Planning seems to be paying off

I’ll probably change my mind when summer gets here but at the moment this is definitely my favourite time of year. The first swallow arrived yesterday – only 5 days later than last year – which I’m definitely taking as a good sign even though it was only one bird so far.

There is so much happening right now with the seeds starting to put on some impressive growth and the effort put in through the winter with the planting plans starting to pay off.

I’ve even managed to resist the urge to plant too much too soon this year which is a first for me. Having said that I think I might still have planted a little too much but at least it wasn’t too soon!

Original raised bed plan
Original raised bed plan

The only minor change to the original plans I’d made during the winter was to also plant a selection of flower seeds as well as vegetable and herb seeds. I suspect that this helped to ease my excessive planting urge because I could plant other seeds instead.

Actually, I now remember that there was another “minor” change when I added the new 20ft long raised bed a few weeks ago. However in my mind that doesn’t really count as breaking the plans because I’m simply adding more growing space for the courgettes which went so well last year.

Next year will certainly be a little different though as there are grand plans in my head for a polytunnel (maybe 10ft x 20ft) and even a greenhouse but I may need to seek approval from my better half before going ahead with all of that!

Raised bed progress

Despite having started constructing the raised veg beds back in October, further progress has been a little slow due to the high number of distractions in the intervening months. One thing is becoming very clear since we moved here, it’s all too easy to find yourself with many projects started but none fully completed!

With these new raised veg beds, the intention was always to come up with some covers to help extend the growing season but initially I had no particular approach in mind. Finally the delays got to me so I ordered some supplies from Premier Polytunnels  including a decent length of polythene to use as a cover.

At the same time, I took the opportunity to order a decent length of ground cover fabric to go in between the raised beds. It seems wise to get that in place sooner rather than later!

In an earlier post I showed the first stages of adding the water pipe hoops on one of the raised beds but with an hour or two to spare last weekend I finally completed the work on two of the four raised beds. This new area alone is more growing space than I had in the last house never mind the original vegetable bed here which is also expected to be fully utilised this year.

Polythene covers in place
Polythene covers in place

At least I can relax now if the chickens decide to invade the garden because the onions and garlic (on the left) and soft fruit bushes (at the back) are suitably protected. The onions in the nearest bed will just have to take their chances for the moment with a low fence around them – it seems that the chickens can’t be bothered to flap over that.

There is still some final work needed to properly tighten up the covers so that they can survive any bad weather but I’m still contemplating the best way of attaching the polythene to the raised veg beds. I’d like to make it completely removable if possible but perhaps it’s better to just attach it on one side so that it can be rolled back if needed.

Further ideas

There was always plans for another raised bed in this area but I’m inclined to hold back on that in case I take on more than can be properly managed in the coming year. Having said that, I usually buy far too many seeds each spring so I may hurriedly build something once I’ve filled up all other available space.

It will probably be best to completely fence off this new growing area – to prevent damage as a result of football in the garden, to stop any destruction by the chickens (and rabbits) and also from sheep being brought through to the fields at the back as well. That’s not a combination of problems I’ve had to consider in the past but I’m not complaining…