16.7.10

Backyard allotment


Back in January, our backyard was not fit to be seen. It looked like this. Then Andy put the polytunnel up and had a good tidy. We planted potatoes very early in March, all down the right hand side. It looked rather bare.
Later that month, he built a raised bed inside and made it all nice -
By April the main beds were being dug over -

Now, three months on, it all looks like this - click on for a larger look.

The small bed in front of the polytunnel holds broad beans on the left, peas in the middle, salad on the right and two lots of French beans just behind. We can barely get in the tunnel itself for the towering tomato plants and sprawling courgettes (that's zucchini to my US friends). On the left of the garden grow four types of potato, all the way up to the compost bin. And strawberries run riot, growing wherever we let them. We are not big believers in rigid lines.

Sow it close, pack it in, feed it well, water often. Stake when necessary.


Courgettes in pots -
- and courgettes in the raised bed under the tomatoes. They are attempting to escape the tunnel and have to be carefully stuffed back when we zip them in for the night.
Four types of tomatoes, in tubs and the raised bed jostle for space. I think we may have planted too many. We have big beefsteak Brandywine (courtesy of Janet), bog standard cherries, German Strawberry and Principe Borghese plum tomatoes for sauces.

A little army of frogs and toads police the slugs and snails; they love the polytunnel, safe from cats and moistly warm.
Dwarf beans in a tub -

- and at the back, more climbing beans, roses and a couple of types of squash - butternut and a heritage American type called 'Boston Marrow' given to me by a certain LB - if she is by any chance reading this, thank you! They are turning into triffids.
Last night after work I taught Andy how to pollinate the female squash flowers.
He has even looked after my precious herb and flower pots which annoy him so much when he trips over them.
In fact, I have been so swamped with work this year that it is safe to say there would not be a garden if it were not for Andy's diligent and careful tending. Without his constant husbandry, our little back yard would be an untidy weedpatch. So I am awarding him this medal. You've earned your stripes, garden soldier.

41 comments:

GretchenJoanna said...

Your garden is glorious and inspiring, and full of a lot of good eating. Way to go!

Jessie said...

A well deserved medal! All I can say is 'WOW!' Really well done! I love your army of slug deterrents!x

rachel said...

So encouraging to see such progress. But you are weeks further on than me!

Karen said...

It all looks wonderfully healthy. Your garden actually looks bigger with the polytunnel than it did back in the January photo without it. Some lovely meals to come by the looks. Well done garden soldier! :)

janet said...

Thrilled beyond words at your lush, productive and oh so beautiful garden. I can almost taste all the wonderful meals you will enjoying right into the winter months. S happy the Brandywine plants are doing well. Andy deserves much praise indeed...well done Andy!!!
I love that you are blogging more often as I always look forward to visiting your little corner of the globe.
Have a great weekend!

Janet xox

PS.....your cat looks just like my Whisper!!!

Jane said...

Gosh, everythings thriving and looking good - wish I had an Andy to do mine!

fabriquefantastique said...

Impressive! well done

Southern Lady said...

What a beautiful transformation! Everything looks lush and green! Carla

magicgardencymru said...

This is a beautiful garden , it has got soul (I can tell !) Also a beautiful ginger moggy - we have one too, lurve gingers : ) I am now going to reas more of your blog .... : )

Wanda..... said...

The garden looks great, I think Andy is actually enjoying the work and You can enjoy the fruits of his labor!

Soozcat said...

Your garden is riotously beautiful. It reminds me of what Grandma used to say of her own small backyard plot -- she called it "my little Eden."

Frances Tyrrell said...

Well earned, I doff my cap to you both and especially Andy. What a beautifully and deceptively untidy garden, discipline and perseverance are required for those results.
I like that Mr. Toad-ish toad with his handsome stripes!

Frances said...

PG, your use of that space is remarkable! Bravo to you and extra Bravo to Andy.

The general layout of your back garden space really reminds me of that garden I had long, long ago ... early 1970's in Brooklyn. I did a painting of that garden, and eventually will manage to take a photo of that painting and e-mail it to you.

Looking at your garden really brought back some very sweet memories. And longings for another future garden. xo

Caroline B said...

Isn't it just great when it all comes to fruition!! This year the weather conditions seem to have been just right and everything has grown really well - I haven't had to buy salad for weeks & we are starting in on a bumper crop of blueberries. Need a machete to get from the gate to the house though........

the casbah kitten said...

Wow. I am both ashamed (by my own feble efforts this year) and inspired to do better next year. That is a fabulous garden!

Menopausal musing said...

I would love to have frogs and toads ..... I really, really would.... Your garden looks fantastic and I hope your other half wears his medal with pride!! I don't suppose you remember, but last year I blogged about the tomato that weighed just under two pounds - it was a brandywine! Get that salt ready Gretel... :O)))))

JOHNSON, Cotswold Hills, England. said...

Looks amazing, well done to you both.

