I am feeling so inspired to get on with my kitchen garden planting. I have been attending a course called Kitchen Garden Through the Year . It is organised by the talented Arne Maynard and led by the informative and knowledgable (and funny) James Clapp. James has and still does work in a number of impressive sites including Riverford. The course consists of visiting Arne Maynard's kitchen garden at various times throughout the year whilst learning about what happens in the garden at that stage. I have grown my own fruit and vegetables for about 8 years now. This is the first time I am planning more carefully and keeping notes of my practice.
I have a number of beds and , new for this season, a polytunnel. (I also have a stash of beautiful bell cloches, ready for use). We rent the house we live in so we had no real choice as to where the garden is situated. Usually my husband goes crazy at the garden centre and buys many seedlings which we transplant. However, I remember the joy of starting with a seed and I really want my children to be a part of the whole process. So this year we are trying to grow exclusively from seed. I will keep you posted as to whether we achieve this.
Also we are trying to grow more organically this year too. We have set up our very first compost bins at the edge of the garden. It is still a learning process for us and we are still having to remind ourselves to compost suitable waste. We did get three big 'bins' because its a long term process.
I bought my seeds in February. Unfortunately we have been so busy, I have not managed to get much planting done. I have rhubarb and strawberries as a permanent part of our garden. Also we do have a number of fruit trees. A few months ago I removed all the weeds from the strawberry beds and tidied them up. So today I thought my job would be relatively easy. Today's tasks were to sort out the early strawberries and plant some seeds.
The strawberries were extremely dry. The first thing I did was wet them. Then I removed weeds. It was far more manageable due to the previous maintenance. I also added some compost to the beds.
These early strawberries are so encouraging. They already have flowers and we can see the mini strawberries appearing.
This means we really needed to cover them with netting so that the birds do not get them before the children. Last year we had a terrible system. The netting was so awkward and difficult to lift that we never removed the weeds. It just became over grown. I was determined to improve it this year.
It took me a few tries, but I am very pleased with the end result.
My daughter was a great help. She set about planting some of our seeds.
We mixed seed compost with our courser green compost. Then we wet it thoroughly. She managed to plant all varieties of cucumber.
It was definitely a perfect way to spend Earth Day. Hope you had a wonderful day too.