The season ahead- 4 mins
Spring is officially here. Perhaps not quite if you go by the sun cycles, but if you’re one of the billions living in a gregorian manor, the next season has ticked over into action. With it comes a whole host of prep work around the plot, readying for nature’s start.
The garden is waking up, regardless of your outlook on calendars. Slowly but surely, the birds are chirping just that little bit louder, and temperatures are tolerable in full sun, assuming you’re wearing three jumpers. Knowing that we want to crop far more calories from the garden this coming year, imagination has run wild considering the variety’s rotation schedule the individuals need to slot into.
To get ready, I’ve spent some time prepping the bottom half of the back garden. This is where we installed our first two veg beds, the largest of which holds just over two tons of material. Prepping them means relocating the last of the sacrificial veg into either pots or a new home, throwing the odd bag of compost around and working it in. Only two need this treatment, with others already filled.
This is our primary bed and the first to be added. This one gets endless amounts of passing love and care. We walk by the biggest of the raised planters whenever we go into the garden, noticing anything less than perfect quite quickly. Carrots, parsnips, swede, cabbage, leeks and onions all originated from it last year. Currently, just one end is occupied by elephant garlic. . . although I hope to further pack out the end in due course.
2022 highlight: Carrots
Bed 2 was made from the same job lot of wood, but constructed at the tail end of Bed 1’s first season. . . just in time for planting some onions. Today it stands almost empty, after gradually emptying over winter bar a few straggling brassicas. This raised veg bed doesn’t get direct sunlight over winter, meaning it’s not great for all veggies through the colder months but perfect for many. This last year we dedicated this bed to leafy greens, giving up some of its sprouty goodness for the Christmas dinner table.
2022 highlight: Sprouts
The Garlic Bed
As one of the latest areas to come into action, the garlic bed was put to work over winter for. . . garlic. This area was a highly successful pumpkin and squash patch last year, interjected with the occasional bean tower. The cloves of garlic have a few months left before being ready, so this isn’t a bed to fuss over for the moment.
2022 highlight: Butternut squash
The Onion Bed
Paired with the garlic bed, the onions share a similar fate. Just leave them until they look like they’re going over. This bed produced our peas (literally two peas) harvest in 2022 after being built late into the season. This one should come good next year.
2022 highlight: Decorative gourds
The Raspberry Patch
To say they’re contained in a bed is simply a bare-faced lie. The two raspberry plants are escaping all around this part of the garden, but do remain primarily in a tiny bed next to the shed. There are two types here, one summer and one autumn fruiting.
2022 highlight: The stick insect
The Greenhouse bed
This was initially intended to be a cut flower bed. The lack of sun in anything but summer means that use has been abandoned. It ended up being the sacrificial area, where non-needed veg was planted to allow the bugs to make good use of them. Despite a summer being ravaged by butterflies, the 4th generation kale outlived the caterpillars to become a good source of winter nutrition for us.
There are some asparagus in here, too, although I’ve never seen them.
2022 highlight: Kale
2023 is the year we start another era of the garden adventure, one that will focus more effort on food production. To up the calorie count coming from the ground, we’re taking over another garden so that we can:
- Add up to five new raised beds
- Bring the upper greenhouse into use
- Establish the berry patch
- Add a few more fruit trees. . . if I get my way
Some sneaky veg will end up dotted about the garden, knowing us.
More on that along the way.