This was the phase where we had to decide what kind of fruits we are going to grow, at least this year. We had already two trees at the back, so only another 4 are allowed to plant, and one blackcurrant bush was between the two trees. Shall we put all the fruit bushes and trees at the back? Then what will we do with the front? Shall we put some perennials like rhubarb or comfrey there? Or shall we dedicate the place for Mediterranean herbs like thyme, rosemary, and sage? Decisions, decisions.
The clue for the solution came with a discovery: we had already some strawberries at the front and some mysterious berries poking up from the soil here and there.
It is probably some sort of raspberry. The good news is that it doesn’t have thorns! And we like berries, especially the ones without thorns. We like strawberries too. However, we don’t like the fact, that they both are spreading.
The soil at the back is quite hard and full of stones. If we plant raspberries at the back, we would need to dig or pull up the excessive growth and that would probably disturb the root system of the trees. So we need to plant them at the front.
The random raised beds gave us the idea to grow spreading fruits in contained areas. So we restructured the front: dug it up, leveled it, placed the raised beds where we wanted them, then filled in the walkways with wood chips. No weed control fabric was involved in the making of the walkways. From previous experience we found that bind weed love growing underneath it and will creep up at the edges where even more difficult to remove them.
We ended up with four shorter raised beds, which will be the home for our strawberries, and one taller raised bed, which will accommodate the raspberries. The strawberries will stay in a bed for three years then the bed will be used for some cover crop. The raspberries will stay in the bed for as long as they produce and healthy, but every autumn fresh mulch will be placed on the top of the soil to replenish the nutrients used up by the plant.
Nevermind the sink at the edge of the road. At this point, it is waiting for removal. Someone thought it could be a good water feature for the wildlife. Someone else thought they can reuse the tap so they broke the ceramic. It is going to be a feature on the landfill apparently.
Next step is to dig the remaining area between the raised beds and the road and plant some flowers for this year.
I managed to plant a row of sunflowers, a row of sweet peas along the sunflowers and replanted a few poppy looking plants. And that was it. The summer hit. Hard. The soil became dusty concrete like substance and I wasn’t able to dig more. For the whole of the summer. The front stayed wild with a few random flowers in it.
I have got comments like “So that is your wildlife area!”
Well… I guess… it is for now…
- How to Grow and Care for Strawberry Plants by ‘the spruce’
- Crop Rotations and Cover Crops for Strawberries by The University of Vermont, for those who are interested in soil fertility
- Bind weed by RHS Gardening