The garden in 2016

permaculture kitchen garden

Even though I still call our garden ‘the new garden’, we have a full year of tending our dream plot behind us and it may be time to drop the ‘new’. I can’t wait for the 2017 season to start but as it is currently freezing and I have already pruned all my fruit trees, I thought I would give you a recap of our first season. Since I always feel like we’re running behind and doing just half of what needs doing and only about a tenth of what I would like to get done, it is great to go through these photos and think to myself ‘wow, look how far we’ve come!’. Thankfully, we’ve had awesome friends help with the two biggest jobs, fencing and pond construction. But there was also the unexpected and wonderful gift of our friends’ teenage son Romeo who’s come to help almost every weekend. He’s not only strong and willing to tackle any job with enthusiasm but also great company. Obviously it is heartening to see there are teenagers who actually enjoy gardening but I’m also grateful for this connection we get to experience. I think it is important that children have more grown-ups in their lives than just their parents and I’m glad we get to be someone’s honorary uncle and aunt. But before I get too sentimental, let’s have a look at the garden month by month!


We started by making a rabbit-proof fence around the whole plot. It turned out to be successful, right until our neighbour had his plot ploughed and made several large holes in the wire mesh in the process. We’re thinking of adding a second layer this year – hopefully it will be sufficient. We started moving our raised beds and filling them with compost that was left behind by the previous tenants in an overgrown heap with quite a lot of debris.

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12 raised beds installed and filled with compost – 6 to 7 wheelbarrows per bed. I planted the first tree – a walnut and also made a plan for the kitchen garden which is a job I tend to procrastinate. february   sized_IMG_7411 sized_FullSizeRender sized_IMG_7492



Tons of fruit trees and bushes planted during the Easter weekend plus an edible hedge along two sides of the plot. First vegetables planted and sown in the kitchen garden.

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Paths in the kitchen garden covered with wood chips which makes a lot of difference both for looks and maintenance. Daffodils flowering in the cottage garden. sized_IMG_7971

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Things looking greener by the day. We covered part of the plot with cardboard to kill perennial weeds and planted some winter squash through it.


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New pond! (there’s a post about the construction here).  We’ve also made a hugelbed using all kinds of left over woody materials and the soil excavated from the pond.

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The cottage garden became a riot of colour, a source of nectar for the bees and beautiful bouquets for us.


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We returned from our holidays to a garden full of beautiful produce and frogs and toads– yes, the pond had become a magnet for wildlife. Hopefully the frogs and toads keep slugs in check.

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We filmed a tour of our kitchen garden and picked tons of pears from our beautiful tree.


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Lots of unusual and colourful vegetables came to their own this month: artichokes, sweet potatoes, chines kale…  Also seven varieties of winter squash (that we made a video about).


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We had fun filming our ‘Harvesting in November’ video – showing the variety of produce still available this month. I also planted hundreds of flower bulbs  many of which unfortunately seem to have been eaten by mice.

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Things are winding down, some pruning to be done and empty beds to be mulched, but slowly the garden is going to sleep.

kitchen garden in december

I hope you enjoy this walk down the memory lane! I’m off to dream up a plan for 2017 🙂


11 comments for “The garden in 2016

  1. 15/06/2018 at 05:46

    That is the most amazing garden and wonderful how you designed it step by step! I have sent to all my gardening friends to see.
    I am in California so a different climate but same steps to get it all done. Gorgeous!

    Am going to try your red currant /Sour cherry jam recipe this weekend.

    • vera@gtc
      16/06/2018 at 14:19

      Thank you so much, Sarah! I’m happy uyou found the design inspiring even though your climate is indeed very different! I hope you like the recipe!

  2. Wine Krol
    31/05/2017 at 12:56

    A foodforest in Hengelo, the town where I live. Very, inspiring. Beautiful garden. I hope I can start a foodforest too!

  3. Perry Leopold
    09/04/2017 at 20:02

    Excellent photos of your garden. You’re blog is exceptionally well thought out. I’m comparing our garden to yours. We garden In zone 6a in central Illinois and our growth progression is similar to your garden.

    • vera@gtc
      10/04/2017 at 11:49

      Hi Perry, thank you for the compliment! It is very interesting to hear that your gardening experience on a different continent is so similar to ours 🙂

  4. 20/01/2017 at 11:39

    This is so amazing and makes me super excited for garden season this year. I love that you have so much space to play with (ha, my three small beds are nothing like your place).

    Will you change things up this year or will you plant the same stuff?

    oh and are those sweet potatoes? Did they grow well?

    • vera@gtc
      20/01/2017 at 11:57

      Hi Andrea, thank you! I’m super happy to have all this space to play 🙂 I haven’t yet made a plan for the kitchen garden, I am thinking of doing more polycultures within the beds – we’ll see. The sweet potatoes did quite well this year, we got some large ones. But they need a lot of warmth, so we never get a huge harvest. When/if we get a greenhouse, I want to try growing them in there – that should make a difference.

  5. Evelyne
    19/01/2017 at 23:16

    Thank you for this great summary of your beautifully productive year. I was surprised that you were still getting artichokes so late in the year. Mine die down around September. I live in the south west of the UK. You said you had lots of pears. We’re pears among the trees you had planted the winter before? Because that seems very quick.
    Congratulations and felicitation for such a great success. Thanks again. Evelyne

    • vera@gtc
      20/01/2017 at 11:16

      Thank you, Evelyne! I think our artichokes were so late because it was their first year – if they survive the winter, I expect they’ll flower earlier next year. The pears were indeed not from a tree we’ve just planted – we are very lucky, there was a very old huge pear tree on the property when we bought. It is ‘Conference’ which also happens to be my childrens’ favourite!

  6. 18/01/2017 at 17:55


    • vera@gtc
      18/01/2017 at 18:56

      Thank you, Arthur! It’s fun to look back!

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