The master plan

An evening spent with a ruler and the boys’ paint set, and this is what you get: a high quality rendition of the world’s greatest allotment…

Of course, it looks an awful lot better in the flesh. It’s just the scanner’s a bit dodgy so you can’t see the lovely brushwork and fine draftsmanship.

You’re going to have to trust me on that one.

Anyway, enough of the picture, let’s talk about the plan. The plot, as regular readers will both know, is not currently quite as structured or carefully laid out as a first time visitor might think when looking at the above.

In fact there are currently no clearly-marked beds to speak of, only a few strange-shaped holes in the grass that look reasonably man-made. Clearly some work will be required to get it looking like the piccie, but every journey starts with a single step, blah blah blah.

I’ve gone for a fairly straightforward layout; lots of long thin beds that should allow me to access all the veggies without having to clamber over all the soil. And to stop it getting too boring and linear I threw in a few triangular beds at the western end of the plot (although I fear they might be a bit of a faff to measure out and dig).

I’m thinking that once I’ve dug the beds I’ll edge them with boarding to give them a nice clear border, and if I put down weed matting and woodchip over the paths then that should also remove the need to cut the grass, thus lowering the maintenance levels.

It may have an added bonus of deterring slugs and snails. The slimy buggers don’t seem to like the raised beds at the bottom of the garden and I’m hoping that’s at least in part because of the woodchip that surrounds them.

As well as the layout of the beds I’ve also decided what to plant in them. Obviously you can see the fruit and veg very clearly in the delightful botanical illustration above, so you don’t really need me to explain what’s going where, but for those of you who perhaps have dodgy eyes or poor quality monitors, I shall humour you.

Along the Northern border I’ll be planting raspberries and blackberries. That’s the shadier side of the plot and they should be a bit happier than most things being slightly out of the sun.

On the opposite edge are potatoes (roasting and new) and butternut squashes. In the middle, from left to right, are onions, carrots, (more) squashes – Uchiki Kuri this time – and then leeks and parsnips.

I’ve gone for a bit of height in the nifty triangular beds, and there we’ve got (clockwide from left) sweetcorn, borlotti beans, globe artichokes and jerusalem artichokes. Apparently they make you parp.

In theory I should have a good mix of veggies that are either far too big for the back garden (I’m looking at you, Uchiki Kuri) or nice and low maintenance so can cope with being ignored for days on end; the root vegetables should be tough enough to handle the neglect coming their way.

Closer to home the back garden will have some of the more high maintenance specimens, such as broad beans (which always get covered in black fly) and salad, which we eat pretty much every day.

But enough of the chit chat. Time to get the paints out and work on the plan for the bottom of the garden…