I admit to being quite slow in getting the garden going this year. Late frosts (for SE England!) followed by lots and lots of wetness mean that the ground is claggy and horrible to deal with.
I have also been doing some reading on no-dig or minimal dig gardening and like the sound of that! It seems like you need to pile on the compost and manure and keep the ground covered when not in use. For delicate seedlings that might get swallowed by weeds, start them in pots/greenhouse and plant them out when a bit bigger and able to compete against the weeds (and fight off slugs in my garden). However, the example I read was from California where the weather and growing season is somewhat different to SE England. Any of you have any local examples?
I also like the sound of raised beds, but just not the effort in constructing them! Part of my veg bed slopes and would actually really benefit from me putting in raised beds to level it off. Perhaps I will work on that this autumn!
I have created some quasi deep-bed/raised bed with half rotten sticks underneath for the strawberries. I have also half-burried milk bottles with holes in so will water into the milk bottle and hopefully that will go straight to the roots of the strawberries.
Then at the back of the garden next to the fence – where the soil is really yummy and fertile thanks to leaf drop from the trees above and (I think) years of compost being dumped there – I have pulled and dug out the nettles (or as much as I can reach of them), replanted the bulbs in the flower beds and wildflower front garden and covered the lot with cardboard boxes. First spuds are chitting and they will be heading for that wonderfully rich bed. Long term though, I think it could be good for raspberries. I think there is a hedgehog run through the back there from our neighbours garden, so will need to keep that open!
The kids have said they really want to be involved in the veg growing this year (not just the eating!!). Monkey was out there today helping me cut up pruned branches to go into the wood compost and both helped to create the strawberry beds. Young Chimp is so determined not to get left out of things and to really take part properly.
I have started tomatoes, aubergines and peppers indoors, they sit on my windowsill next to my computer and I try to leave them alone to grow. Tomatoes are up, first aubergine peaking its head up but nothing on the peppers, yet – though they went in a few days after the others. Love the excitement of seeing a small plant emerge from the soil… knowing that in a few months it will be feeding us!
Wildflowers planted from the collected seed last autumn are doing really well. Am planting some out early and will leave others to plant out later into gaps and once the weather really warms up. They should all be big enough to avoid the slugs. Sadly lovely purple flowers were murdered by the heavy frosts we had this year (the heaviest we have experienced in 4 winters in the SE). Will need to sow more of them – just spotted some seed heads on my desk!
Would love to hear how your garden is growing!