Spring: Planting in the Field

We have spent most of the spring manuring and liming the field area after discovering that it had slipped back into the acidic pH range after the Wartime Garden. We have dug our socks off, literally, we have holes in the heels of most of our socks and learning to darn last year has really helped. We also made the decision to get rid of the paths in the area we now refer to as the field. This comprises of over a third of the garden, handed over to crops. Getting rid of the paths means we can rotate easier but more importantly respond to the season by growing less in a bigger area. This may sound like madness but stick with us.

You don't need masses of space to grow.

The Wartime Garden didn't afford us such things as courgettes, pumpkins or sweetcorn. All these types of plants take over a relatively big space but the yields are higher on good years. We saw this with our growing of the marrow, Table Dainty. This grew in a compost heap and was a massive success for us for other three years - though due to fluctuating temperatures and old seed, our table won't see marrows this year. The Wartime Garden didn't really afford us flowers either, not if we were to get in all the varieties and follow their crop plan. So, this year we went with a more flexible crop plan. This allows us to grow in three feet wide beds and have them up to a length of twenty feet or more importantly allow us to merge beds for brassicas and spring greens later in the season. It also means we can create a tapestry of flowers and vegetables, mutually benefiting each other and the soil.

Why flowers are important to vegetables.

The flowers bring in pollinators and therefore raise yields in our vegetables. We are even considering the introduction of a bee hive in the orchard but we have to consider this carefully due to the exposed nature of the garden. Therefore, before we make that step we want to consider how the upper garden bleeds into the orchard. We are looking to recreate the upper garden into a paradise garden, behind hedges, that both give seclusion and warmth but more importantly will buffer the wind in the orchard. The orchard has suffered from both the stripping effects of wind and the drying effects of wind, and no mulch has saved them from that. 

Grow high yields in small spaces by choosing the right crops.

We have turned our backs on growing potatoes in open ground and have instead embraced growing in tyres. There have been several reasons for this but the main one has been the difference between yields in open ground vs containersThere is a deep satisfaction in knowing if a crop fails to germinate in the glasshouse - and that has been a problem this year - that we can expand the neighbouring bed. So, our sweetcorn failed and we expanded our lettuce and courgette bed. The field is growing and means we can grow too.


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