With the credit crunch still looming large and space of such a premium these days more and more people are looking to find room to grow their own fruit, veg and herbs. Now not all of us have gardens that can accommodate a large vegetable patch, so we have to look at ways we can shoe-horn crops into our gardens.
Many small gardens have the majority of the space dedicated to the green stuff…….lawns. I am only a fan of lawns if you have enough space for it to be worthwhile, so why not use the space for growing veg. There are a few ways you can go about this, firstly what is called the no-dig method.
Build raised beds right on top of the lawn using either untreated sleepers or chunky timber. These should be about 300mm high and as big as you can afford them to be (ideally 1.5m by 3m or more) then add a good layer of well rotted farm yard manure to the bottom and cover with a thick layer of newspaper and give it a good soak then fill it up with good top soil or compost. The paper and manure all rots down adding nutrients and attracting worms that will work the soil for you, meaning you don’t have to dig!! Turf is full of nitrogen when it rots down and this make great plant food promoting leafy growth so is ideal for salad crops and leafy veg like spinach and chard.
You can also buy instant raised vegetable garden kits, they are dead easy to install and only take a few minutes to set up. Fill them up with compost and off you grow!
The other option is to strip the turf off and double dig the area adding plenty of manure. I would dig a trench a spade deep add manure to the bottom and then back fill mixing in the manure as you go. This is more work and you also will most probably disturb dormant weed seeds, so be prepared for some weeding over the coming season.