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New Year Catch Up – Garden

This is the big one for me this year. I plan to make major changes in the garden and invest some time and funds to correct some of the mistakes I made in previous years.

If you remember I opted for container and raised bed gardening which I felt would suit me and my garden better. The intention with containers was to enable them to be moved when I found a plot of land and to stop them being raided after an event I intended to denude them straight after the event making them unrecognisable., My raised beds were going to be builders bags which also makes them potentially portable as well as raised. I currently have several containers around with a variety of fruits in them, a greenhouse and a raspberry patch.

First of all I decided I was going to have to revamp the area. It has grown in a haphazard way and I need to get it under control. The chickens have been allowed to run loose and have destroyed almost everything. So first thing is to partition the garden off. I’ll put aside the back third for the chickens, the rabbits and the bees. I can put a couple of the larger plants in there as well. I’ll bury some wire in about a quarter of that area to stop the rabbits digging their way out.

I’ve two sheds, first an old shed that needs replacing behind the greenhouse. It has been leaking for some time and over the winter had started to rot and so I have disassembled it and moved it to the driveway. I’ll put in a new shed I can use and I’m considering using it for aquaponics or for growing fish. Not sure yet what is best. The other shed I will continue to use for storage.

The greenhouse already contains a grape which I will keep and I’ll put some more staging in and use it for what it is intended instead of a tool store.

Couple that with a couple of portable greenhouses next to the garage and that should cover my seeds and my strawberry requirements. I’m also looking at putting some growbag trays and cloches on the roof of the garage to give me increased plant space. I can fix them to the roof without any issues although I have concerns about winds like we had a few weeks ago. We will just have to look at it carefully.

I’m looking at getting three builders bags of earth to give me the raised growing areas in the second third of the garden. Depending on how they go I may even get double that in the space. I’m going to build a mini greenhouse around each of these bags and use this area for a mixture of crops to feed the rabbits plus ourselves. I already have separate bags for potatoes, strawberries, tomatoes and I’ll keep them as they worked fine over the last few years. This year I’ll supplement those bags with others to grow more veg like lettuce and carrots.

I also need to revisit all the containers which will see me replanting what I can and replacing those I can’t. This time I’ll make a much better job of the containers and ensure that the drainage is OK which is where I went wrong last time. Many of the containers didn’t drain properly and all those plants died. I’ll be a lot more careful this time.

In addition I’m looking at plumbing up the garden a bit better. I’ll put a couple of water butts elevated on the side of the house and run pipes from them to all the containers, the chickens and the greenhouse. I can also use some micro irrigation within the greenhouse to help there. Another area I didn’t do to well on last year as it dried out several times whilst I was working away.

I’m also going to look at the opportunity to install some hydroponic or aquaponic units on the back roof of the house and put a walkway up there. The roof can handle a bit of weight and I only need a walkway to enable this.

This component will be my biggest personal investment of time this year. I want this to be a successful growing year. The last few have not been as productive as they could have been and I put that down to the lack of time I spent looking after then, rushing the containers, and not keeping them watered or fed correctly. This year I will invest the time to get a decent contribution from my garden.

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