This post will share the design proposal for my garden design. The design aims to improve the food production areas in my garden and focuses on five key functions. As detailed in a previous post, they are; food production, attracting beneficial insects, water capture and sustainable usage, soil improvement and places to sit and enjoy the garden.
Food production – A lot of time has been spent on planning and developing new productive food growing spaces in the garden. I have added fruit trees and perennial crops to many of the beds. This aims to increase yields over the coming years with the minimal work possible. I have considered placements of annual crops for this summer, looking at companion planting and guilds of plants. I have added buckets and pots of food crops, placed near to the house to get lots of attention for watering and weeding and to make the most of the south-facing suntrap. I have considered what food we want to eat and planted accordingly. I have planned a polytunnel to grow more tender crops and to increase the season in which I can grow food.
Attracting beneficial insects – Flowers and herbs are interplanted throughout the garden. I have included lots of multi-use plants that are good for insects, are good companion plants, have medicinal properties, are edible and are attractive. I have included lots of self-seeding plants and will let them increase naturally in my garden over the years. I have ponds, wild areas and a diversity of planting, hoping to create a balanced and natural environment that is welcoming to insect life.
Water capture and storage – I have added water capture systems on the tool shed and the chicken shed. The chicken shed water tank will overflow to keep the pond topped up and provide water for a drip feed irrigation system into one of the vegetable beds. I have added a second tank to store water collected off the conservatory roof. I have fixed the guttering and added a water-butt to the greenhouse. I have planned a second pond to the south of the greenhouse to reflect light and heat into it.
Soil improvement – I have created a sectional chicken run that can be formed in many arrangements, fitting behind the chicken shed or over the raised beds. This will be used for chicken tractoring on a small-scale. This can also be used in the wilder areas of my garden in the future to bring more of the garden into productive use. I have been mulching the beds with chicken bedding and manure. I am experimenting with sheet mulching. I am composting all household food scraps and garden waste. I am adopting a no-dig approach in the garden. I am using green manures to retain cover on all available soils.
Places to sit and enjoy the garden. – I have plans to move the table and chairs onto the lawn, possibly onto a hard-surface eventually. This position will make the most of the evening sun in my garden. I would like to get hold of a second table and chairs for the terrace for morning coffee. We have some seating made out of chainsaw carved timber under the apple tree around a fire pit. I intend to tidy up this area and enjoy sitting here during the warmer months. The edges of the raised beds make good places to perch and watch the chickens or observe the changes occurring in the garden.
The design – The full garden design is on the image on the left hand side of the paper. Changes made as a result of carrying out the design process are shown in red. The main food production area is shown at an increased scale on the right.