Most of our land sits in front of our house, but behind we have a relatively level small area of land. This area is lovely of an evening and hosts our existing greenhouse (which due to construction work we have been unable to access for quite a while.
I wanted an area that we could sit out in the evening, and behind our house is perfect as it gets full sun in the evening. I also wanted to plant more fruit trees and move my existing fruit bushes as I have plans for their current site.
So, while rest was enforced I came up with a cunning plan…
The plan holds a number of features and will take several years to come to fruition as he soil is really poor after the building work. so, what do I have in mind?
Year 1 – 2
Try to improve the ground. How? I planted mustard greens and field beans as the end of 2016 as green manure. The mustard did really well, but the beans failed spectacularly. So, this spring I am planting white clover, which will stay in place throughout the years. It should help suppress some unwanted weeds, but also help lock in nitrogen and when clipped and left to degrade will help build soil. Soon, I will also plant some fodder radish to help break up soil, bring up nutrients from the earth and build soil from leaf clippings.
I moved a quince tree that was failing in its current site and also planted two Howgate Wonder apple trees that were gifts from my Mum.
In the autumn I will be planting further fruit trees and shrubs. Many of the fruit trees I will source from the fabulous Incredible Farm where I have been volunteering (please visit them if you are ever in the area).
In front of our green house we have a flat roof of the boiler room we have built to house our bio-mass boiler. My plan is to plant this ‘green roof’ with a lawn of creeping thymes and chamomile. I chose these plants as people will occasionally be walking over this area. They will also attract bees and smell divine in the evening. The area surrounding the ‘lawn’ will be planted with sun loving perennial herbs. Again these will smell delicious and the area is not too far from my kitchen.
Close by this area, Brian our stone wall genius has installed a stone bench. Wild flowers will be planted around this bench and will merge with the grass path leading to the decking and fedge enclosed grass lawn. This will attract insects and look beautiful once it is established.
As we complete building work and installing railings (to stop children & animals falling from heights), more planting of perennial veg, shrubs, herbs and of course flowers will take place.
I have also planted some comfrey (Bocking 14) near the existing trees. I am toying with the idea of planting a “mulch bed” of comfrey plants in the field where I will be planting trees for firewood to boost my home grown mulching capabilities, but haven’t decided this as yet.
I want to install a waterbutt on the greenhouse for easy access to water in this area, and also fancy planting a grapevine. The roots will be external to the greenhouse, but I will train the vine up wires internally.
Year 2 – 3
As well as maintaining green manures, this is the year I plan to move my existing fruit bushes, but also plant up some more fruit canes and bushes. There is an area next to the road that is perfect for some blackberries, and some bamboo will be planted to help with wind protection from the East (as well as providing bamboo shoots and garden canes).
There is an area built into the boiler room external wall a bit like a stone planter. I am thinking this might be perfect to try a fig in. The area is sheltered, there may be a bit of heat stored in the stone too, and figs like to have their roots constrained. No harm in trying I guess!?
I have a lot of wild strawberry plants, I may move these up to this area too, and let them spread out.
Depending on the soil situation, some perennial veg may be planted this year, but I think this will be something that happens from Year 3 onward.
Install the solar panels – these take up a lot of space, but their position also allows planting of bilberries on the slope in front of them. It is also better for us to not have them sited on the roof of the farm.
Year 3 onwards
This is the year I hope to definitely start to plant some perennial veg. No plan is set in stone, and depending what happens in years 2-3, this may all change again.