Walled Garden Diaries: Shape of Things to Come

The walled garden has really taken shape, with the attention on getting beds prepped and seeds sown ready for the 2022 season.

The key job undertaken has been to prepare the beds in the walled garden for the coming season. It has been a long time coming and one that has really refreshed the garden as a whole, if I do say so myself.

There are seven main large beds dedicated to growing fruit and vegetables. Each measures around 19 metres wide and 15 metres deep – that means a lot of space for growing.

My plan sees five of these beds turned into blocks of 30 smaller beds. The other two beds remaining are mainly for fruit, full of perennials like strawberries, raspberries, and soft fruit bushes.

The new smaller beds are 75 cm wide and 6 metres long. It means they will be a good width to be able to straddle when harvesting or weeding. And the smaller nature of the beds makes it better for successional sowings and harvests.

This month the beds were rotavated (maybe next year we go no-dig) and then raked into the new set-up. It was a case of getting out the tape measure and lines before raking soil off the new paths to mound the beds.

It has been a big change to the garden, but just seeing the new planting blocks taking shape makes it all look smarter and more organised. I just can’t wait for all those beds to quickly fill up with veg plants.

Elsewhere, Jerusalem artichokes and asparagus were planted in the outer walled garden. The back area consists of raised beds, containing mainly perennials.

Two beds have been given to Jerusalem Artichokes (which are taken by the chefs throughout winter) and one to asparagus, which takes it to four in total for asparagus. All of the asparagus beds are relatively new, so it’ll take a few years until they are cropped for the kitchen.

Seed sowing continues on at pace, with weekly sowings mounting up and the glasshouse filling up. It’s always an exciting time seeing all those seedlings coming through. And there are lots of plants already waiting to go out, I’m playing that annual cat-and-mouse game with the weather to predict the best time to get the crops out in the ground.

We are hitting that hungry gap period between winter crops ending and the first of the new crops ready. However, the walled garden is still producing harvests for the kitchens, in particular it is rhubarb that has now come to the fore. The forced rhubarb produced well and there are lots of delicious stems, while the other plants are almost ready to crop too.

Finally, I had the chance to see the production garden at RHS Harlow Carr in Harrogate. It was great to see a different style of productive garden – everything was so neat and organised – and check how others are growing their fruit and veg.

RHS Harlow Carr Production Garden

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