Friday, 18 November 2011

A Guided Tour of the Raised Beds

I bet you are getting fed up of seeing pictures of this perennial wallflower by now, but I keep showing it because I am astonished that the flowers keep coming.  It has put on such a good display all year and I am really delighted with it.

At home in the Rosebank garden I have four raised beds which I use for summer produce, things that need a bit more care or that I need instant access to, like herbs.  Two of them, which had lettuce and tomatoes in, are now empty, except for the last of the summer cabbage.  I have weeded them and mulched with garden compost.

As you can see from the picture above, the compost is well rotted and crumbly and needed no sieving before laying it on the soil.  But, after reading the Eartheasy Newsletter, I decided to do as they suggested, and put a layer of leaves over them as well, to suppress any weeds.

If they haven't rotted down sufficiently by the end of winter, then they can be raked off and added to the compost bin.  To stop them all being blown off the raised bed I have netted over the leaves, which will also stop the neighbourhood cats from using it as a toilet.

I have planted my garlic in one of the other beds and as you can see they are about 3in. high now.  If you remember, I started them off in trays in the greenhouse to give the roots a chance to form before I planted them out.  This particular bed is still full of California Poppies which have already re-seeded themselves, so I had to work round them.

At the other end of same bed are my spring onions which are the result of four successive sowings.  When I am ready to use them I slice them off at ground level and leave the roots in the ground to re-form new onions.  This has been quite successful so far and well worth doing.  As you can see, in the corner is a self -seeded foxglove which needs to be dug out and put in the woodland part of the garden.  It is taking up a lot of valuable space but is also sheltering the onions from the wind that rips through the top of the garden from the open fields behind.  So I will leave it there for the winter and try and move it successfully in the early spring.

I had one or two spare cavolo nero plants left over from the allotment plantings so I popped them in where I could find space.  They suffered badly over the summer and practically disappeared, but now, although they are quite small still, they have started to recover - even though the companion Nasturtiums are threatening to take over.
And finally, this is a self-seeded raspberry plant, bang in the middle of the flower bed - and, me being me, I have left it alone to do its thing.  What you can see is the new growth since I chopped it down after fruiting.  The funny thing is, it doesn't taste like any of the other raspberries in the garden - it is much sweeter and quite delicious, so maybe it hasn't seeded from my plants, but my neighbours next door, or perhaps, because of the location, the soil is better for it and has affected the taste - whatever the cause I am not thinking of moving it any time soon - I love a bit of haphazardness (is that a word) where the garden does what it wants to do.
Just as an afterthought, I thought I would show you this lilac-coloured fungi that I spotted whilst I was out walking today, they were down a darkish alleyway right against a fence - stunning colour. 
I couldn't find anything in my fungi reference book that looked anything like them, any ideas?


  1. Interesting idea to start your garlic off before planting in beds! Guess you can see which cloves are really worthy of planting out that way! I often discard the smallest cloves, but who knows, they might produce great roots and make great bulbs by your method!

  2. The lilac fungi are beautiful. Haven't got a clue about what they could be. Will keep an eye out though because I have seen them before. I like your idea of having some raised beds at home for produce. It can be a pain having to go up to the allotment just to pick up some lettuce but I have found cats to be too much of a problem in my garden. Even netting doesn't stop them using the beds. I don't know how they do it without getting caught up but do it they do.

  3. I googled "Purple fungi" to see if I could identify yours, but there were zillions of pictures, many of which looked similar but slightly different, so I failed.

  4. Hi Elaine, my Erysimum Bowles Mauve are still going strong too despite having been frosted. Funnily enough I noticed a very similar fungi yesterday at the Priory. Can't help with id though. Sorry.

  5. Those wallflowers are amazing value aren't they? Mine often flowers all year here in the south-west. They do run out of steam after 2-3 years though and I find I have to replace them.

    I'm sorry if I caused you to worry about your writing style over at my place. Your results mean you're writing in a way which is understandable to pretty much everyone. So do carry on with your chatty style - it's working!

  6. Hi Elaine, I have cleared out most of my raised vegetable beds, but still have some last winter preparation to do. I intended to plant garlic, but did not get around to it. Wish I had! I have never seen a purple fungus before. How interesting! I thought that they only came in shades of beige and brown.

  7. It really is surprising that here we are in mid November and there's still so much colour and happening in the garden.
    I can't help with the fungi either I'm sorry to say! Flighty xx

  8. I had a big tidy up in the garden today and have pulled up all the nasturtiums which seem to have got everywhere. I was worried to see so much new growth on plants, the rasberry canes have buds, the peony is pushing its red buds through the soil and my french beans are still flowering. The frost is going to give them all an incredible shock.

  9. We have a similar gardening style. I too like to leave things were they self-seed. I also plant a mix of things well and confuses pests.