Saturday, 6 October 2012

Objectives and Objections

The house assigned me the task - a year ago - of de-jungling the garden and turning the larger West half into a lawn and recreational area, the slightly smaller East half into an arable patch for growing root veg and some fruit.  This is the garden, not counting the patio, as it stands right now:
Yes, I'm in that interesting age cohort (I started school in 1989) where my mind thinks in millimetres while my hands and eyes think in inches.  I've heard it referred to as metric schizophrenia, which is an unfortunate way of putting it, though not wholly inaccurate if you accept the omniprotean slang definitions of "schizophrenia".  Anyways, here are the plans in inches.  I've drawn up the garden as I would want it to look this time next year:
I'll grant you the handwriting ain't great.  The black square is a 4' greenhouse, the orange squares are 5' beds, the blue circles are 330L composters.  All to scale, of course. The East side (the top of the page is North, of course) is busy.  The West side is quiet.  Though I've only just committed it to paper, this is how I pictured it before I ever broke the ground.  

I've hit a number of objections from within the household, which are somewhat frustrating.  Time to vent!

That's so cluttered!
Not really, as beds take up little vertical space.  Besides, the lawn is clear and that's effing large.  

Why do we need beds to grow veg?
1) Species compete, and without a barrier in the soil the dominant veg will push out the other veg.  
2) Because if I had a cricket bat I could stand outside our front gate and drop a tennis ball right into the Thames!

I don't want it to look like an allotment.
You want to grow veg.  No, let's be clear, you want me to grow veg.  This would be significantly harder to accomplish whilst keeping the garden looking like Wimbledon on both halves.  

Do we need a greenhouse to grow tomatoes and herbs?
Do we need a kitchen to cook food?  No, but it improves our ability to cook food and broadens the range of food we can cook.  

Do we have to grow great frames of beans in rotation?  Can't we just grow leafy things that sit close to the ground?  Why the composter?
The Nitrogen Cycle is an interesting thing and I suggest everybody acquaint themselves with it's basics.  How it applies to the arable gardener is as follows: your tatties and carrots take nitrates out of the soil; beans put nitrates into the soil.  No beans = nowt else!  No - I tell a lie - nowt else unless you're prepared to save all your pee and extract the nitrogen from that.  

Okay, that's that done.  I'll have to argue this some more, methinks.  If I'm gonna get the first earlies in for the coming year then I shall have to resolve these issues and get the beds built by the end of January.  Wish me luck!


  1. If you don't already have some composters, I have two I won't be using anymore. I can get them to you during half-term if you like.

    1. I have one and it's looking as though there's no way in hell I'll be permitted to keep a second, which in reality just means I need to argue harder for a second one.