As we are about to see a rather dramatic change of weather, I nipped outside to photograph the 3 raised vegetable beds in my back garden. I think I have said before, these measure about 1m x 1.2m x .75m high, of which there are 3. Then I have a leftover one from a batch we made for DS. & FDiL. This smaller one is raised on legs and is approximately 1m x .75m x 30cm deep.
DB has made re-moveable net tops to keep the birds out until things are around 10” high then they are taken off. This bed currently has some rocket salad growing in it.
Fleece can also be laid on top of and tucked underneath these nets to add frost protection. This bed is currently being used to house seedlings in containers.
The final bed will have the French and runner beans in it. We invested in a metal bean pole with strings. This was temporarily erected to see what if any room was spare for other crops. I worked out I could get 4 broad beans in each corner (we don't eat many of these and adore the smell of the flowers). Salad leaves and radish have been sown as a catch crop and when I pruned the blackcurrant bush in the fruit cage, 3 cuttings were inserted in here in an attempt to get some new bushes.
The little raised bed has onion and garlic growing in it. Haven't got a net for this one so this bit of trellis is standing in.
The crops I grow in these beds are rotated annually to try and stop a build up of pests and disease. Being organic, this is very important as I don't want to have to spray my food with anything we're not willing to eat.
So what do I sow in these? Runner, French and broad beans, salads, radish, beetroot, carrots, leeks, tomatillo, and tomatoes. More tomatoes are in pots as well at bell peppers. Chilli peppers are grown indoors in the conservatory. I hope this year to also grow a courgette in a large tub. DB doesn't eat any member of the cabbage family (which I adore), so these are not grown. Although now I have a fruit cage, I intend to sow 2 or 3 plants in containers of my favourite spring green - sprouting broccoli!
Yes, we could dig up the gravel area and grow more but both our backs are not as good as they were and these higher raised beds were built last year to accommodate this problem. Hopefully they will last for a few years. When they go rotten, we will think again. There are just the two of us now and we only grow what we like to eat - most important!
Other than the fruit cage, we have around 18" of border in front of each fence, plus 2 arches. The front arch nearest the patio, has 2 pear trees and 2 apple trees trained over it. The back arch has 2 trained plum trees and 1 quince tree. Here is some of the red pear blossom just beginning to come out.
Some of the plum blossom on the back arch.
Down the left hand side of the fence we have 1 pear and 2 apples- one of which is no longer producing so will have to come out sometime. Along the back fence is the dustbin pond, an ornamental tree with honeysuckle growing up it. Then there are our compost bins before we come to a wider area that has a cooking apple tree in it. Following on from that is the fruit cage and lastly, our patio which runs along the whole back length of the house.