I think we’ve got it now!
The first year we were here we didn’t really grow much veg – there were so many other things that needed to take priority (like making the house habitable!).
Then for year 2 we built the big framework …
It was good, but it had it’s flaws – it was very difficult to work in between the rows, especially after we had irrigated. It was brilliant for the tomatoes though. So we started some proper planning (probably should have done that earlier, but hey, we’re learning!). We decided what we wanted to grow, and how to manage the quantity of each veg type – you can see above we ended up with a glut of cabbage and kohl rabi and little else. After these were harvested it was all tomatoes.
So to grow peas, beans and tomatoes we still needed something for them to grow up against. For everything else, we just needed veg beds. We like the flood irrigation – it worked really well last year. Rog repositioned all the pipes and outlets so now we can actually irrigate just around the frames, just the beds, or all of it.
This time we’ve given ourselves some room at the side to work. We were also having problems with the edge of the garden being washed down the bank, so we’ve brought the beds away from the edge a bit.
I’ve bought sacks for growing the potatoes in, so these won’t even need to be fitted into the veg garden.
We put the frames up before we needed to plant anything so we could make sure it all held and was strong enough. It all looked good so I planted some peas … then we had a force 7 storm, and they took a bit of a battering.
One had to be taken down and rebuilt, and the other two just needed a bit of extra securing. We’ve gone belt and braces on them all now with cross beams attached to metal posts that go into the ground about 18 inches. We’ve been able to reuse the poles and all the wire from when we took down the big frame, so there’s been no waste.
So at the moment we have peas, broccoli, cabbage , onions, beetroot and broad beans in the ground. I have also started seedlings off in seed trays, which will be planted in the new year – these include spinach, rhubarb, kohl rabi and some more peas, beetroot and cabbage. Staggering the planting will give us a chance to eat what we grow! This year, of course, I do also have the pressure canner, so any that we can’t eat can be preserved for later.
The potatoes will be planted into the grow bags in January, and then in February we have loads of seeds to start off! I hope to make better use of the space we have this year by continually harvesting and then sowing again so there aren’t bare patches for months in between planting.
We’ve also started growing more herbs, but have decided to do most of them in pots near the house – much easier when I’m cooking! But we’re also planting marigolds, thyme and basil in the veg garden to repel insects – nothing better than picking fresh tomato and basil at the same time for tea – making my mouth water already!!
We would love to have more room to grow more veg, but we would have to start cutting down trees to achieve this – I think we’ll see how we get on with what we have now, and think about expanding the veg garden maybe next year. We do have a lot of trees, but the land would actually serve us better growing our own food rather than a ton of oranges … we’ll see – it’s an ever evolving life living here!