Sunday 6 February 2011

The Makings of a Vegetable Patch?

Our house faces East and our back garden faces West. We live right next to a Protected Woodland and we have nine (9) very large, old and protected trees in our garden. Pines and Chestnuts. During the summer months when the sun is high, it shines over the house in the mornings to the middle/ right hand side of the garden, as it comes around, it shines across the back of the patio and the front part of the lawn but then, soon after lunch the trees shade the whole garden for the day.

In 2009 I planted in containers and placed them along the edge of the patio/lawn to maximise their sun exposure, the salad leaves did well, I only got a few tomatoes, I had 3 potato bags and 2 of them got blight?!? and the spring onions did nothing at all!

We have a very small front garden which was made up of prickly bushes and lawn. The front of the house gets sun from dawn until about lunchtime, so I thought I'd try some veggies in the front garden instead.  Last year we removed all the prickly bushes and planted sunflowers, kitchen herbs and some lavender there but nothing more as my husband Jez was poorly and in and out of hospital.

The sunflowers were great for our first try, the boys planted and watered them and were amazed at the quick growth.  The tallest one was almost up to my bedroom window and the head was the size of a dinner plate! We also had some of the smaller, bushier, multi headed variety as well.  They attracted lots of lovely bees, ladybirds, butterflies etc to the garden which we were able to observe through the sitting room window.  With the boys being so young they often get over exuberant and excited so I was glad we were able to watch the comings and goings without fear of trampling or scaring the bugs away!

The soil is full of rubble! Whilst undertaking the double digging we're picking out all sorts of things from bricks and stones to rather large pieces of glass and drainage pipes.  I'm doing my best to dig and sieve out the soil but it's hard work and I've only managed about 2 of the 4 or so sqaure metres.

I invested in a cold frame and a very small plastic covered greenhouse which I've stood against the wall, and we've been given a half barrel for planting out too.  I've got some onions and garlic in the ground and kitchen herbs and strawberries in propagators on my windowsill.  I also have a whole load of seeds for carrots, brocolli, cauliflower, leeks, tomatoes, radishes and more all waiting for the right sewing time.

It's not a 'full sun' spot but does enjoy the shelter of the house and warmth / support of the front walls so I'm hoping it will be more successful than the damp and shady rear garden.


cartside said...

Just a thought, do you know the history of the land where you're trying to plant? If it's full of rubble, it may indicate that it could be contaminated, and then it may be safer (and easier) to grow in containers or raised beds.

Karen said...

I think the bits I have found are probably just leftover from when the houses were built. The land used to be a forest before it was developed over 25 years ago so I don't think it could be contaminated.

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