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The Vegetable & Berry Garden

The Orchard

We have a small orchard of 40 trees of which we have a selection of apple, cherry,  feijoa, fig, nectarine, peach, plum and quince which all produce, some better than others!    I always have plenty of apples, plums and quince which get turned into pies, sorbets, fruit leathers etc. These trees do take a little bit of looking after, pruning, mulching, liquid fertiliser made generally from comfrey and coffee and sometimes some seaweed.  I also do companion planting, which I do throughout the vegetable garden which helps bring in beneficial insects.  

The Berry Garden

In the berry garden I have many black and red currents bushes and a couple of white currants.  I really enjoy trimming the black currents back as you get that distinctive aroma of blackcurrants and they are very easy to take cuttings from.  I have 40 raspberry bushes which were planted a couple of years ago after my original bushes stopped producing.  I have four varieties (ten of each) which all fruit at different times thus giving a constant source of raspberries from spring through to autumn!  Along with the raspberries you have to have strawberries and I have five raised beds of strawberries which work well for me.  I used to have them in the ground but found it difficult to keep the weeds away from them even being mulched with 'strawberry straw' which promptly seeded and grew amongst the strawberries.  By having them in the raised beds, I find this much easier as cover them with netting from the birds and this year mulched with Lucerne as I did all over my garden and am delighted with the results. In the berry garden I also have Blueberries and Boysenberries which all make for good eating and freeze well.

The Vegetable Garden

This I suppose is my 'baby'.  The vegetable garden was the first to go in and a very important part of family life!  It has expanded over the years but love growing produce and especially love being able to go out into the garden and picking fresh vegetables and herbs and know that it's pure and not been sprayed with any nasty substances!  I try and subscribe to the 'no dig garden' of Charles Dowding - www.charlesdowding.co.uk but definitely not as successful!  Although this year using Lucerne as a mulch it not only has suppressed the weeds it has enhanced the soil, so will continue with this.  

I grow to the season, so during summer have all the courgettes/zucchinis, beans, tomatoes, peppers, salad greens and don't bother with the Cruciferous vegetable (broccoli, cabbages etc) which I plant in autumn to see me through winter and spring.  These vegetables have a four-petal flowers which resemble a cross or "crucifer," hence the name.  By doing this I avoid having to deal with pests such as aphids and caterpillars which love these greens in summer.

My vegetable is basically square in shape with three vegetable plots and a grassed area for pots with a circular potager in the centre of the plots.  The potager is divided into four quarter sections; one section is for comfrey and borage, another quarter is for globe artichokes, the third quarter is for Culinary herbs (Thyme, Marjoram, Oregano, Chives etc)  and the fourth quarter is for Aromatics (Lemon Grass, Rosemary, Bee Balm etc).  

Through out the garden I use liquid fertilisers/tea which are made predominantly from comfrey and coffee as that is what I have most of but will use seaweed and nettle when I can.