Part three of the Tour of the Plot is the Veggie Patch.
Situated above the Poly and Net tunnels it is a sloping area of raised beds and woodchip paths. We took the decision to grow in raised beds as I have found this the best way to grow vegetables. You can feed or water specific beds without waste, dig up a bed of potatoes without disturbing another crop and I like the way it centres my mind on a small area. I find can give each bed more care and attention than if I was faced with a large flat space.
We have four long beds each divided into smaller sections and one special bed. Three going up the hill and one at the top going horizontal. The special bed is Dad's Memorial Bed and is a wildlife haven, with flowers and a birdbath for all the little pollinating visitors and our feathered friends.
The woodchip paths between the beds was all given to us free of charge by our local friendly tree surgeons who have mandatory tree trimming to do each year for the local electricity companies (so the trees are not threatening all the overhead power lines). They leave the owner of the land they are working on the chopped lengths of wood for their fires and log burners and have to come away with the chippings off all the small branches (if the person doesn't want them). We were happy to offer to be a dropping off point for the whole of last year ... so we are making good use of the chippings.
The centre part of bed one has my new netted tents, bought in the Wyevale sale last year after a lunch with Mum, and up to now working brilliantly to protect my new Cabbage plants from all the Cabbage White butterflies that are in the area.
The first bed ... three Cabbages and a French Marigold, then a tyre with Peas growing up a support, behind them are half a dozen Tomato plants.
Under the net tents are 20 Cabbages.
The top section of this bed has the Runner Beans growing up the fixed wire mesh and two Courgette plants on this side.
Yes, the lower part of the Runner Beans have had ALL the leaves eaten by rabbits or squirrels, but somehow the top parts are still surviving. This happened last year and I left the roots of each plant in the soil, luckily they regrew and we ended up with a bumper crop off just two plants.
The horizontal bed at the top of the patch has an empty bed nearest to us, the mini compost bin in the centre one ...
... a fantastic crop of Cob Nuts on the overhanging trees ...
... and a good crop of 'Estima' Potatoes in the far bed.
We have decided to use these top beds as two new Rhubarb beds and two new Asparagus beds from Autumn of this year when we will transplant the Rhubarb from the current Rhubarb patch and plant the Asparagus seedlings that I am currently growing from seed.
Going back down the hill and looking at the centre bed we have a couple more Potato plants and another tyre of Peas.
Then we have one empty bed (soon to have the Turnip seedlings) and then even more potatoes and a tyre planted with French Marigolds.
And then there is Dad's Bed ...
... a little wildlife oasis in the midst of all the vegetables.
Lots of plants around a bird bath and a small tree. Salix 'Caprea Pendula' which is a half standard and this year is so lush it appears to be a big green pom pom.
Back to the bottom of the hill and we are at the last of the long beds. The first section has six Butternut Squash plants.
The next section was to have been our Asparagus bed, but the escapee chickens last year killed all but two of the Asparagus plants, so now it has just been planted with this years Leek crop. Which I carefully did around the ferns of the remaining two Asparagus.
Yes, teeny tiny Leeks.
The final section, has a couple of Runner Beans growing up the mesh (the rabbits ate the rest), and at either side of the wire there are some Marrow plants.
Meandering across the back of the plot to go back to the house we have a Hop plant at the top of the fence. Hopefully one year there will be enough hops for Alan to use in his beer brewing, or at least to add flavour to his beer.
Continuing down the fence line there are the Blackcurrants ....
.... then after the compost bins the Raspberries.
All this leads us back down to the Belfast sink and round to the gateway that takes us back to the house.
The last part of this little tour will be in the next post.