Bed Plan – The Lower Beds (484)
by Max Akroyd
Unsurprisingly, the Lower Beds are located down the hill from the Upper Beds and are almost identical in size.
There is a surprise in store for the unwary here, though, in the form of a big, pink pig whose domain presently occupies half this area. She’s doing a great job bringing things under control and the proximity of the Lower Beds to the hangar means she can wander off for a well-earned sleep indoors whenever she pleases… Hopefully her work will be done by the end of March and she can be moved – along with a couple of new piglet companions – to another area of the field which will benefit from her attentions.
Other than the pannage, the Lower Beds are completely under wraps at present with long strips of plastic mulch covering the growing areas. I may keep them this way, and plant the brassicas through the plastic mulch. This will keep the weeds away but do nothing for the plastic mulch itself in tems of re-use. Anyway, this is the plan (such as it is):
The brassicas in question will be the big, long-standing ones: brocolli, brussels sprouts, calabrese, kales and cauliflowers. Due to their generous cropping potential, often when nothing else is on offer vegetable-wise, these plants tend to get five star treatment from seed to plate. To develop their root systems and let them get big enough to survive the slugs, I tend to pot them on three, even four, times into successively bigger pots before finally planting them out.
Even then success isn’t assured. Last year our eight year old and I planted out maybe forty such fine brassica specimens: the next day they were almost gone, pecked to stumps by pigeons. A salutary experience which, given that I’m not licensed to use a gun, demanded a (cheap) solution… it came in the form of two garden canes joined together with a short section of old hose pipe. When planted in the ground in numbers these form a very satisfactory framework over which to drape that horrible tangly plastic mesh which acts to keep off those avian predators.
Finally, another carefully raised crop makes its first of quite a few appearances across the garden: sweetcorn. I try and reduce the chance of cross-pollination by planting each variety at the greatest distance possible from another… although it has to be said there are huge maize fields in the vicinity of Kervéguen, so I’m not sure it’s a worthwhile effort.