I’m back after a Beltane Fire Festival related break. It went very well – nobody got disembowelled by our giant bird puppet, and nobody’s costume fell off before it was supposed to. If you went, I hope you had a fantastic time!
Oh, and my partner and I were handfasted. This is not really the place I’ve designated for squeaking delightedly about that, but there was honey, there was jumping over some withies like a couple of Crufts competitors, there were many loved ones, and there were some extremely cheesy but sincere whispered vows.
I’m subsequently moving to his, which means I suddenly have access to a whole load of lovely garden space! No more sad windowsill lavender! Now there will be sad patio lavender!
Because we’re not moving to a new place, I am suddenly no longer quite as skint as usual, and can afford to actually set this garden up properly. I had about 2m² of an allotment a few years ago – I half-arsed it, and ended up with about two pods of broad beans and four maggot-ridden turnips. No half-measures this time, and I’m only growing crops that cost a lot to buy in the shop – so things like blueberries and tomatoes, rather than potatoes and onions. It’s a bit late in the season to start most of my spring seeds, so I’m going to spend this year focusing on preparing the ground for Autumn.
- Build one 2 x 2 x 0.25m raised bed where there’s plenty sunshine, for sun-hungry crops like tomatoes.
- Build a collapsible polytunnel that fits the raised bed, in case it’s too cold a summer for my tomatoes.
- Stick some perennial herbs in some large pots.
- Get a couple of long troughs: one for garlic, one for blueberries, that run alongside the raised bed.
- Build a compost heap behind the shed where I can’t see it.
- Build a designated Wild Corner that Shall Not Be Encroached Upon. This will include a small wildlife pond, a dead wood pile, and native plants that flower at different times of the year to provide a relatively constant nectar source. There’s already a large rowan tree and a holly tree near the proposed corner, which is why I’m not planning to add an extra berry source, since it’ll be enough of a job keeping the rowan leaves off the pond.
- Gut the shed. Well, get my partner to gut the shed, for the shed is dark and full of
terrorsspiders. I want to use the shed as a studio/workshop, but I’ll set up a little potting station for raising seedlings in.
- Construct some fence trellises and troughs on both east and west garden borders. These’ll be beans one year out of every two. Not sure what to grow the second year of every two – I was thinking leafy greens, but I rarely actually eat those. Maybe sweetcorn, but I doubt there’s enough sun on those walls.
- See if I can attach hanging baskets to the wall by the kitchen door at about chest height, and designate those for growing tumbling tomatoes and nasturtiums
- Add a couple of window boxes for low or creeping herbs/edible flowers by the kitchen window, and something pretty by the bedroom window. (Maybe mini conifers and some ivy.)
- Accumulate enough gravel/stones/broken terracotta to provide drainage in the bottom of every container.
- Then, and only then, do I order a 1000 litre bag of compost and fill the containers. Not before. I want to buy it now. Will try to hold off until Autumn when I’m ready to plant my first crop.
- Pot up a dwarf-rootstock apple tree for that sunny spot by the kitchen door. (I really want Golden Delicious but might have to settle for a more self-fertile one since I don’t think there’s room for a companion pollinator.)
- Find a way to make use of that corner of the patio that’s too dark for anything to grow in. I’d say it’d be perfect for a little log brazier, but it’s probably too close to the wooden fence, and the toddler in the flat upstairs has a habit of dropping toys out of the window into that spot. Ooh, maybe I will try cultivating some chestnut mushrooms there instead. (I know nothing about mushroom cultivation.)
- Lugged 60 litres of multipurpose compost home. I then mixed it in 1.5:1:1 proportions with vermiculite (which is non-renewable but I couldn’t find an alternative resource in the garden centre and I didn’t want to balls-up my first crop. Next time.) and coconut coir.
- I then stuck this mix into assorted pots of the appropriate sizes, and potted up some lavender, sage, and rosemary, as well as three chilli seedlings (Cheyenne, which was more suited to patio growing than Cayenne or Scotch Bonnet or any of the varieties I was really hoping to grow), and three tomato seedlings (Ailsa Craig, which I know is meant to behave much better in Scotland than most other varieties). And I found a pumpkin seedling (Jack O’Lantern), so I bought that on a whim too, as pumpkins are the most glorious looking vegetables but I have never, ever been able to get one to germinate.
- There’s a cat next door, so I took some clippings from our holly bush and distributed them round my precious baby pumpkin so that the cat decides not to wazz on it. That pumpkin is basically doomed to die; I can tell because I’m already emotionally invested in its well-being. Place your bets on how it’ll leave this mortal coil now.
Forgot to slug-proof my pots, though, so I then ordered 4m of copper slug tape and I’ll ring each of my pots with it when it arrives. And, in the meantime, stare at my pots in grim expectation, ready to repel any invaders. But: