Raised Beds

Welcome to our first guest post written especially for Fennel and Fern. I thought I would tell how we have got on with our raised vegetable beds so far this year.

After dabbling with a bit of vegetable growing in various corners of the garden, we had decided to take it up a notch.

We took the plunge and last Autumn Ed built some raised beds and a deck so that we could add some structure to the proceedings.

This was the layout plan for this 2010. There were a few changes. The french beans didn’t germinate and I hadn’t realised that the purple sprouting broccoli wouldn’t be ready to plant out for this year. Doh!

We didn’t lose too many seedlings to mice this Spring. I’d learned my lesson that our shed is mouse city and that if I wanted anything to survive I would have to start seeds off inside.

So from profiterole containers to the dining table, from Ed’s workshop window to pasta jars, everywhere was packed with baby plants.

Being able to plant seedlings out in neat rows was a real pleasure and somehow seems much easier when you have a contained area to work in. The soil gets less compacted and it’s easier to spot weeds.

Our most successful crops have been the lettuces, peas and broad beans as always, but there have been some new contenders too.

Beetroot has been an unexpected hit. We grew Boltardy beetroots this year for the first time. They have done fabulously well and we have mainly used them grated raw, with a little dressing to make tasty, crunchy salads, or roasted in the oven.

There are some things that I grow more for my amusement than anything else and little globe carrots, mixed radish and multicoloured chard fall into this category.

You pick ’em…then no one eats ’em!

The first borlotti beans are now appearing and we are working our way through the runner beans, new potatoes and endless yellow courgettes.

I’ve have just planted some more pak choi and oriental salad leaves plus pumpkin, squash and aubergine for the later months.

Oh and I put in some more red, curly and black kale because I love it so.

All in all it’s already been a busy, if scarily short Summer of vegetables and I couldn’t be more pleased with the raised bed set up.

But my final epiphany to share with you is riddling…

This week I borrowed a neighbours ‘riddler’ or soil sieve made from an old drawer and in half an hour had taken one of our beds to a dimension I had only read of in gardening books. The mythical “fine tilth”. It’s a revelation!

The task this Weekend is to go and buy some mesh so Ed can make me a riddle of my very own.

I have simple needs.

Check out our blog later this week for a post on our home made riddler and for recipes including what we do with our Summer harvest at thingswemake.co.uk.

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4 Responses

  1. Julie

    Fab post Claire. Glad I’m not the only one who grows pretty things that no one ends up eating.

  2. hillwards

    We’re growing chard for the first time this year, and it tastes amazing in stir fries, like spinach but even better! And looks beautiful in the veg plot too, of course.


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