So full of healthy edible plants - just shows what can be done with a small space. And it looks so much bigger now too.

Johnson

frayedattheedge said...

I am amazed at how much you have managed to grow. I got some packets of seeds free with a magazine today - I've just suggested to Malcolm that we buy a grow bag tomorrow and sow some of them - even if we're unsuccessful, the grow bag can be dug into the garden later (some of our soil is very poor and the compost in our bins isn't quite ready yet!)

The Pea Pod said...

WOWEE!
Your garden has come on so well, it just goes to show what fab weather and masses of hard work can do - if you need to see an example of what happens when you have fab weather and no work is done then come and see mine, just remember to bring your machete and survival kit! :)

Well done to you both.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Wow!!
You will eat like kings this summer!!

Yarrow said...

Wow, that is one of the most inspirational gardens I've ever seen! You sure have packed it full to overflowing, love it and well done Andy :)

. said...

Oh fantastic garden, really lovely.
Our gaden did not get all the much needed attetion due to a tool happy husband and new deck... cant wait for next year.

Francie of The Scented Cottage said...

Beautiful AND bountiful ! Andy surely deserves that medal.
I'm so happy you have been so busy with lots of work but hope you get a break soon too.
(())

Rowan said...

Andy has done a great job, your garden looks wonderful, pretty and productive too.

Sue said...

Fantastic, Gretel!It looks stunning. What a difference. And all that yummy fruit and veg!

I started doing mixed veg and flowers in my brand new teeny tiny plot, but the slugs round here are massive b**gers and scoffed a lot of it. Then the dog dug up all my carrots! Sigh.....

Twiglet said...

Now that is what I call intensive farming!!!!! Well done - I bet it all tastes delicious!

Over the Garden Wall said...

Gretel and Andy,
What an amazing transformation.
From a nondescript plot to an abundant overflowing potager. Is it very fragrant?

Russet said...

Wow, how brilliant, I love the idea of the tunnel house and frogs and toads, such a good idea, I will try it this coming spring, and your garden looks so happy

CrazyJaneDesigns said...

all looks lovely, So how do you pollinate the female squash flowers? with a paint brush? and how do you tell the female flower? if it's not too much to ask? didn't know you had to pollinate them!!!
I always learn something from your blog!!

Jackie said...

It looks so beautiful and enviable. I wish my garden was a bit less windy and shady. I have had sweet peas in tubs for months, and have just moved them to the front garden where they at least get a bit of sun(if there is any to be had) and have at last achieved one flower! Its lovely to see yours all flourishing and full.

elizabethm said...

Looking wonderful. It is amazing how growing more makes a space look bigger. Don't suppose you want to swap any courgettes (too many as every year) for beetroot or rocket? We have loads of space but still haven't cracked it.

Ulla said...

Andy has green thumbs for sure! Wonderful work!!! Love that you taught him how to pollinate flowers, every 'Man' should learn how to do this delicate task. And that sweet little frog points to the love put into the ground!
Happy Harvesting!
Hugs
Ulla

Pearl said...

Wish I had a garden soldier...
Hope you are doing well.
Hugs,

Alison said...

Very impressive effort in your garden - have you seen the 'Lost Worlds of Old Europe' in the Ashmoleum - several blogs I visit say it is wonderful and not receiving enough publicity.

Keith said...

Gardens are the most amazing things. It sounds corny but they really make you aware of the year, how it all just works, things grow, almost despite everything. It never ceases to AMAZE me how it all has it's moment.

Very jealous of your courgettes. I hate eating them but love how they look growing.

dowhatyoulove said...

Isn't it amazing the transformation that a garden goes through from winter to summer? I can hardly believe how stark the garden can look in the middle of the winter when we are enveloped in the lush green of the summer. Enjoy your beautiful space, and all the wonderful food it is providing you!

Cotswoldgent said...

I've been looking at your post for some time trying to think of some witty comment to make, but I'm just green with envy, do you and Andy fancy popping over to do my garden?

Severus said...

I love frogs! We have loads in our garden but some how the slugs and snails seem to evade them!

Sweet Birdy Love said...

Hey Gretel, thanks for dropping by.
I can just imagine you cycling around the country lanes on that red bike, you'd just need a wicker basket for your picnic.
The birdy stamps are lovely, not cheep (lol) though, probably why I deliberated for so long. Sometimes, you just need to bite the bullet and not think too hard about things.
There's no place like home, best view of the city is in the rear view mirror!
Still enjoying the last few days of Winter but Spring is sneaking up on us all too fast.
Enjoy your weekend,
Claire

Merisi said...

What a glorious garden,
so wonderful to read that your husband took such good care of it while your where labouring over your art works!

sweetmyrtle said...

even more impressive now i see how much you have done in a year. will show this to my man as we are slowly converting out garden into an allottment. it is slow as the kids won't let us take over it all as they still want somewhere to play!