Tag Archive: layout

WP_20150107_11_25_59_ProIt’s early January and a perfect time to think about what you’re going to grow in the coming year, putting this down on paper (especially for food crops) look through your seed collection, and plugging any gaps. With not much to do in the garden at present, this is just what I’ve been up to in the last couple of days.

I’ve done what I usually do- slotted the packs of seeds I’m going to use into a weekly organiser so that I know when to sow them (always being prepared to adjust this if the weather doesn’t quite go to expectations where outdoor sowings are concerned), adding in a few more things where I want to grow more succession crops (e.g. carrots) or widen the range (e.g. squashes).

I’ve also bought some additional asparagus crowns to add to the bed I started last year (only a couple of plants came through their first season). As last year, I’ve been collecting seed from some plants and adding to my collection through purchases, including taking advantage of the RHS Members’ Seed Scheme where I can buy packs of 12 different seeds for just £8.50. I placed my order yesterday and look forward to receiving some interesting ornamentals to add to Old School Garden.

As far as food is concerned I’ve prepared a new plan for the Kitchen Garden and showed both early and follow on crops…kitchen gdn 2015Changes for this year include:

  • Relocating the three large pots of blueberries – I’m planning to partly sink these into the ground in a spot where I can more easily erect a bird proof cage over them and at the same time release some gravelled space next to the Greenhouse and Cold Frame where I can store pots and trays for ‘hardening off’ new plants.

  • Growing more carrots and parsnips in plastic dustbins, as my experiment last year worked quite well and provides some extra growing space when the rest of the garden is pretty well full.

  • I’ve substituted one Blackcurrant bush with a White currant to improve the balance of the fruit we have and bought ten raspberry canes (two varieties of summer fruiting to plug some gaps in the rows and hopefully improve fruiting).

  • I’m also continuing to install plastic hoops (I’ve used plumbing pipe available from DIY stores) over some more beds to enable me to use plastic/ enviromesh/netting to provide a warm micro climate and protection from pests.

Let’s hope for a productive year!

Old School Gardener

 Close up of strong wind break netting

Close up of strong wind break netting

No, not a reference to too many sprouts, but a serious question from L. Onerf in Somerset:

‘Vegetables are not growing well in my windy garden, but I am reluctant to plant windbreaks of trees or hedges, as they will create shade and take moisture from the soil. What alternatives are there?’

If you want to avoid the costs of installing a fence/trellis with openings to allow the wind to percolate through at an acceptable speed, I think the answer lies in putting in a screen of synthetic wind break material, obtainable from most garden centres or online. The strength and quality of this varies and some is fairly costly, but a 1.5- 1.8 metre high wind break around your plot would give dramatic results. I found a 50 metre x 2 metre roll of knitted net on offer online for around £170 or much the same on Ebay for about £40, and £13 for a 10 metre length. Make sure the posts are anchored firmly in the ground (corner posts may need to be reinforced and they should ideally be bedded in concrete), as the netting takes a tremendous strain in high winds.

On the subject of vegetable or kitchen gardens, is yours laid out for maximum efficiency and growing space?

Traditionally vegetables were grown in large plots, often 6-9 metres wide and as long as the garden allowed. The vegetables were arranged with a lot of wasted space between rows. Today we know that vegetables can be grown far closer together without any adverse effects; indeed, there is a a trend towards abandoning rows and growing vegetables with equal spacing between the plants in each direction, in blocks or patches.

Narrow beds in the Kitchen Garden at Old school Garden

Narrow beds in the Kitchen Garden at Old School Garden

This compactness lends itself to smaller, narrower beds, say 0.9 – 1.5m wide, which can be any length you like. These narrower beds are easier to manage from either side (so avoiding walking on the bed itself and opening up the possibility and benefits of ‘no dig’ cultivation) and the denser planting also helps to crowd out weeds. here at Old School Garden, my kitchen garden ahs been laid out along these lines, though I still have a one large bed which I’ve effectively split into two by creating a ‘boardwalk’ path out of old pallets.

New boardwalk made of old wooden pallets

Boardwalk made of old wooden pallets, used to split a large veg bed into two

Do you have any gardening questions I might help you with? If so, please email me: nbold@btinternet.com

Old School Gardener

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ImageGarden Design Course in Norfolk

Following the successful pilot of ‘Your Garden- by Design’ last autumn, I’m pleased that Reepham Learning Community have agreed to run an extended version of this course beginning at the end of the month. 8 two-hour sessions (including one garden visit) will use a variety of methods and materials to help those who want to improve their own gardens through design.

Based at Reepham College in central Norfolk, the course is a step-by-step walk through the design process, showing how to apply this to your own garden (big or small) from basic surveying and appraisal techniques, forming ideas about what the garden is for and how it might look, to outline plans and 3-D visions of  different ideas as well as the important things needed to ensure successful delivery of attractive, practical plans.

Group review and discussion of the evolving designs will enable participants to develop a critical and creative approach to garden design and a large number of reference books will be on hand as well as links to other sources of information. Case studies and in-class exercises will help participants to develop their skills.

Green (and its many shades) is one of the most important colours in garden design (arguably it’s a more important feature than the ‘white’ in Vita Sackville-West’s garden at Sissinghurst). Gardens which feature plants with bold, contrasting foliage can be really effective and the Course will introduce colour, texture and form as three key ideas in planting design. The contribution that ‘hard’ landscaping (paths, walls, furniture and built structures) makes to successful garden design will also be covered.

Participants don’t need to have any particular skills- the course and associated support should lead to practical ideas which can be put into action. The eight sessions will cover:

  • Starting out- what do I want from my garden?IMG_4931
  • Surveying and appraising your garden and functional layouts
  • Garden Styles and Forms
  • Structure in your Garden- the third dimension
  • Planting- the fourth dimension
  • Garden visit (day time)
  • Final designs
  • Delivering your Design

Check out the link to the Reepham Learning Community for more information- I’m looking forward to meeting a new group of enthusiastic garden makers!

Quizzicals- answers to the last two:

  • Morrisey’s mother’s mother- Granny Smith
  • Someone who is out get you – Anemone

A couple of gardening ditties for you:

‘Livin’ Dill’

‘Juke Box Chive’

(note to self= must move away from herbs and spices for a while…)

Old School Gardener


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