Walled Garden Diaries: Getting Ready for the Season

It has been a relatively slow start to the year for the walled garden, hence why there was no update for February and I decided the include two months for the price of one in this post. The planning for the year ahead was completed in January and, bar keeping on top of weeds, it wasn’t until March that the sowing for the garden really started to gather pace.

The main bed ready for plants

The big step forward in the last few weeks is that the main growing bed was rotavated, mixing in all that quality mulch spread on the surface over winter and getting the ground ready for the season ahead.

That has meant that – drum roll please – the first plants have now gone into the ground. The broad beans that were sown back in January have been patiently waiting and finally got their wish to be planted out. Broad beans are always the first thing to be planted each year and the onions, which were also planted way back in the early weeks of the year, should not be too far behind.

Broad beans planted out

Another job that has been completed has been to mark out the new pathways that are going to be put across the main growing bed. Rather than one huge bed, measuring around 40m x 16m, it is being partitioned up for 2021. Each of the six sections that make up the large bed are being separated into two, with paths running through the centre and between each block. Essentially this turns what was one 6.6m x 16m section in the bed into two 2.3m x 16m beds in the same space. It is a trial for the year and we wait to see how it looks and how it works.

Unfortunately, at the time of writing the chickens are still indoors in the polytunnel due to the avian flu. Government guidelines means they can be allowed back out in April, so we can get the polytunnel back and get the ground prepared ready for the tomatoes, cucumbers and chillies to be planted into there. At least the chickens should have done a good job at fertilizing the soil and keeping on top of any weeds.

The seed sowing for the walled garden crops has been steadily increasing. The chillis, celeriac, dwarf french bean, peas and leeks have been sown, as well as our range of tomatoes. I picked a good selection of tomatoes for this year, a variety of colours and sizes were chosen, though I had to limit myself to four types due to space (I could have gone a lot more crazy if permitted – maybe next year). The varieties I opted are Pozzano, Yellow Submarine, Zuckertraube and Tigerella.

Tomato seedlings pricked out

As well as the veg, the first of the cut flowers have been sown. As well as four different varieties of sunflower (Goldy Double, Velvet Queen, Jerusalem Gold and Zoar), the likes of aster, cosmos, echinacea, rudbeckia and gypsophilia have had their first sowing. I am growing all of these cut flowers (bar the sunflowers) as transplants, with lots of the other flowers being direct sown once the ground has warmed up.

Coming up soon will be the potatoes being planted and also the first direct sown crops, including parsnips and beetroot, being sown. And it looks like we’ll be harvesting the first rhubarb of the season very soon, which is always something to look forward to.

As usual I will continue to provide regular updates on the goings-on in the walled garden on my Instagram.

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