Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Garden design (II) - getting the veggie garden started........

The place for the new veggie garden
We've all got areas of our garden that despite our best efforts are a problem. For mine, it's the area right by the fence and the shed which if it were wonderful soil under the turf would be brilliant. Instead of that, we've got very stoney ground, which I wouldn't be surprised if it were previously a hardcore area which the grass has just taken over and is *pretending* to be part of the lawn. Which I have to say is a bit naughty.

View to the byre.......and the new hedge
We tried to put a hedge into that area and found ourselves using a fencing spike and a mell (big hammer) to get it started - not great! The hedge is slowly establishing but the rest of the ground - for a while I had no idea what to do with it. It's 3m by just over 8m - one day I just thought - Oh it is just uselss, there's no soil there unless I raise it up.

*Lightbulb moment* - doh - I like veggie gardens in raised beds - they are more concentrated effort in a small area, keeps the dog off, keeps the kids off and makes you a bit more keen to have a go if the area you've got is defined by wood (I think). So that was the decision made, its where I'm going to put my veggie garden.

First off I took a photo and measured the area to see what I could manage. Now, ideally I'd love railway sleepers to define the beds, look pretty and also give me a good depth of soil, but at £20 a go - I'd worked out I'd need a fair few of them. Not very frugal - more of a definite want than a need. I took myself off to the shed and found various lengths of scaffolding board and other bits of wood of a good length just sitting there. No brainer eh? I'd like it pretty - but the cost of the railway sleepers is silly when I can use free wood.
I never try to use much, only enough to make it work
Second job was to try and lift the turf from the area which I wanted the bed - very funny - no chance - aboslutely no depth of soil at all - lifting stones not alot of fun - decision made, I'll have to use herbicide. Now I don't really like using chemicals - but when the job at hand dictates that you've not alot of choice, I don't mind using them very sparingly rather than break my back as the alternative was very hard. I used 'round-up' as it biologically degrades the minute it reaches the soil and its safe for pets and children to be around it once its on. I am a bit heavy handed normally, so I bought some of those ready made packets which have it measured out exactly to a watering can/sprayer amount. Perfect (well as perfect as you can ever feel using chemicals). The grass has started to yellow - even at this time of year these types of things can be very effective.

Next job was to get the beds made - whilst the wood won't be perfect - it will be free and I'll feel like we've made a start on the veggie garden. My brother volunteered to do the job (Hurray!) - whilst I was at work - what a sweetie! So I come home to one bed made (not enough wood for the entire site) but its free and its done!

Need to get down to the beach for some free seaweed - great for the garden
Finally I'll have to get some top soil and compost for the bed and some well rotted manure to give it a good heart or I'll collect seaweed from the local beach at the bottom of the track with my little trailer- I'll manure this first bed and leave the other bed without dung to start my crop rotation sequence.

I saw a sign for maure on the way into work - free to a good home a bit like that one - and now I've got my new bed built - I'm sure that will be a very good home!

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