HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas. I can’t quite believe how quickly 2015 passed by!
The tree and decorations have been put away and I removed the bows and cones from my Christmas wreath and I have put it outside to decorate my table whist it is still alive.
Mr Thrift is back at work and my daughters are at school again preparing for their A levels and GCSE’s in the coming few months, so the house is quiet again.
Unfortunately this week Judy has been very poorly with some kind of bug that she picked up. The vet told me that quite a few dogs in our local area have had it over the last week.
I spent most of the early hours of Tuesday morning sitting with her, as she kept being sick. Then during the day I kept getting her to lick a bit of water off my hand to stop her becoming dehydrated. However, she is now recovering well.
Today as it’s my first blog post of the year, I thought it would be fun to look back at my new kitchen garden which is now twelve months old.
For those that are new to my blog….unfortunately due to family problems and our very reactive rescue dog (who is a lot better now through training) I had to give up my beautiful four allotments last January. I decided to embrace the situation and turn my garden at home into a ‘kitchen’ garden.
Below are the before and after photos:
Unfortunately along the way there were many large roots that I had to remove….
…and I found an awful lot of rocks which I laid around the edge of the garden to give beneficial insects places to hide:
Unfortunately we also found that the fence behind all the shrubs, was rotten and we had to replace it (which was an expense we hadn’t expected):
I brought a few things back from my allotment to plant (before I gave the keys back) i.e a gooseberry bush, three currant bushes, rhubarb, autumn raspberries, strawberries, a bit of comfrey, my blueberries and some jeruselm artichokes. However I needed to buy some dwarf apple and pear trees which you can see in the photo above that I planted along the new fence as cordons.
I planted my strawberries next to my greenhouse in the one raised bed I brought back from my allotment, but this was the one area that wasn’t successful over the year and I only harvested a handful of berries. I can only think the bushes behind it were taking the water from the ground and it was just too dry, even though I was watering regularly:
The new kitchen garden filled up very quickly and so I started to plant in whatever space I could find around the rest of the garden:
I quickly realised that I needed more space, so I brought the wire fence forward and used a bit of our lawn to grow sweetcorn and few a tomatoes in:
I planted the sweetcorn and tomatoes through weed suppressant so the grass underneath would die back over the summer and this worked well.
The garden produced an amazing amount over its first year and the photos below show just some of my harvest:
I also managed to grow flowers here and there to attract beneficial insects to it:
So I was very pleased overall and I know when my fruit trees, bushes and rhubarb are properly established I will have more fruit, but I wanted to find a way to grow even more fruit and vegetables in 2016:
In September I decided to bring forward my lawn area so I could have more growing space, but still have a grassed area for our dog. I acheived this by lifting the slabs where we had a second table and chairs which was where the previous owner used to have their rotary washing line……
…..however I didn’t expect their washing line post to be cemented into two feet of concrete which I found impossible to remove!….I sat for hours chipping the top four inches of concrete off so I could turf over it – I’m praying that this area will not dry out too much in the summer due to the remaining concrete under the top soil that I used to cover it:
So after digging in lots of compost, I prepared the area and laid some turf:
I had to leave this area protected from our dog for a few weeks while the grass rooted.
So in November I started the middle area of the kitchen garden:
I used the old slabs I removed earlier to make a path around the greenhouse and along the boundary for my mini greenhouses (in the area which was really dry because of the bushes). I also set up my waterbutt to collect the water from my greenhouse:
I bought some wood and made five new fixed beds and bought in some woodchip to make the paths:
Now Christmas is over my garden needs a good tidy and the lawn doesn’t look quite as neat after a couple of months of our dog running around on it (especially after all the rain we have had). I also still need to work on the area next to the lawn too, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.
My garden looks remarkably different compared to this time last year and I am now looking forward to a new year of growing my own fruit and vegetables.
Thank you for reading my blog today. I will be back next Friday as usual.
I hope you have a good week!