Back in June, I updated on progress to clear and grow on me and mum’s new allotment plot. At the time, I meant to follow up with a post about how my kitchen garden was shaping up now I’ve gone to raised beds, but I got distracted by a blueberry and lemon curd cake.
(Which I suppose is a fair thing to be distracted by…)
Anyway, I figure now is a good time to talk about the kitchen garden, and how it has developed from The Patch from Scratch.
Neat and Tidy
My favourite thing about the three raised beds at the end of my garden is the neatness (I know the photos don’t really do things justice, so you’ll just have to trust me!). Never before have I had a tidy growing space.
The raised beds help, as does the weed suppressant layer and woodchip that surrounds them, but having the patch at the end of the garden is a major bonus too.
Even 10 minutes of pottering is worth the effort, especially this time of year when there are always weeds to pull up.
Harvest wise, things have been steady. So far, I’ve tucked into radishes, peas (been and gone, and replaced by leeks, beets, and French beans), carrots, lettuce, beetroot, French beans, courgettes, strawberries, gooseberries, rhubarb, and a few early raspberries.
Runner Beans – Attractive and Productive
I’m on the cusp of runners too, which are shaping up to be a bumper crop. This might be because they’re growing in the bed that I dug my homemade compost into, as runners love rich soil and things don’t come much richer than the kitchen black gold.
As usual, I’m growing my runners up a wigwam, next to the courgette plants. I love this combo on an allotment plot or veg patch. They just go so well together, adding real aesthetic interest.
Courgettes and Cues
The courgettes are humungous. I only planted two out, thinking that would be more than enough and I was right. I’m in a glut situation already!
Being in the garden and within sight has made attractiveness a key element of the kitchen garden. Knowing that people who visit can see the patch has certainly upped the ‘plotproud’ factor!
Outdoor cues fit into the attractive category, and I’ve planted out three of these. I love the way they’re trailing out of the bed and onto the chipping.
Extra Greenhouse Space
My greenhouse is essentially my fourth bed after I had a hallelujah moment and realised that I normally leave it empty once I’ve planted out my seedlings. I’ve put most of my tomato plants in here to free up space in the main beds and this is doing me proud, particularly after I realised I could remove sections of my bench and let the toms grow up through the gap. Even more room!
Slugs haven’t been as much of a problem as I feared. Using raised beds and growing close, I did wonder whether I was creating a haven for them, but I’ve only lost some cavolo nero and a few cabbage seedlings so far.
Follow On Crops
The biggest challenge has been learning to have seedlings ready to follow on straight from a finished crop. I’m trying to have something in the soil all of the time, to utilise the space I have as much as I can.
Where the peas came out, I put French beans straight in behind them and followed my mangetout with leeks and kale.
How Much Money am I Saving?
With plenty coming off the plot, and gradually getting the hang of always having plants ready to replace others, I’ve become very interested in the cash and harvest volume side of things again.
Just how much could I save in three smallish back garden veg beds, as opposed to what I saved from a full-size allotment plot?
I feel a spreadsheet coming on…