Moretonhampstead garden design - Implementation

Implementation plan

To figure out the order of implementation, i looked at all the tasks needed, and worked them into priority categories so ones that were needed before others were done. I wrote out a phased plan when i drew up the neat plan for Olivia, and again i kept a photocopy for myself.

1 - MARKING OUT - Define the shapes of the new beds on the ground with string etc to see the design in its true placement, and make any necessary refinements before the rest of the work happens. Finish the shrub clearance work.

2 - GATHERING MATERIALS - Before we could do much we needed materials to do it with - building materials (water butt, cold frame stuff, raised bed larch splits, pallets, cardboard), and planting stock (fruit bushes, fruit trees, artichokes, comfrey, compost, manure, seed potatoes, seeds and potted herbs). The compost and water butt can be sourced from Proper Job, the larch, comfrey and pallets from Steward Wood. The seeds and herbs can be found for sale in Moretonhampstead.

3 - PRIORITISED CONSTRUCTIONS - Make the compost bins and cold frames - Olivia was very keen on getting composting ASAP, and the cold frames would be more useful if they were ready early on.

4 - FIRST PLANTINGS - Get the frost hardy early plantings in - planting the artichokes and fruit trees and bushes, planting up/sowing into the cold frames, and chitting the potatoes inside somewhere.

5 - FURTHER CONSTRUCTIONS - Make the raised bed and install the water butt and gutters.

6 -FURTHER PLANTINGS - Transplant the comfrey, get tyres, clear beds as necessary when it is the appropriate time for each crop to be sown/planted out.


Actual implementation

I marked out the beds and cleared the weeds and shrubs from each bed, adding some compost/nutrients as necessary as i went along - the soil was fairly poor, especially beside the shed and the walkway. I didn't get all the materials at the start as per stage 2 of the plan, i got them piecemeal as i went along. I next made the compost bins, deciding to do away with the comfrey hedge to save space. I got a set of well made pallets from the pile at the Steward Wood, and quickly knocked up a pretty blue construction which Olivia started filling straight away. I put a few fruit bushes next to the pallets, to use some of the leachate that will be flowing into the ground fromthe rotting material.

I decided it was by now too late to need cold frames, so they got cut from the design, as the risk of frost was very small now. Instead i concentrated on making the raised bed, so it could be planted up asap. I sawed and split the larch at Steward Wood, then transported it by bike trailer and car up to the garden. It took a long time to create the border, both in making the larch splits and embedding them in the ground. But slowly it took shape, and we filled in the centre with cardboard to hopefully kill off the grass. Olivia had a few bags of partially rotted manure, but the design needed a lot of soil - it was a large bed! We went to a disused community composting site i know of, and raided the abandoned heaps there - the old site coordinator had offered it to us at Steward Wood a while ago. It took quite a few trips to get enought to fill the bed, and in the end we just dug over the squash region rather than mulching and filling it. Finally we could plant out some vegetables... I sowed peas, beans, spinach and salads. The brassica bed got filled with tomatoes for some reason - either we had no brassicas or Olivia decided she preferred tomatoes. The squash never got planted as we had no seed or plants ready. Lines of radishes were sown in the squash bed, and carrots in the root section.

The herb bed next to the walkway was also quickly filled with plants - these were easy for Olivia to buy as the local supermarket sold them. The potted herbs didn't get planted. The strawberry bed was dug over, wool shoddy was dug into it, and strawberries and onion and lettuce were planted into it. Runner beans were planted along the hedge, but never came up - privet root poisoning or rodent predation perhaps?

The tyre potatoes never happened either- maybe because we didn't source any tyres before it got too late in the season. It would have needed lots more compost too, which we were both fed up with collecting. As the summer moved in, i stepped back from working in the garden and let Olivia maintain and progress it.

Onto the reviews