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Latest topics
» My new garden.
by freebird 9th November 2019, 10:54 am

» What are you harvesting today?
by Dandelion 7th November 2019, 5:55 pm

» The November garden - time to tidy, but not too much !
by Chilli-head 4th November 2019, 12:55 pm

» The October garden, a pause for reflection
by Dandelion 22nd October 2019, 8:39 pm

» Allotments could be key to sustainable farming
by Chilli-head 20th October 2019, 2:52 pm

» Shakshouka
by FloBear 3rd October 2019, 10:28 pm

» Shades of autumn in the September garden
by FloBear 3rd October 2019, 10:26 pm

» Welcome guest
by Ploshkin 8th September 2019, 10:41 am

» Practical Action
by Chilli-head 6th September 2019, 1:23 pm

» Overheated in the August garden
by Dandelion 3rd September 2019, 9:34 pm

» Adverts
by FloBear 29th August 2019, 8:53 am

» High summer in the July garden
by FloBear 23rd July 2019, 12:13 pm

» Insect hotel
by FloBear 12th July 2019, 1:00 pm

» Peregrines
by FloBear 4th July 2019, 10:18 pm

» Tomato trusses
by freebird 29th June 2019, 10:31 am

» Bursting out in the June garden
by FloBear 23rd June 2019, 7:11 pm

» New "New Horizons"
by Dandelion 21st June 2019, 4:01 pm

» More mead ...
by Chilli-head 10th June 2019, 4:26 pm

» Beautiful moth
by FloBear 8th June 2019, 6:00 pm

» The Gardening "method or madness ?" thread
by Dandelion 4th June 2019, 7:38 pm

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default My new garden.

Post by freebird on 26th August 2019, 8:58 pm

Well today, exactly four weeks after moving in, I have made a start on my new fruit and veg garden. There is a lot of preparatory work to do, but I did manage to clear enough space and plant my two rhubarb plants that came with me.

The garden isn't very big - usable space of about 35 feet by 55 feet. That was occupied by my fruit and veg alone in my old garden, with another 35 x 100. No matter, I've earmarked the top end of the sloping plot (slopes to the SE) to turn into an area for my fruit cage, greenhouse and terraced veg beds.

My new garden. 20190812

The entire plot is bordered by mixed hedging, but as you can see there are some fairly hefty shrubs in front of it at the back. The greenhouse and fruit cage will be right at the top by the back hedge and two terraces of veg beds coming down as far as the washing line.

I need to be careful what I discard though, as the garden is absolutely full of butterflies.
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Post by FloBear on 29th August 2019, 8:51 am

How lovely that you arrived in time to make a start, freebird. Terracing sounds like quite a task but getting the structure right will mean you can go full steam ahead once done.
Do you know anything about your soil type? Have you peered in the neighbours' gardens to see what works well in your area?
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Post by Dandelion on 30th August 2019, 9:53 pm

Probably a good time of the year to get started on this, FB. It sounds exciting - looking forward to hearing about your progress and seeing more pictures

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Ploshkin on 4th September 2019, 10:02 am

The mature shrubs that are there will give you a good idea of what will grow there even if they are somewhere you don't want them. You could take cuttings to replant elsewhere or move them if they aren't too big.
I'm hoping to get a fruit cage installed this year so that I have a chance of getting some fruit before the birds. I will plant blackcurrant and redcurrant cuttings somewhere else specially for them.
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Post by Dandelion on 5th September 2019, 7:57 pm

That's very kind of you Ploshkin!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by freebird on 5th October 2019, 4:11 pm

A progress report, as I have spent the entire morning removing a holly tree from the area where I want to plant my fruit.  So the area shown in the pic in my first post now looks like this -

My new garden. 20191010

The shrubbery in front of the hedge was a good 9 feet deep, with half a dozen large or very large plants to remove. Still a couple of roots to come out, but they are in the space for the greenhouse, so can be left until next year. Next job is to put in soil retainers to level the area.
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Post by Ploshkin on 5th October 2019, 6:22 pm

So, is that cleared area for your fruit cage Freebird?
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Post by freebird on 6th October 2019, 12:28 pm

Yes indeed. I had wrongly remembered the size of the fruit cage, but yesterday had the foresight to lay out the frame in the previously cleared area and found I hadn't cleared enough. The cage is half a metre longer than I thought, and that holly tree lying on it's side in the pic was in the ground and in the way. I had hoped to leave uprooting it for phase 2, when I clear and level for a new greenhouse. Never mind, it's out now.
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Post by FloBear on 11th October 2019, 8:00 pm

Gosh, that must have been a great deal of work, freebird. Good thing you checked the size of the fruit cage!
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Post by freebird on 14th October 2019, 3:50 pm

Just taken delivery of 14 reclaimed railway sleepers - now I can start the penultimate stage of preparing my fruit cage bed.
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Post by Ploshkin on 14th October 2019, 6:22 pm

Gosh, you're horsing on with it. I'm still looking at the weeds where my fruit cage is going.
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Post by Chilli-head on 14th October 2019, 8:02 pm

