I have long dallied with growing food. I dream of a beautiful and productive plot, grown along permaculture principles, where we can grow all our favourite fruit and vegetables. Since I have either had courtyard gardens or roof terraces up until now, my growing experience has necessarily been limited to small-scale containers. The results have been frustratingly variable.
With our new focus on vegetables as the mainstay of our diet, my interest in growing food has only increased and I have decided that now is the time to grasp the mettle.
Beyond the pub is a patch of rough land that is just crying out to be rescued and made into something wonderful. When I say rough, I mean rough. We are in slate-world and our plot is on hardcore. It has had an amount of soil dumped on it at some point, as there is a lot growing already. You know the kind of thing. Brambles, nettles, self-seeded trees, buddleia ...it's not all bad as there are also lovely wild flowers like aquilegia and poppies and some wild garlic. There may even be a couple of wild currant bushes under the overgrown shrubs.
The plot also houses rubble, abandoned doors, windows, baths and goodness knows what else is lurking under the brambles. There's rumour of an old caravan axle underneath the biggest pile of rubble. The stream bank is a tad unstable, there's a heavily cabled telegraph pole, an inconsiderately placed stand of hazel trees to the south and a water pumping station to the west.
Did I mention the Japanese Knotweed?
So the plot has issues and as plans go, it's going to be a challenge. There is also a further 'thing'. We have no money to achieve this goal. Not a bean. This is one of my reasons for wanting to do this now. The price of fresh food is soaring and unlikely to change. Growing our own will really help with our food bill.
So I am very pleased to announce that the Womble Garden Challenge has been born. We shall do all the work ourselves, we shall construct what we need from things that are begged, exchanged, blagged, found and taken home or absolutely as cheap as chips as and when we have a few pennies to spare or someone gives me a gardening voucher for Christmas. We shall grow from seed and propagate. It will be an evolving garden as all good gardens should be.
Doesn't that sound like fun? I shall report on progress as we go along but as a starting point, here is the plot itself in all it's overgrown glory, together with a ground plan. You can even play spot the collie!
Wish me luck!