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Already making plans for next year?

Posted by on Wednesday 15 June 2011 in growing | 5 comments

I know it’s not even midsummer yet but I’m not the only one making growing plans for next year, am I?

  • More strawberries: As I said the other day, our current strawberries should give us a long season of fruit but strawberries are so damn useful that I’d like to expand our crop. While hopefully our current ones will send out runners which will we can cultivate, I’m thinking about adding another variety to result in more of a summer glut for turning into jam etc. I’ll be reading the Which results reposted in brief by Gillian on My Tiny Plot for inspiration. They’ll be planted in the “mini forest garden” beds to add more low height crops. (The silver birch bed is doing very well, btw – four levels so far, a fifth to go in, and the strawberries would be a sixth.)
  • More soft fruit bushes: John’s dad has been building us a Lily-dog and hen containment fence on the shared boundary between our garden & our neighbours – and it’s made me think more about the stuff on that border. I’m going to pull up two shrubs and replace them with fruit bushes. I nearly bought a couple of (presumably 2 year old) redcurrants for cheap at Focus at the weekend but think I’d prefer more raspberries.
  • Another cherry tree: Just near those bushes is a taller treelet, which everyone asks is fig because the leaves look like fig leaves. I don’t think it is – and even if it was, it’s not the right climate here to it’s a bit pointless. So I think I’ll replace that with a cherry – perhaps a sweet cherry to complement the sour morello we’ve already got.
  • Even more fruit bushes or trees: On the lowest level of the fence, there is a narrow bed underneath the fence – that could be used for more fruit bushes or even espalier fruit trees.
  • Another raised bed? We currently have two semi circular raised-with-stone beds with a space inbetween them. I usually fill the space with containers but it would be more efficient to wall the front of the space into a third raised bed. The builders who’ve just finished work on our house freed up a load of suitable stone so I might do this one this year. It would be a deep, south-east facing bed — even if it’s not vast, it could certainly be useful.
  • A long bed at the front? I meant to make the front garden more useful this year – it’s currently being used as a dumping ground for non-useful rubble (from the building work) and random stuff from use clearing out the garage — not quite what I imagined! In time for next year, I’m going to try to build a really long bed along the side of the porch (about 4m). I’ve got some salvaged long lengths of decking which would be fine to use from both a structural and aesthetic point of view – even if it’s just for perennial herbs, it’ll be useful.
  • More shade-loving things: I meant to start making better use of the shaded bits of our garden this year, but didn’t get around to it. I wish I’d put in some rhubarb, and some more herbs.
  • And that’s all before thinking about what annuals I’ll grow…!

Are you getting ahead of yourself too?


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Rachel

    I’m definitely with you on more strawberries and raspberries. There’s no way I’ll have enough for jam from what we’ve got this year. I’m also thinking of growing sugar beet. I meant to this year, but couldn’t find a supplier for seeds. I don’t know if it’s practical to extract useful sugar on a small scale, but I do get through an awful lot of sugar making cordials, wine and beer. Recently there’s been rhubarb fool and ice cream, too, and I haven’t got to jam yet. Making things from scratch really highlights the sugar content.

    Other things I meant to get this year but didn’t are citrus trees. If I ever clear out the conservatory, it would be an excellent space to grow them.

    I’m also idly pondering wheat. I love the idea of making a loaf of bread completely from scratch!

  2. Petra

    Just a question: Why do you think that a fig is impossible in your climate. Is it so different from ours (The Netherlands, west coast)? I have two figs in the garden and they produce a lot of ripe figs when the summer is not too wet. I love them. And they hardly seem to damage from frost.

    More strawberries is also on my wish-list. I tried to sow forest strawberries, but they are so tiny. It’s hardly worth the effort to pick them (if you find them before the snails do).

    I’ve got my vegetable garden on the roof, since our garden is somewhat polluted and needs to serve other goals (e.g. playing ground). And although I would like to have more and more boxes to grow vegetables and fruit, I’m afraid that the roof will no longer take the burden if I keep expanding.
    But if I had the choice, I would definitely buy more fruit bushes. I have some in containers, but I’m not very good in growing berries. They hardly produce anything.

  3. louisa

    Rachel: sugar beet – interesting! Not something I’d be able to try here for space reasons but I’d be very interested to hear how you get on with it. :) Same with wheat really – I do look forward to reading about your adventures :)

    Petra: I’m not sure how much different the climate is – but we’re up north, in Yorkshire, which is wet and noticeably colder than either down south or the coast up here (my mum always complains when she visits from the seaside :) ). I think some people do grow figs but I think we’ll have more success using a more climate appropriate tree.

    Your roof garden sounds very interesting too! Do you have window boxes as well?

  4. Su

    You only planning? I have already bought reduced seeds for use next year.
    Don’t be too hasty about the fig (if that is what it is), I have one, on the wetter side of the Pennines and it fruits every year. Unlike Petra, mine seems to positively thrive in wet conditions. Figs should have their roots contained (be root bound really) in order to fruit well, so maybe that’s why it likes wet conditions. Also it’s in a pot against the front of the house which is south facing. Mine is now about 10 years old and is going to mget a good pruning after it has fruited, it’s getting a bit big now! Give yours a try, I don’t think you will fail.

    • louisa

      heh, now I feel like I’m behind! I’ve not spotted any reduced seeds yet but I shall keep my eye out – I scored loads at 75% off in Wilkinsons sale last year, and lots of 50% off ones from Thompson & Morgan.

      Yes, it seems I am being hasty in dismissing figs – on Saturday, I saw a big fruiting fig near our old house in Leeds so they do grow around here. I’m not sure the bush thing we’ve got is an actual fig though, never seen any fruit or even signs of fruit-to-be — I think it might just have fig-type leaves. I’ll investigate more thoroughly before getting rid of it though :)

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