How about this for another cracking garden idea, seen on one of the Manchester Open Gardens days we visited earlier this month. We’d ‘done’ the Heatons and Didsbury in previous years, but not the Levenshulme / Burgage ones, hence M19’s turn. Growing your own veg and herbs is a surefire way to stay sane in this hectic world of ours. It’s not just me who feels a sense of calm & connectivity when digging around in the earth, and the sense of achievement is most definitely magnified when you can eat or cook with what you grow.
We’ve all seen planters made from scaffolding planks or pieces of treated timber, a little like these…The issue with raised timber beds is that eventually the damp soil and moisture attacks the softwood and decays it from the inside out. I know, I know, scaff planks are cheap enough but as someone currently replacing a whole load of rotten sleepers forming a raised bed, it really is a pain in the muddy bum when it needs to be done. Constantly watering thirsty veg means wet soil, and wet soil means that unless you thoroughly line the inside of the timbers with plastic membrane, the frames won’t last. The owners of this garden in Burgage, Victor and Mary, are cleverly using hollow concrete blocks, usually around £3-4 each at builders merchants, to create a really simple but effective planter four blocks wide and six blocks long. Not only is it big enough for lots of veg to be spaced out inside the soil filled inner, but the on-edge blocks provide perfect impermeable planting holes for fast spreading herbs like mint, pocket loving fruit such as strawberries, individual lettuces and other small crop items. Concrete doesn’t leach or soak up water either, meaning all those little pockets around the edge won’t need constant watering in dry weeks, and excess water will drain out of the bases on wet weekends. Result!
I’d seen them before on Pinterest but mostly stacked up and it’s always totally different and more inspiring seeing something in the flesh. Or should that be, the leaf? If the pale grey doesn’t suit your garden, a lick of darker paint would ensure the whole structure blends more with a garden setting. And let’s face it, those blocks are weighty so a structure it really is.
Or maybe leave them raw and unfinished, should industrial be your vibe. Or should your reno garden have long been a building site and you’re used to bricks scattered about the place. Like us here.We’re making similar veg beds in the Moregeous garden using reclaimed brick left over from the build, but there will be no pockets.
I now have lettuce pocket envy. Now I’m wondering how I too can have lettuce pockets.
How about you… inspired?