Since 2004, we have been gardening on an organic allotment that is about 5 km away from our house. Our current plot is 220 m2 (2368 square feet). Part of it is too shady for annual vegetables, so that is where we put out shed, compost heaps, soft fruit bushes (currants and gooseberries) and our rhubarb patch.
We have 10 raised beds which are 1,2 m (4 feet) wide and 2,80 m (9 feet) long. The sides are made of Douglas fir boards treated with organic linseed oil based paint. The beds are undug and mulched heavily with organic materials (such as compost, well-rotted manure, straw or flax straw) to protect the soil structure, reduce evaporation and weedgrowth and, in the long term, improve the humus content of our light sandy soil.
The raised beds have several advantages, not the least being that they make it easy to keep the plot tidy and pleasing to the eye. I am a huge believer in making the kitchen garden beautiful – when it is beautiful, you want to spend more time there and that means it will be well cared for. The raised beds also warm up early in the spring and improve drainage. Fertilizers and mulch are only applied where they are needed. My prefered material for the paths is wood chips, which aer durable and in this case also for free.
On the north side of the allotment is a tiny edible forest consisting of 2 apple trees, two pears, a persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), a large-fruited hawthorn (Crataegus schraderiana) and many edible or otherwise useful herbs and flowers.
On one side of the plot is a narrow strip planted with perennial cut flowers (peonies, helenium, helianthus, delphiniums and more) and on the other side we have a strip with soft fruit: black currants and fall raspberries.
The harvest is planned so that there is something to pick every week of the year, even though the plot is unfortunately not big enough for our vegetable-loving family of four to be self-sufficient. But thanks to the protection of a cold frame and horticultural fleece, we can pick fresh salads year round.
If you’d like to read more about our gardens here are a few posts:
March in rearview mirror
Garden jobs in March
Winter salads from the garden
Seeds old and new
Edible garden in November
Edible garden in October
Edible garden in September
Edible garden in August
Edible flowers, how to grow them and how to eat them
Edible garden in July
Edible garden in June
Edible garden in May
Edible garden in April
Kale salad and community gardening
Deciding what to grow
Edible garden in January