Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Making the Soft Fruit Garden

Looking out of the kitchen windows this morning, I could almost convince myself that a mature and beautiful garden was hidden behind the fence, and one day there will be. Part of the joy of creating a new garden is that the possibilities are almost endless and depending on the state of one's bank balance, that can happen fairly quickly or as in our case, just a little bit at a time over a long period.

While Mr J did some work in his study first thing today, I pottered in the vegetable garden. I planted a row of broad beans that had been started in the greenhouse. I've never grown them before as I really don't like them, but Mr J does and so that is a good enough reason for me to give them another chance and of course, if I still don't like them, I can freeze any surplus in single portions or dry them to rehydrate in the depths of winter for him to enjoy out of season.
Oriental Poppy Royal Wedding, like these ones from Dobbies
In the perennial border I planted three oriental poppies that Mr J bought for me from a local shop that had reduced them from £3 each to 49p (a bargain if they grow well - or at all!). I love these big, blousy flowers that shine for a fleeting day or two before the petals fall and they start to make attractive seed pods.

After 5 months of working on the house, yard, chicken condo, perennial flower bed, shrubbery and vegetable garden, we finally started work on the soft fruit garden today. A couple of months ago I started to dig a bed to mark out where the soft fruit garden was going to be and since then it's sat, untouched and ignored. Far from the soil breaking down into a friable crumb as it was exposed to the weather, all that happened was that the clods of soil became as hard as concrete hard blocks.
So this morning I took the trusty spade to it and started to break the hard blocks up and make it more useable. Once it was in a more crumbly state, Mr J brought barrow loads of compost, from the first compost heap that we made, to enrich the soil and give it a better structure. The soil at this end of the paddock is in much better condition than that near the house, but still it needed a fair amount of compost to give it some body and add some nutrients too.
With the first bed prepared, we soaked the large pots of raspberry canes that we lifted from Mr J's mother's garden last year and started to plant up the bed. I've planted twelve autumn fruiting raspberry plants in this bed, we have about eighty plants so I think that I may need to plant an additional row along the middle of the bed too, but for now I will see how we get on.
After a quick break for a cuppa we started digging out the next bed for raspberries. We were about half way through the process of lifting the grass and turning over the soil when I suddenly realised how hungry I was. So, we have left the second raspberry bed as is and headed indoor for a late lunch and will continue with it tomorrow.


  1. I like the look of that white oriental poppy, I have a red one on the plot. Good to see that you're going to grow lots of raspberries, which are my favourites. Happy gardening. xx

    1. Last year was fantastic for raspberries, apparently crops were heavy everywhere. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this year will be equally as good. I am looking forward to stocking the larder with jam for the year.

  2. Yes, you've definitely got your priorities right – I love raspberries too! I'll look forward to seeing how the soft fruit garden progresses.

    1. Thanks Matt, there's so much to do here that we have to a bit at a time. Raspberries are definitely a high priority!


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