Gardening Plans for 2017

I don’t think it’s too early to be thinking about the garden in 2017, do you?

This year was quite tough, I thought, in the garden.  There seemed to be days of war between me and snails or me and the weather and the plants kind of got caught up in the battles.  In some cases the plants won but in other’s it was actually me learning even more about the plants that I have attempted to grow and cultivate. The garden in its entirety never stops showing me new ways of growing and tending plants.

So as the last of the leaves fall off the espaliers and the beds are emptied, and once again I forget to sow green manure on them, I’m looking forward already to next year.

There are major jobs to be done in 2017, as well as new ways of doing things.  I also want to see if I can make the garden both more productive and even less time consuming (which is really isn’t at the moment but I like a challenge).

A few of the biggies include:
  1. Creating a new quiet seating area, under the eucalyptus tree.
  2. Removing soil from four of the beds and laying down suppressant (there goes my back again!)
  3. Building my own grow house
  4. Re-planting an area in the front garden with more pollinating friendly flowers/plants.
A few of my planting ideas include:
  1. Replacing most of my herbs
  2. Growing four different crops in each raised bed (intercropping and companion planting), where beds are available (probably 4/6)
  3. Growing chillies – indoors! (I know, right?!  I’ve been given “permission” to be able to grow two – just two, plants indoors with the stipulation they sit on a windowsill in the kitchen and they don’t have any pesky flies).
  4. Remembering to grow autumn potatoes
Other wild ideas include:
  1. Sharing as much produce as possible
  2. Growing extra plants (herbs, chillies) to give as gifts
  3. Experimenting in straw bale gardening
  4. Having a go at designing or planting someone else’s garden (if I find a willing volunteer!)

I’m just full of ideas at the moment, as you can probably guess.  In fact just thinking about ideas for the garden gives me a nice fuzzy feeling inside.  At I’m not just a thinker, I’ve started doing already too.

Last weekend (in a day of cold sunshine) I planted the garlic bulbs and covered those over with straw.  I’m hoping they won’t get too wet before they have a chance to set but if they do it’s okay because I’ll just plant again in the new year.

There are also some gardening lessons I’ve learnt this year that I;ll take with me into next:

  • Salad leaves (do I really want to go there again?) – need more cold and shade than heat and sunshine.
  • Basil – don’t be afraid to keep pinching the tips out, the more pinching the better.
  • Beer Hops – for goodness sake don’t let me cultivate more than two shoots otherwise it’ll just get too heavy for the string supports.  The plants are relentless growers!
  • Blueberries – coffee grinds for the win!  I tipped the spent grinds in the containers all over winter/spring and I believe it gave the plant a much better harvest of berries.
  • Potatoes – trying to grow them in a raised bed without proper soiling up is only going to generate mediocre harvest.  Next year I need to build up the soil much higher.
  • Peas – don’t ever underestimate good support structures!  I shall spend much more time on these before I start sowing anything.
  • Sweetcorn and runner beans – sow them in pots and give them a fighting chance against the slugs!

So that’s just a few of my ideas and notes which need to be turned into realistic projects along with some timescales.