So here it is, in it's glory. Mostly.
I have read two highly useful books, listed on the right. Alan Titchmarsh is a regular gardening guru on our screens (who, among UK readers, loved "Ground Force" like I did?) and was the presenter of GW for quite a while. The book is simple, and straightforward, and if you are new to vegetables and fruit, well, there's really no better place to start.
The other one which has become my second bible, by Mr. Harrison, well, it's nicely written, in an easy reading style and simple to understand. I like the "month by month" guide, too.
I've had several gardens over the years. Lots of flowers, shrubs, bulbs, plants, some tomato growing, which my father is good at, and my sister too. She had a fabulous crop last year, in a climate not dissimilar to mine.
So I dug, and added good stuff to the soil. Lots of rocks out. That's when I got my sunburn, I believe!
I hope this was an inspired idea. With the lack of a car, I had no chance to get the "good stuff" (bags of manure from the garden centre, I mean) down in the planned vegetable patch last autumn, which would have been ideal. Plus, I didn't realise I was going to have so much of a patch, but since I'm putting potatoes down at the back it's less of a problem because you wouldn't necessarily manure the potato patch, or so I've read.
But where you see the boards down, above, well I decided a few weeks ago I would drag back some "grow bags" (from the 99p Store. Yes, 99p each!). I would warn you, with a normal shopping trolley and what should be a 10 minute walk, two is too many, although I did make it in the end. Just. Don't try this at home.
Grow bags are full of nutrients, as the whole point of them is to grow vegetables in, certainly tomatoes and the like, where you normally can't. So, I thought I'd dig a couple of grow bags-worth into the soil for this summer!
One full Grow Bag has gone in here
after a lot of forking, de-rocking, thankfully minimal weeding after the work I did a couple of weeks ago (with the cultivator tool). The whole point of the planks is to have a path between, so I don't compact the soil too much by having to walk across it, nor disturb the plants too much, but can get to the plants to weed, feed, tie up the tomatoes, as necessary. Behind the planks, will go the tomatoes. Just in front - at last! - I have planted the onions. 34 "Red Baron" onions are down there, placed 4 inches apart. Just in front of them, with 8 inches between, are 15 shallots. They need to be placed 8 inches apart, because whilst I believe one onion "set" will give one onion, one shallot "set" will give you a bunch of shallots (here's hoping!).
I used one of those boards when I was laying the turf - extra shelving from what we put up in the front room, and they have come in very handy!
In front of that, I shall be growing "cut-and-come-again" lettuce (I've done that before, so that should be okay, in that I at least know what I'm doing). Seeds shall be sown into the ground in a few weeks time and regularly throughout the season for a summer's worth of salad. Yum.
Top right, will be runner beans. In front of that, towards the front of the border, I think some peas ("mangetout"), if I can fit them in. Both on bamboo teepees.
Here's the potato patch, which should have been the new patio. But hey, I'm making use of the space!
All the planting of the onions and the further digging of the potato patch was actually done on Sunday morning, while I waited for the rain to come. It did, eventually, but not before I managed to do all this. So the potatoes are not down yet, but I can't see how a week will be such a bad thing ... all the vegetable planting is so new to me.
Anyway, I need to figure out how to fit those 32 seed potatoes into this space, about 9 ft x 8 ft, given the advised spacing of 15 inches apart.
My back hurt. My shoulders were sore. No blisters, thankfully (cotton gloves). I was more than fragrant. Was it worth it? Oh yes.