My first attempt to clear my raised beds failed drastically. There were still plants I intended overwintering in them but the severe frost left them in a very undesirable condition. This was my first of four Square Foot Gardening (SFG) raised beds, which was to replace the odd assortment of pots and containers, from which I had transplanted plants into the raised bed. There were one or two varieties of kale, a couple of kalette plants and some onions etc. I had decided on a clear-out in order to get the beds going for spring-sown seeds, but the trowel had hit permafrost about an inch below the surface. Two days of drizzly rain and higher temperatures, finally persuaded the reluctant plants to surrender, so here I am, at the stage of trying to make a choice of what to grow.
Changing to raised beds has given me a bit more thought on what to plant. Containers and pots are very handy when it comes to sowing or transplanting. You can move containers and pots around to suit, but with a raised bed, the planning needs to be done before you start. I have been used to just planting up a pot as and when the spirit moved, but now I am being forced into being organised.
There are several problems I have to face, but cats are a prime suspect of ruining any work I put into planting. It means I have to keep the raised beds covered. This will create a problem of height restrictions, as whatever I grow will need to fit inside a small frame.
I realise there are plants which will need a pot to themselves. Tubers need space, so yacon and potatoes will need pots or bags. I am reluctant to grow kale, it’s a vegetable I like and use a lot but it’s soul-destroying growing and nurturing fine, healthy-looking plants, then without warning, a sneaky little cabbage white butterfly finds a way in. Peas and beans may also need their own pots because of their height.
I have a lot of space in the SFG raised beds and because they are made from pallet collars, they are not allowing true square foot gardening. The squares are marked off in square feet but that leaves leftover blocks of unequal sizes. This may be the size which courgettes could grow in. The root and stem don’t take up much room but the big, blousy leaves could drape over the sides.
I am still trialling a home-made tube wormery which I put in the deepest raised bed, it’s more of a free-range wormery as opposed to the caged wormery of the commercially manufactured boxes. The tube has easy underground access as well as holes drilled round the base. Vegetable scraps are added to the tube. I just hope the worms managed to find a cosy corner to avoid being frozen.
Buds are certainly appearing on trees and shrubs, but the jury is still out with a number of plants as I don’t know whether deep down, they are still alive. I will need to wait until the weather warms up, to see what bright green sprouts will appear through the ice age carnage.