I spent a while looking at weeds at my lotty, and decided to leave them and see if the first frost kills some for me ...
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Post by freebird on 14th October 2019, 8:24 pm

It will be my first winter here, Ploshkin, and I've absolutely no idea what to expect. Desperate to get my fruit bushes (currently in pots) into the ground before winter, as I'm worried they could freeze in their pots. Hence the 'horsing on with it' - never heard that term before.
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Post by FloBear on 15th October 2019, 7:38 pm

Best of luck with that, freebird. It will be great to get your plants safely established before it gets too cold.
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Post by freebird on 15th October 2019, 10:34 pm

First railway sleeper went in today. The man and I couldn't carry it together, so it's meant a lot of ingenuity on his part to transport one sleeper from front of house to back, up a steepish slope and into position. What with the groundwork to prepare the trench, hitting rocks and tree roots, it's taken all day. No easy victory on this one, but at least having worked out how it can be done, it should go a bit quicker for the next ones.
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Post by freebird on 17th October 2019, 11:52 am

Progress!

My new garden. 20191011
My new garden. 20191012
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Post by FloBear on 17th October 2019, 10:05 pm

Seems you've been having some reasonable weather to get on with that, freebird.
What's the next stage?
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Post by freebird on 22nd October 2019, 4:08 pm

This, FloBear.

My new garden. 20191013

There are two fill in pieces to do, each side to make the back corners. But that doesn't stop me levelling the soil, which will be from the bottom of the back sleepers to the top edge of the front. The depth of the sleeper is almost exactly the correct height to counteract the slope.

And when I've done that, I'll be planting!
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Post by FloBear on 22nd October 2019, 4:14 pm

Gosh, that's a major bit of garden engineering. Well done you and Mr Bird!
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Post by Ploshkin on 22nd October 2019, 5:23 pm

You're putting me to shame! I've only really got to weed but the soil has been too wet. You seem to be making really good progress, I'm impressed and looking forward to seeing the next stage.
We would kill for rock here, we've got massive glacial (I think) boulders just below the surface but have to buy in stone when we need it.
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Post by freebird on 22nd October 2019, 10:49 pm

Unless you have pernicious perennial weeds that absolutely have to be dug out, I wouldn't bother. Cover the entire area with thick cardboard or newspaper and dump a load of compost or composted manure on top. The weeds won't grow through that and will die and rot down. Make planting holes where you need them.
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Post by freebird on 24th October 2019, 5:21 pm

It's finished! A day of sheer slog, to finish levelling the soil, get all the plants in, water and mulch. The weather was kind as it was supposed to rain from lunchtime. I had just put all the tools away and was taking one last weary look, and the kite flew over quite low and slow, looking for all the world as if examining my work. I have the kite's blessing - what more could I want?

So here it is. Pics aren't great as the long shadows messed up the lighting. Raspberries, 3 blueberries, a blackcurrant, 2 gooseberries, one red & one green. I have put the strawberry planters at the back as that is where the levelling took it down to the shale and there is almost no top soil. The cage will go up next year - it's not needed right now and it will give the soil a chance to settle.

My new garden. 20191015

My new garden. 20191014
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Post by Chilli-head on 24th October 2019, 8:48 pm

Looking good Freebird. Nice to see appropriate use of raised beds, built to last instead of the floppy bits of floorboard that serve little purpose. Combined with your no-dig, you should have a good solution to the shallow soil and shale.

Have you done any testing on your soil ? Acid, alkaline ? I guess your added mulch will make it more acid - blueberries would struggle in the pH I have here. Which ia a shame, as we are not good at watering pots.
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Post by freebird on 24th October 2019, 9:14 pm

The no-dig has hit a bit of a setback in that I don't know where my compost is to come from. I really don't have enough space to store uncomposted or semi-composted manure, and not found anywhere so far that can supply the sort of thing I had before at a reasonable price. I brought with me my 6 remaining sacks of mulch, and am using them sparingly by mulching only round the plants and not the whole bed.

I did test the soil and it's acid (which I already knew as the hydrangeas around here are blue). It's coming up at a ph of around 5.5 - that's not too bad and within the range that many plants will tolerate, and a lot of fruit actually prefers more acidic conditions. It's nice to be able to plant my blueberries in the ground now.

Before we came here, I had the blueberries in pots, so I dug a flat based pit about 60 - 70cm deep and lined it with an offcut of pond liner. The blueberry pots had a similar depth of stones at their base, so that the pit could be filled with water, or catch rainwater, and the pots, sitting in the pit, could be kept moist without drowning their roots. It worked fairly well, though on hot days the water would evaporate pretty quickly out the pit. I'm not good at watering pots either, but it helped.
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Post by Ploshkin on 24th October 2019, 9:31 pm

Gosh, you've worked really hard there Freebird but it's satisfying to do a job and see a result. I'm getting rid of some of my raised beds for my fruit cage. I had used 6"x2" boards and they are just starting to rot after 19 years so i think I've had good use out of them. I'm hoping to get my frame up but leave the netting until the spring.
What size is your cage?
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