Following up from my analysis of where my garden needs some redesigning, one part of the solution was to plant up half of the raised beds as a forest-type garden; or given the size of the space, in a forest-garden-influenced style. The beds are the ones along the left-hand (western) fence in the photo below. I’ll be keeping the other two beds for annuals.
So this is what I’ve come up with:
South-west bed (the long one along the fence in the above photo):
- Fig at back. Ideally it would be trained as a fan along the fence, but that may be more effort than I have available in terms of management and maintenance. I may instead just prune it to come forwards from the fence rather than backwards, but let it grow (a bit?) outwards. I’ll need to read up a bit more about it before the spring
- Herbaceous perennials: Daubenton’s Kale, Good King Henry, possibly also planting some (non-perennial, but may self-seed) chard through the ground cover.
- Ground cover: strawberries (alpine and other), sorrel, hopefully periwinkle if I can get hold of a plant.
- Grape vine (again) at the back, with extensive manual anti-snail defences. To be trained up fence above the herbs.
- Herbaceous perennials: bay, fennel, possibly others next year.
- Ground cover: oregano and thyme. The oregano should do much better in the ground than it is doing in pots. Alpine strawberries, as I got a huge load of runners the other week. Rocket (not perennial, but self-seeds).
North-west bed (the one just by the herbs):
There should be room for next year’s tomatoes in pots between the two beds against the fence, and then south of the south-west bed, where they’ve been this year.
I’ve read that you can grow asparagus through ground cover as a herbaceous perennial, which if it’s true I may try the year after next. (I like asparagus, but the last time I grew it my feeling was that it took up quite a lot of space, which you couldn’t use for anything else the rest of the year, for a very small crop.) I’d also like to investigate other perennial salad leaves, but for now that is enough to get started.
I’ve ordered my various bare-root trees/shrubs from Martin Crawford’s Agroforestry Research Trust, so am looking forward to their arrival in December!