If I was honest, we’ve neglected it because we have been so busy and found no time to spend out there. As a result, we’ve had interesting things growing (without any help from us I hasten to add) but we haven’t really had any veg or produce from the ground behind our home and I miss that.
There is nothing more tasty, satisfying and relaxing than harvesting a few salad leaves, tomatoes and courgettes for your supper. Especially after the rigours of a long and stressful working day.
Our fence desperately needed replacing recently so on the back of that, and a bit of welcome good weather, we decided to revamp the garden and do things a bit differently this time. The mess and damage that the new fence inevitably made was the prefect excuse to tackle things differently and set it up in a new way.
We’ve tried things in certain spots, we’ve tried things in pots and we’ve tried a raised bed but my sister bought me Alys Fowler’s The Thrifty Gardener which I love. I then bought her Edible Garden book which has so inspired me and talks about exactly the kind of gardening I have been looking for and didn’t have a name for it……
It just makes so much sense.
We don’t want regimented lines of carrots really (although we have done that) and we don’t actually have time to manage that kind of garden anyway. Plus we don’t really want to see great swaths of precious tasty soil left with nothing growing in it when the weather is rubbish and you are stuck in doors looking out waiting for things to change.
So what is polyculture?
In the true sense of the word, it means ‘growing multiple crops in the same space’. The best example is how the native americans used to grow corn that had beans climbing up the stems and courgettes growing around it’s feet. The three plants develop and produce at different times so the space is very efficiently used to great benefit.
Perfect for a small victorian terrace garden in London.
Alys Fowler follows these principles but not to the letter and the result are stunning and very productive.
Aside from the sight of it being wonderful, the advantages are numerous and there are many publications that explain this.
So with that in mind, we have started out with a nearly blank canvas (I couldn’t bear to uproot my rhubarb and herbs etc so they stay put) and will see what we achieve be it successful or otherwise.
There will be some mistakes and I am already undecided about a few plant combinations but it’s very exciting and it has got me making lists, sketching out plans and scanning all my back issues of Country Living for more plant ideas.