Playing at Gardening Again – We’re Planning Raised Beds!
My Garden – It Rarely Goes Smoothly.
My deck (yes, we decided on a deck rather than a patio) that was supposed to be re-built this summer is a non-event and it is now autumn. Our builder has ‘disappeared’ – at least from our view and the latest up-date was that his ladders have been stolen. I do feel sorry for him for that, but perhaps if he had been building for us when the raid occurred…. Maybe there is something to be said for DIY – at least if you are young.
I am now considering placing raised beds on the cobbled area at the bottom of the yard, opposite the shed. This area was originally intended as a double car-park, but our predecessors added a largish shed on one side and I am certainly not going to use any of our remaining space to accommodate a piece of idle machinery. I was doubtful about putting raised beds on cobbles, but I have been assured that it is quite OK as long as they are set up correctly and indeed, it does seem a sensible solution. The area is bathed in sun for most of the day (there is shade all down the other side which is already planted in shrubs) and the gates open outward which means that I can use every inch of available space.
Planning your garden at this stage is all-important, I know. I am going to have to be more careful about the whole planting schedule as winters here are so much colder than at home. Because of the often fiercely dry and hot summers, at least in the North, autumn in NZ is a primary planting season for many plants. Gentle autumn gives them time to become established before a relatively mild winter. Here in the UK, autumn (fall) seems mainly a harbinger of death and dormancy. I am going to have to adjust to these differences and be patient as we are now well on the way to September and cooler temperatures.
Guess anything I plan at this stage, will be a Spring 2014 under-taking so as I am relatively new to growing conditions here in England, I am going to use an on-line planning programme by a company called GrowVeg.com which I came across on one of the gardening blogs that I follow. I will let you know how it goes and how helpful it is, but so far it looks excellent and actually makes planning your plot a lot of fun. We can argue about which vegetables we intend to plant.
So, once I have measured my spaces, and decided on sizes, the decision will be whether to buy my raised beds or to indulge in a little DIY. I just sometimes feel that I am past the DIY thing, but I know that pre-made planters can be expensive. Often they do not meet the measurement requirements, either. (Please come back, Mr Builder!) Of course, there are several different types of raised beds. Wooden ones would be a challenging DIY project for me, but there are also breeze-blocks, which I am sure I could handle and I have seen pictures of plastic ones which may be an option. (or not)
Trips to the local plant nurseries are called for and a few on-line searches will need to be made. Planning your garden is all quite exciting and rather daunting at the same time.
Probably the best way forward will be to get the raised beds built, ready for planting-up in the spring. Fill, topsoil and compost can be added then, along with a heap of cured horse manure. Hopefully, my own endeavours will provide all the compost that I need, but I will have to purchase fill and topsoil. (no road-side signs here advertising ‘free fill’.) My garden bin, my worm castings and my Bokashi will finally come into their own. What plants to choose? At this time, seriously, who knows? I will certainly want a great selection of herbs but they will be planted in large pots and kept on the elusive new deck for easy access from the kitchen!
Oh – by the way – the worms are doing just fine.