Yesterday, I caught myself searching for ‘installing fence posts’ and watched a series of videos on Youtube and Vimeo about the subject. Yes, people. That’s how I roll these days.
Somebody seriously needs to give me a bit of culture at some point, because whilst my country side is putting down roots, I think the cultured side of me is dying a bit. Maybe I should wear a pashmina when I garden? Or maybe a bit of Chanel perfume?
My quandary is the cement/non-cement post fixing, and I’m still divided on the subject. Exciting, I know. The thing is, autumn is the perfect time to prepare for next year, and I need to seriously think about these beds I want to put in. I want four beds – laid out in a square, a rectangle or rows – not decided yet. And in these four beds, I want to put down some summer-hardy, drought-tolerant things. I’ve roughly got the gardens at Chassenon in mind. Mostly, though it will be fruit. This will be my fruit garden. The flowers must be a little apéro/muse-bouche for the insects, so I need things that bring the insects and things that flower throughout the year to keep them coming.
I’ve done a drawing, but I’ve messed up on the proportions. That might be why I never thought more seriously about architecture. Who needs a ruler anyway?! Proportion? Pah!
The site for it is this bit:
I’m guessing it’s about 35 m x 35 m. I’m going to stake out the shapes today, so I’ll have more of an idea. Where’s that measurer implement Steve had when I need it??! All I know is you could easily get a house on it and have room to spare. So the drawing makes it look a whole lot smaller than it is, and the beds look a whole lot bigger than they will be!
That side of the property gets most of the sun – the sun is on it all day. That’s why I’ve gone with more sun-needy trees and put the raspberries in the one shady bit. I thought about apples, but they don’t mind some shade and they don’t need the sun to ripen in the same way.
Plus, as I learned this year, once the water table rises, the land gets flooded, so I don’t want anything that minds being damp or exposed so much. There are some trees in the fields to the south that provide a wind break but no shade, which is good if you like sun. It’s also good because a wind break is a good thing.
This photo shows you the southerly end, where the first row of vines are. There are thirty ‘feet’ and that’s another thing I want new fence post for, because these are falling down and crappy. Ironically, despite being told that my vines are old and unproductive and I’d be better to rip them all out and put new ones in, I’ve got great grapes this year, where most people have hardly any at all. I’m not going in for wine production, so it matters not to me whether they’re very productive or not very at all. They’re a nice wall of leafy loveliness in the summer and that’s what I like about them. So the new bits will be in between these vines and the fence you can see in the top photo.
At Chassenon, Cassinomagus as was, there are lots of gorgeous Roman-style raised beds, complete with a scented section, a perennial herb section and a couple of other sections. They need to be drought-tolerant because they’re a long way from a tap or a hosepipe and in all honesty, you’re making a rod for your own back around here if you do anything that needs moisture. The flower garden will need water, but I can do that with watering cans.
Also, the ground beneath is neither fertile nor in good condition, so raised beds might mean more soil, but I can use some of the great compost I’ve got and raised beds are easier to care for, from my perspective.
It seems like a big project – it is a big project – but I’m going to do it bit by bit like I did with the little flower garden. That was just a starter project. I’ll do a bed at a time and start with the trees. It’s almost time to get bare root trees for the winter, so I shall pick them up then.
I’ve already got four peach trees – one gives big peaches, one is an heirloom peach tree and the other two give tiny peaches that are little bigger than plums, with skins that are impossible to get off. I use these for chutney. I want a good peach tree, with peaches you don’t have to cook with! I also want a couple of apricots and nectarines because I love these. I got two a couple of years ago, but I almost killed them. I know how to care for them better now. Neither peaches nor nectarines need other cultivars for cross-pollination, so the only reason I’ve put three in is for aesthetic reasons. You can plant them only five metres apart, but ten’s fine too.
The other thing about raised beds is that I’m going to build in the netting from the get-go. That way, I can give the birds what I want them to take when I’ve done, and they don’t eat the berries before they’re ready to pick. My chickens decimated last year’s redcurrant and blackcurrant crop. Naughty chickens. These new chickens are much less greedy for berries and are so well behaved I let them wander the vegetable plot.
Anyway… those are my grand plans. If you want to find me, I’ll be watching videos about building raised beds and the benefits of various different weed suppressant fabrics…