Notes From Our Garden

THE

POTAGER

GARDEN

Last year the bottom of our garden was a place to be avoided. It was a mildly terrifying wilderness thick with brambles. They would tower above me and tear at my clothes as I tried to find my way through to the compost bin.

Frome, Somerset

September 2020

Earlier this year we decided it was time to take action and claim back the space before the weeds had a chance to awaken and take hold. 

We rescued the few plants that were tangled amongst the weeds and then chopped everything else back. We dug up a total of ten gooseberry bushes, six blackcurrants and too many raspberries canes to count, moving them to our allotment. We spent days digging, breaking for cups of tea and then digging some more until the whole area was clear. Once the tangle of thorns had been tamed to a patch of bare earth the space felt safer, less prickly and a whole lot larger now the edges were visible. We found so much debris while digging; the remains of old structures, lumps of concrete, rotten wooden posts, lost plastic toys, three pairs of spectacles, old tea bags, wool and avocado skins that had never become the compost someone had hoped they would. We also discovered some hidden treasures; a beautiful stone wall that had been hidden below a blanket of thick Ivy, a collection of terracotta pots, a miniature oak tree that the little girl who used to live here must have lovingly potted up an acorn and then over time lost it’s location beneath the brambles. Our favourite find was a Victorian silver teaspoon, it’s intricate design tarnished by time but still beautiful.

With the ground levelled we sat back to contemplate our next move. It was early April lockdown was just becoming

a reality and there was a fair amount of uncertainty around whether we’d be able to easily get back and forth to our allotment. We had a lot of seedlings growing away in our greenhouse, so we decided to transform this new patch of earth into our very own potager garden filled with cut flowers, herbs and vegetables, an idea we’d loved ever since visiting the Potager Garden near Falmouth.

 

As it was tricky to get hold of any new supplies we made use of materials we’d found around the garden, the previous owners had left a lot of stuff behind. We used old planks of wood to lay out the paths and a pile of red bricks we’d unearthed while digging to create the centre of the new garden path. The space has been wonderfully productive, even without adding in any new compost to improve the soil. During lockdown it’s been really nice to have the veg growing so close to the kitchen, it’s meant we’ve leant a lot from closer observation and been able to pick fresh salads for our lunch. This is the first year we’ve successful grown carrots, aubergines and cucumbers. The fennel, sweet peas and sunflowers have brought so much wildlife into the garden. Whilst the broccoli, kale and courgettes have flourished. But there have been a few things that have missed the space of the allotment - our potatoes were planted a little too snuggly together, the tomatoes missed the warmth of the greenhouse at the allotment and the tipi for the beans had to be propped up as we hadn’t made it wide enough to support the weight of the full summer crop. We’ve recently filled the paths in with gravel to finish the paths but it’s still very much a work in progress.

 

"We had a lot of seedlings growing away in our greenhouse, so we decided to transform this new patch of earth into our very own potager garden filled with cut flowers, herbs and vegetables, an idea we’d loved ever since visiting the Potager Garden near Falmouth."

 

                                                                                          © 2020 Cedar Magazine

  • Instagram - Black Circle