Our front garden allotment

Last winter, I cut down some of the overgrown shrubs in our front garden and replaced them with an experiment: a front garden allotment in the shape of four raised beds, each a metre square.

The raised beds when they were newly constructed.
…and in the snow.

This is not the first time I have turned part of our front garden over to growing produce. In our old house, we built three raised beds on what had been a scrap of lawn out front. My logic is that if I am walking past the raised beds every day, I can keep a constant eye on what is growing, what needs weeding and what pests need removing.

My plan in our current garden is to rotate the beds, which have just two permanent fixtures in the shape of a Gertrude Jekyll rose in one and a Lady Hillingdon climber in another. This year the top left bed was a cut flower patch, with the pink scented Rosa Gertrude Jekyll, two varieties of sweet pea – Spencers Old Mixed and silver-on-plum Lisa Maria – cornflowers and ladybird poppies, both grown from seed from Great Dixter.

The top right bed started out as a ‘Three Sisters’ bed with sweetcorn, only one of which survived, up which I grew purple French beans ‘Cosse Violette’. Beside these I sowed some pumpkin and squash seeds which are now bearing fruit and then late in the day I poked some sunflower seeds into the ground, which have brought plenty of late summer cheeriness.

The lower right bed, closest to our front door was given over to garlic, which failed to bulk up, radishes, which were delicious and then I let them go to seed with pretty pink flowers, Cavolo Nero and rainbow chard. The Crocosmia which once grew under this bed poked its way up through all of these.

Finally, my lower bed was where I planted my trademark carrots and calendula. The pot marigolds (Calendula Officinalis) have done wonderfully in this south facing spot, flowering from late June onwards and still going strong. But with the carrots, I made the mistake of planting Arran Pilot first early potatoes behind them and they were soon overshadowed and grew too weak and spindly.

It is all a learning process. I am currently enjoying the overgrown abundance of pumpkins and sunflowers (not to mention bindweed!), which gives the garden a Cinderella meets Sleeping Beauty feel. But as winter approaches I will dig over the beds, ready to rotate my crops in the hope of an even more fruitful growing season in 2019.

In late September the front garden allotment has a fairytale feel.

13 Comments Add yours

  1. Same thing happened with my garlic…hmm looking good, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks – wonder where we went wrong…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I got one big bulb and the tops had turned brown. Not enough water, I think? Wasn’t it dry this summer in your garden?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes really dry that’s probably it.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Waffling on trying more garlic? The green onions were a complete disaster.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ali says:

    I love this type of gardening. Lovely experiments.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. janesmudgeegarden says:

    What a terrific idea to grow beans up corn like that. Might be one for me to try, although I’ve almost decided not to grow veg this summer owing to the feral behaviour whenever my back is turned.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would recommend Cosse Violette for their pretty purple flowers and was impressed by how naturally they grew up the corn!


      1. janesmudgeegarden says:

        Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. tonytomeo says:

    It is a good use of space, and something that I would have preferred to do when I lived in town. However, much of our produce was taken from the backyards by the so-called ‘gardeners’ who ‘maintained’ the ‘landscapes’ on adjacent properties. They were quite blatant about it. I doubt I could have gotten anything from such a garden in front.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow – fortunately our neighbours don’t help themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. tonytomeo says:

        The neighbors were not the problem. I do not mind sharing if they take only what they can use. The problem with the ‘gardeners’ is that they take everything! One of my neighbors and I once put quite a bit of effort into gathering what we needed for canning; all the pots, sugar, utensils, jars, lids, bands, and whatever we would need, only to find that all the peaches had been taken by the gardeners who were there earlier! Every summer afterward, we picked the peaches before we started collecting what we would need to can them.

        Liked by 1 person

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