One thing I miss from my GYO money-saving experiment is the monthly updates. Not only did they log how much cash I was saving, but they were also useful reminders of progress through the year.
Lots of other bloggers do end of month updates, and as I’m just starting out on my Patch From Scratch adventure, I’ve decided to resurrect mine. There won’t be any money-saving results, but hopefully, a nice picture of my patch progress will build over the coming months.
A Digging-Filled August
During August I have mainly been digging and pulling weeds out as I go. The good news is that I’ve now got the majority of the patch dug over and covered in carpet and tarpaulin until I manure in October-ish. I got off to a decent start, clearing a large area over a weekend, and since then I’ve almost finished the section alongside the greenhouse.
All that stands in my way is this rather rampant Bear’s Breeches.
The flowers are dying off now, but according to the BBC’s plant finder, the best time to divide the plants from April to February. I’m not sure I can wait that long so I might have to risk rehoming it and hoping for the best.
The Beeb also recommends that ‘Once established it is virtually impossible to move plants so correct positioning is vital’. Fingers crossed for this handsome plant, but as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall said in the first episode of Escape to River Cottage, ‘I like flowers as much as the next man, but there’s no room for passengers in this garden’. Well, the veg bit, anyway.
Progress at the Back of the Garden
I’ve also cleared out the unsightly spot at the back of the garden and transferred one of my compost bins from the plot. This was a very satisfying job as it turned out; I couldn’t believe the difference in the space when I stood back to admire my graft.
Extra Growing Space
Equally satisfying was finding extra growing space in amongst the weed I’d pulled up. Underneath I expected concrete or broken paving but I got soil along with the back and side fencing instead. Creating extra growing space, however small, is very exciting – especially when you start thinking about how to utilise it.
The space against the side fence gets its fair share of shade, so I’m going to put a few rhubarb crowns in there. As for the space against the ugly back wall, I’m not sure. Currently weighing up another compost bin, potatoes grown in car tyres, my ladder allotment, water butt or simply using the patch to grow something. A final option is to try and train a fruit up the wall, such as a blackberry or loganberry.
At the other end of the garden, I’ve been working to create a herb garden by my patio. I remember reading a great piece of gardening advice from Alys Fowler, which went something along the lines of starting from your back door and work out. I found a load of nice limestone kicking about in the flower beds, so have cleared out the beds that edge on to the patio and planted perennial herbs in and around the limestones.
There’s a motley crew of herbs in there now: a few bought from the farmers market and nursery, as well as some thyme and chives I’ve grown from seed, rosemary from a cutting, tarragon sent to me by the gentleman that is Carl Legge and lemon balm I dug up from a friend. I’m a little concerned that I should have planted the spearmint and the dead happy sage against the fence as they’re dominating the little thyme and marjoram, but then I guess I can always dig up and divide if necessary.
Happiness is a Garden Waste Wheelie Bin
On a final note, I got myself a green waste wheelie bin from the local Council. £34 a year for a weekly collection and I’m chuffed. It’s revolutionary! No more trips to the dump for my poor old car, stuffed full of wet, muddy weeds. I fill the bin up every weekend, wheel it out to the front of the house Wednesday morning, and hey presto, by the time I get home from work the garden waste fairies (aka the binmen) have emptied it for me. And all for 65p a week. Now that’s what I call a bargain.