I am getting very excited now that the beginnings of our edible garden are finally starting to come together!
The story so far…
As you may remember from previous posts, this is the first garden that we have actually ever owned.
When we decided to move from Dorset back to Gloucestershire, I had dreams of a big garden filled with fruit trees, vegetable patches, beautiful flowers and a large entertaining space.
What we have actually ended up with is a 10 metre x 5 metre (roughly 30 feet x 15 feet) patch of grass and patio slabs with majority clay soil and quite a bit of builder’s rubble lurking under the patchy lawn!
For quite a while I totally gave up on my dreams of growing our own fruit and veg. No fresh food for us I thought – the size of the garden made it only suitable for a bit of lawn and some pretty flowers in the borders.
An Edible Garden with just a little bit of planning…
Having been held up by the late arrival of spring, we actually had time to look at the garden properly and decided that, at a pinch, perhaps we could fit in one or two varieties of our favourite things and so the real planning began – and our edible garden started to take shape.
First, we thought long and hard about what we really would like to grow, what would be most viable for our ground and which ones would save us the most money on our supermarket shop. There is not really much point growing anything that is really cheap to buy!
So, our first decision was to grow fruit! I love fruit. Could eat fruit all day long!! And I love cooking with fruit – strawberries, raspberries, blackberries & blackcurrants for jams, puddings and cakes. Fresh crisp apples – cookers and eaters – to serve with crisp skinned roast pork or baked into juicy pies and crumbles; pears for chutney and super sweet fresh cherries with homemade vanilla ice cream ?
So, fruit is the backbone of our edible garden but then we realised that if we started to think vertically, there would be plenty of space between the dwarf apple, pear and cherry trees for runner beans (Brian’s favourite!), climbing French beans, onions, shallots and garlic, as they take very little room, and peas. There is nothing quite so nice as sweet, fresh peas, straight from the pod, picked while your hands are still grubby from tending the garden, while having a breather and surveying your progress!
We knew from even before we bought this house that the raised planter at the edge of the patio made from railway sleepers would have to go!
It was big, bulky and in the wrong place, making the garden look very small indeed.
But, we could see that a raised planter would have it’s uses. While too busy to even think about the garden last year I did manage to grow a few things in it – mainly outdoor cucumbers and shallots – so we have built a neater, slightly smaller planter at the back of the garden, where it is in full sun, ready for our salad crops.
Our garden cannot end up looking like an allotment! It is still our garden and needs to fulfil a few other roles at the same time.
We need some lawn as, even though we are currently without a dog, we will be getting a puppy in the future! We don’t need as much as we have at the moment though! As we add more plants to the garden, the borders will be widened and more space will be dedicated to growing edible crops.
We are planning to add an archway to give us more vertical growing space…that’s on it’s way and will be here this week. All going well and weather permitting, it will be assembled and put in place at the weekend.
We also need relaxing and entertaining space so the patio has stayed the same size, ready for BBQs, with the addition of pots, planters and hanging baskets to grow juicy strawberries, fresh, fragrant herbs by the back door and tumbling, sweet tomatoes.
We have included an arbour for sitting at the top of the garden at the end of the day with a glass of something cold and preferably sparkling ?
…I’m sure I can find room for some rhubarb too…!
I can’t wait to get more done to our edible garden – I’m even reading my favourite garden magazines Grow Your Own Magazine & Kitchen Garden Magazine in bed at night to get ideas of what else I might be able to grow and absorb all of the great advice they give every month!
More updates to come as we get more done in the next week or so ?
…but so far, things are looking good…our sweet cherry tree ‘Stella’ certainly seems happy ?