I’ve mentioned it a couple of times on the blog, but not that often because if I am honest it all seems a little unreal – we’re getting a garden. And that’s happening pretty soon.
My wife and I have lived in the suburbs of Geneva for three years now. In that time we’ve occupied an eighth storey apartment with an amazing roof terrace. In fact, the roof terrace is what made us take the flat. The view is spectacular; you can see three countries, Lake Leman and the Alps. We’ve had 11 people pitch tents on it and camp. We’ve also grown a lot of vegetables and spent some amazing, lazy days chilling out in the sun.
But let’s be honest; 90 m2 of roof terrace with those views doesn’t come cheap. So we started to look around, and see what we could get in the area for a similar price. Eventually, we found the solution in the form of a rather expensive hole in the ground [read: building plot].
We’re moving out of the city, and into the countryside.
Over the course of the last year, we’ve seen our future house go from the hole in the ground, to fully fledged building site. It now has windows, floors and we hope that soon (given that it is winter) it’ll also have a roof. But the best thing about the build, for me, is what surrounds the house – 375 m2 of the garden. Actual (stick a carrot in the ground and not a pot) garden.
I can’t wait!
We went to the site yesterday, just to check on work, and we are beginning to get a better idea of the space we’ll have. With that in mind, I’ve got to start thinking about what I am going to grow, and how. This time will be a great opportunity to do a bit of research into ways of using the space. I’ve already started swotting up on two major ideas I want to use in the garden – Square Foot Gardening and Companion Planting.
Square Foot Gardening is a technique that was popularised in the 1980s, but has been around for ages. The idea is that you divide your plot into squares, and then intensively plant within those ‘square foot’ sized spaces. Large plants like courgettes or squashes will only have one plant per square. Smaller things, like carrots or beetroots, will have more. In the end, you create a small but intensive little garden.
This idea appeals to me because I think I am going to be overwhelmed with the space available to me. This is going to be the biggest garden we’ve ever had, and I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew. Growing a Square Foot Garden for the first year may well be the thing that helps me learn more about what I can take on, whilst studying and having a job.
I also want to investigate Companion Planting a little more. Now, my basic understanding is that plants compliment the growing of others… Marigolds by bean plants mean less pests on your Runners and Borlotti; pollinators are attracted to flowers strategically placed near your tomatoes. But it seems that it is an idea that could fit with Square Foot Gardening nicely – maximising space, but also providing a nice habitat for pollinators and other garden creatures (after all a garden isn’t just for you…).
Anyway, that’s what I’m off to do this weekend – read some books, check out some blogs and learn some stuff. Well, to be honest, the snow is falling as I’m writing this, so it’s definitely not a gardening weekend! We’ll be moving in about three months. I’d like to have a plan in place by then, so I can hit the ground running and make the 2017 season the most productive I’ve ever had.