Setting up a kitchen garden: the journey so far

When you’re caught up in everyday life, it’s sometimes easy to forget how much has been accomplished. Going through the photos of the kitchen garden recently, I was reminded of how much the site has changed over the past six months. Here are some pictures, illustrating our journey so far, from an open piece of grazing land to our first harvest last November.

Back in July 2019, this is what the site looked like…

… with a somewhat more picturesque view towards the bread barn:

The first step then, was to prepare a layout plan, based on which Dan fenced in the site.

With the fence in place, the size of the garden became much more apparent. One acre is a lot of space!

To make things more manageable, we broke down the project into different phases. Starting small, the first phase is only 150sqm in size. Our aim is to show how productive even such a small piece of land can be and that you don’t need a large garden to become more self-sufficient.

Here we are rabbit proofing Phase One. The mesh also provides some support for the fruit shrubs which we planted later. This looks a lot more manageable in size!

Dan and Rob construct the first raised beds, 1.2m wide x 2.4m long. We work in multiples of four, in line with a four year crop rotation. It is the end of September and the late season potatoes ‘Arran Pilot’ and ‘Maris Peer’ are coming along nicely.

Wood chips cover the paths around the beds, which are 90cm wide. This might seem generous but allows us to comfortably manoeuvre the wheel barrow around.

Applying permaculture principles, we filled the beds with a layer of carton, wood chips, well rotted manure…

… and a top dressing of straw. If all goes well, this should be ready for planting in the coming spring. Fingers crossed!

In addition to veg, we also planted a variety of fruit shrubs along the edges. As the site is very exposed, we hope that they will serve as a wind break as well as a food source once mature.

We’ve got blackcurrants, blackberries, tayberries, loganberries, goji berries, gooseberries, honeyberries, wild strawberries as well as a dwarf mulberry and some Chilean guavas. Plenty of different varieties to experiment with and see which ones do well on the farm.

And here is the last photo of the garden, taken at the beginning of November.

It was an exciting day as we harvested for the first time. Magnus, Holly and Anna helped me dig up the potatoes – a big thank you, guys! Unfortunately, we all got so carried away that there is no photo of us at work, nor did I weigh our treasure. Hopefully, I’ll do better next time round!

 

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