Friday, June 6, 2014

Planting the kitchen garden

When I returned from London, the kitchen garden had been completely cleared of ivy and other invasive plants, although there were still wild geranium and rhubarb surviving on the outer edges.  I began to plan out the planting, but it is rather a puzzle - like trying to match up classes, classrooms and teachers in a complicated timetabling exercise.

Alistair placed some paving slabs to make paths, as one of the permaculture rules is to try not to walk on the earth you are planting.  He made a cross in the kitchen garden, thus dividing it into four unequal quarters, one of which has the laburnum tree in it, which I am treating as a pea.

An added problem is that permaculture lists tend to assume you will be starting from scratch and eradicating anything which doesn't either provide food, attract the right insects or provide fertilization.  They don't seem to realize that most people in England will have an existing garden and may feel sentimental about plants which aren't in the permaculture lists.  The garden had been opened up quite a bit by the loss of one trunk of the laburnum tree, but I didn't want to take down the other side unless it was absolutely necessary.

Different permaculture sites have different lists for companion or antagonistic plants, which doesn't help.  I had to do quite a lot of searching before I decided to divide up the kitchen garden and put leeks, carrots and lettuce in one quarter; marrow, corn, tomatoes and nasturtiums in a second quarter; lavender, rosemary, strawberries and spinach in the third quarter; and a spillover corn, tomatoes and carrots in the fourth.

I have pots with strawberry, lavender and spinach, closer to the house, hanging baskets with strawberries, a couple of large planters with herbs in, and a couple of redcurrant bushes I planted in the middle of the first quarter.

I've now removed the ivy from the walls, and made sure to dispose of the material in the green bin for proper recycling, rather than putting it in the compost bin - not a good idea with anything invasive the Royal Horticultural Society says.

The planting is not as sparse as it was in this picture - I've added more tomatoes, strawberries and corn, lettuce and beetroot to the planting shown here.  The weather has been rather bad since I planted - which has had the advantage that I have only had to water a couple of times.

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