Over the past few weeks, I’ve talked a lot about relinquishing the allotment, without mentioning the progress of the back garden veg plot that’s going to be taking its place.
The good news is that I’m getting there. There is no veg planted yet, but lots of fruit has gone in.
After clearing the area, the priority became making sure that I had a good supply of one my plot faves, strawberries. I planted a combination of allotment runners and whole plants down the side of the greenhouse, up to the shed.
Initially, I only put in a single line of strawberries plants (pictured), but I was worried that this wouldn’t be enough, so put a second row in. I’ve now got about 40 strawberry plants as a border alongside the path. All have taken well and the new shoots look green and healthy.
Gooseberries and Blackcurrants
Being the dormant season, now’s a good time to relocate fruit bushes. I moved two gooseberries (one dessert, one cooking) and two blackcurrants from the allotment before I passed it on, and plonked them into the space next to the greenhouse.
I’m now kind of wishing I’d stuck with my original plan and put my fruit bushes on the other side between the path and fence. I was initially worried about the shade, but the old redcurrant and loganberry bushes I whipped out from that bed had fruited, so the blackcurrant and gooseberries would probably have been okay.
Compost Bins and Greengage Trees
I’ve moved my compost bins from the ugly back corner bed to a spot on some concrete in front of the shed. Weighing up growing options the other day, it struck me that every piece of growing space available should be used, so I transferred the bins on to the hard stuff. Instead, I planted a greengage tree where compost bins were (pictured, with some rhubarb crowns).
I ordered a 1-year-old maiden, bare-root Cambridge Greengage on a St Julien A rootstock from Blackmoor Nursery, with a view to training the tree into a fan to cover the wall. The tree arrived well packed and looking in excellent nick. It cost me £22.50 delivered, which I reckon is excellent value for money.
According to my RHS fruit book, I now leave the tree until February, when I then cut back and begin the training…
Next to the greengage tree, I’ve planted half a dozen rhubarb crowns, which are a mixture of divisions from the allotment and my mate Ben’s whopping specimen (ahem). I made a hash of dividing, so was nervous about the roots established, but they seem to have taken just fine. Robust old things, rhubarb crowns.
To complete the fruity line-up, I moved late Autumn Bliss raspberry canes from the allotment and planted them on the inside edges of the greenhouse. I’ve never transplanted raspberry canes, and I’m not sure they’ll take but it will be interesting to find out. I kept as much soil around the roots as possible when I dug them up to give them a chance.
There’s some hard work remaining to dig the manure in, but that should be the end of the tough graft. I will have gone from overgrown, weed-infested beds, and scruffy lawn to neat and tidy veg patch (minus the veg, of course). With the slogging behind me, it should now be pottering, and the fun of drawing up plot plans for 2013.
P.S. If anyone’s interested in seeing some images of my progress, I’ve started a Patch from Scratch Flickr photoset which can be accessed by clicking here.