Real Men Sow

The Patch from Scratch, Phase 2: A Kitchen Garden Update


We’re ready to go (and sow) in my garden raised beds!

This afternoon I spread bark chippings in between the three beds to finish off my paths. The photo above is taken from one of my plum trees. You’re never too old to climb a tree, after all!

I’m quite proud at what I’ve achieved down the end of the garden, especially when I consider what it looked like when we moved in two years ago.


In my first year, I cleared the whole space and christened it my ‘Patch from Scratch’. I dug the area over, and set about growing. Trouble was, whilst the seedlings were small, everything looked lovely and ordered, but as they plants grew bigger, it was clear that I’d run out of space.

Getting around to weed, water and harvest was rather like a yoga session, and gradually everything became very unruly.


Boutique Alloment’
Around this time, I’d also become inspired by garden designer Liz Ackerley’s boutique allotment concept: growing spaces where style was as important, as well as harvest. This also aligned with my appreciation that this was a kitchen garden, and therefore needed to be neat, tidy and attractive.

The allotment could afford to get scruffy, I don’t have to look at it every day over breakfast. The kitchen garden was different, and I was starting to want a pleasing on the eye space, as well as a functional one.

I also wanted to try raised beds for the first time – not only because I was keen to experiment with No Dig techniques, but because they look smart too, so I made installing some my winter project.

Keeping the Budget Down
However, I didn’t want to spend much money. I’m all for thrift – for me, resourcefulness is part of the allotment and veg growing soul, and I’m chuffed to say that the only elements that cost me money were the bark chipping and the weed suppressant membrane: a princely sum of £40.

The beds are made from old sleepers I nabbed from my mum’s garden when she moved, and scaffold boards that I begged off builder friends. I barrowed the topsoil from a house down the road that was having a drive laid, and topped it up with gathered seaweed, a friend’s leaf mould and my own kitchen compost.

I’ve also edged the path with old bricks collected from various sources over the last few months. I love old bricks; you can never have enough hanging around your garden.

Patch From Scratch, Phase 2
I suppose this is Patch from Scratch, Phase 2. I think us veg growers are forever fine tuning, whether its seed varieties, soil improving or concentrating on the aesthetics of a plot as well as the productivity.

And that’s the beauty of our hobby. There is always something new to try.

I can’t wait to get growing.

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One Comment

  1. Alan @ It's Not Work, It's Gardening!March 28, 2014 at 10:32 pmReply

    Looking great Jono! Can’t wait to see how things progress!

    Now post the photo of you up in the tree! :)

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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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