Designing an edible flower garden: Surveying the space

So, here it is.  My current little plot of land.  And yes, it’s very little but I am happy with that.  From past failure experience  I’ve learnt that whatever I am growing needs to be outside of my front door and be a manageable size.  Will and I used to have an allotment, which was enormous and about a mile away.  We didn’t make it there enough to keep it under control.  We didn’t design it well enough that it controlled itself.  In short, we paid no attention to zoning, appropriate scale or what we were capable of.  Frustration and loss of confidence followed, so for me, this little bit of space is enough right now.

A little bit of context.  My housemate Ben and I moved into this house last autumn.  I say housemate – he’s actually now my landlord as he owns the place.  Many of the pots that you see in the video were brought from our previous roof garden.  Everything in the long raised bed has been there since we moved in, we haven’t done anything to it.

Since last autumn, I have been mapping the sectors in this little area.  The house runs north-south so the sun rises behind it, is shining pretty much down the length of the garden at midday and moves around so that the front of the house is in full sun in the evening.  As spring has progressed, we have been getting more and more sun at the north end of the house (where the wood pile is).  That end is definitely the shady, sunless area.  What that means is that apart from that area, all of the potential growing spots get a good amount of sun each day and there are lots of white walls around to soak up the heat and release it back to the plants as the day cools.

Wind tends to come from the south west.  This is the prevailing wind in this area, but I have also tested this theory by watching where the smoke from our woodburner ends up.  Not in our garden is the answer, which means it must be coming from the west and blowing east.  Because there’s a bit of space in front of the house, wind tends to get all caught up between the houses and swirl around a little bit, but it isn’t a major limiting factor.

The raised bed in front of the house is full of plants that I don’t know the name of (apart from the roses, which I know are roses but not what kind of roses).  They’re getting quite large now and seem to look after themselves pretty well.  As spring has progressed we have seen bluebells and tulips come up, as well as daffodils, but they have suffered pretty badly from Django attack so haven’t flowered.

Ahh, Django…  Django is next door’s cat.  He’s a fascinating individual with a full schedule which alas sometimes features eating plants.  There are other cats that patrol this area too.  There’s one called Not-Jack-White who looks very like a white cat that was called Jack White, and there’s a Jack Black as well.  And there’s one little oriental looking chap who is simply called ‘the vole catcher’ for reasons which should be obvious.  So, cats shitting and eating plants have to be taken into consideration too.

It’s not just cats that use this little space, people do too.  We live right next to a set of lock ups and there are people coming and going pretty regularly.  There’s no way of getting a car through to the lock ups so we don’t have to worry about that, but people do come in and out carrying sofas and the like so this has to be borne in mind.

So that’s the space surveyed.  Next post – surveying the people…

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One thought on “Designing an edible flower garden: Surveying the space

  1. […] micro-zone two is the area with the wood store in it  (have a look at a tour of my garden if you’ve not been following the other posts). It’s pretty dark and not much use for […]

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