fun experimenting. I am delighted with my tomatoes, I have 'Purple Calabash' and 'Marmande Super' just starting to set fruit! There is also a huckleberry, some garlic and onions, sunflowers, potatoes, jerusalem artichoke, sweet peppers, oca, salad leaves and perpetual spinach. I am also experimenting with a loofah and some black eyed beans, but fear that I didn't get them started early enough, even if the English climate could support them through to a harvest! Indoors on my dining room windowsill I also have tomatillo, cape gooseberry and aubergine which I am hoping survive an aphid infestation.

We have spent about £130 on the garden since we moved in over two years ago. That has mostly been on masonry paint, compost, tools, plants and seeds.  With the exception of the brightly coloured 'gorilla tubs', all of the planters and pots have come from Freecycle, been pulled from skips, found fly-tipped or pulled from neighbours refuse before the bin men got there. The water butt came free from the local water company as we are in a drought prone region.

This week I will sow some late greens, as well as a few winter veg, which I haven't tried before. The Broad beans I planted are too far gone and so I will let them dry out and save the seed to pass on. I think that they have been a waste of space in terms of yield vs. space they occupy, delicious as they are. I also need to trim the privet hedge back before it smothers everything with fallen petals. I personally have a love-hate relationship with the thing, but the poor put upon bumble bees seem to love it; and as a mere human, I realise that they are more productive creatures than I can ever hope to be!

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