I have a newly cleared (by the chickens) piece of ground that measures about 35 feet by 50 feet. This will be an extension of the kitchen garden and will just about double it in size. I am finding it quite difficult to decide how to divide it up.
When we moved here, we turned a small lawn into the veg garden. We had the turf taken off and stacked to rot down and made beds 4 foot wide by 38 foot long (sorry, you are going to have to do the metric equivalents yourself. 1 foot = 30 centimetres, within a gnats crotchet). There are 6 of these, with 2 foot paths in between. At one end, against the greenhouse, is a 3 foot by 30 foot herb bed. At one side is a further area for jerusalem and globe artichokes, which is now part of the newly cleared area.
Since then, I’ve acquired 2 more greenhouses, one 30-something foot by 12 foot and one about 40 foot by 14 foot. I also have another area, about 45 foot by 12 foot, for growing squashes and pumpkins.
And another, for soft fruit. That’s also 38 feet long and has three beds, each 4 or 5 feet wide.
It seems enough for anyone, doesn’t it. But the soft fruit area was not well planned or executed and has become overgrown. When I was too busy to look after it for a couple of years, it got completely out of hand and I’ve now taken down all the netting, cut off the bits of currant growing through it and, in the autumn, will consider moving it altogether, or maybe everything but the raspberries which come up everywhere anyway.
What I’m finding it hard to do is decide how to divide up the new area. Two sides, a short and a long, will be against a wall once I’ve built it (once the Sage has come up with the ideal bricks) and I might put in some fruit trees, such as apricot or peach. One faces South and the other East. Another side is separated from the 40 foot greenhouse by a 2 foot path. The fourth is alongside the present kitchen garden.
It’s much easier to deal with beds with permanent paths, for several reasons. One is that you don’t dig, manure or weed where you aren’t going to grow things. Another is that the rain comes off the paths onto the ground – useful on my light soil. The ground warms up early in the spring as the heat of the sun is absorbed by the concrete and released later. If for some reason you don’t need all the garden for vegetables one year, it does not become badly overgrown, especially if you put down a mulch.
But four foot paths are not perfect for everything. So maybe five or more foot this time? Or maybe a couple of narrower ones for climbing beans? Or is that too restrictive?
Usually, I’d just grow potatoes for a year to clear the ground and let the plan form in my mind gradually. But the chooks cleared it for me and I need to decide quickly.
I wrote this a couple of weeks ago and decided it was just too dull to post. But tonight I’m too tired to write and I’d really appreciate some advice, if you have any, so I’ve changed my mind and am inflicting it on you.