It’s been quite a summer here in my new potager – remember those images back in mid-February of the tangled space which I set out to convert into a square-metre plot of four raised beds to grow vegetables, herbs, salads and edible flowers – and all surrounded by a wildlife friendly shrubbery? Click here if you would like to remind yourself of the task I faced exactly five months ago. It’s come a long way since then and has proved to be the most enjoyable and productive of all the six potagers I have created over the last 20 years – the others all still exist in one form or another, but this has become my favourite, and the most easily managed.

square bed devoted to lettuce
one corner of one of the square-metre beds has been devoted to lettuce; spring onions alongside and in the very centre, a bamboo tower up which are climbing borlotti beans

All the vegetables and salads have been grown from seed supplied by Dobies; many are new varieties specifically designed for small spaces; you can pack the plants closer together, and operate a cut-and-come-again system with salads – pick what you want and allow the plants to regrow.

cabbages grown from Dobies plug plants
these cabbages were grown last year from Dobies plug plants, using the method described below

polycup cabbageA sheltered spot is a bonus;  for the first time ever, it has allowed me the opportunity to follow a successional cropping plan. Space I am just clearing where the broad beans grew will shortly accommodate the Brassica Collection of 36 plug plants – six each of six varieties: sprouting broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kale. But hurry – orders must be placed THIS WEEKEND – by Monday 17th July at the latest. Greens all winter and into Spring: what edible joy. I can cover them with netting against the birds, and fleece or cloches in bad weather.


WWF Show Garden at Hampton
The WWF Show Garden at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show last week;
demonstrating that they are as concerned to save habitats as pandas.

Beyond the Garden Gate: we are endeavouring to bring you news of various gardens or gardening shows around the country. Last week we were at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show in Surrey, and next week will be blogging live (WiFi permitting) from RHS Tatton Park Show just outside Manchester. Take a notebook and camera: there is always something to inspire at any show; one hopes for fine weather, good food, pleasant company – and a car boot that will accommodate all the purchases!

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