Ryan’s Farm – Taking Control

Taking Control

I’ve wanted some land to grow on for years – growing up in the rolling agricultural hills of Devon, growing our own fruit and veg and raising poultry, to moving into Nottingham in 2006 and ending up with at most a concrete back garden has been a bit of a shock!

Since then I have been pining for the countryside, although when I did move back for a year about 6 years ago, I couldn’t wait to get back to the midlands. Cruel irony there somewhere. Finally we have a happy medium, our own home in the suburbs, a few minutes walk from open countryside but with the amenities of the city not far away.

Waffling over – the plot was in pretty good condition when I took it, bare soil that had been recently rotavated, a pile of well rotted compost at the front and clear of weeds. There were a few issues – a pane of glass missing from the greenhouse and a trench of ceramic rubble that has been there for 10 years or more; no one seems to know why it was put there, and the tenant before me just hid it under a polytunnel. I have big plans for that area of the plot, so the trash has got to be dug out. Aside from that, the main issue is just that the soil has been left for some time and has baked hard. It all needs a good dig, and some nice organic stuff added to give it some life and make it a little more hospitable.

So this is where we begin – mark out where I want the beds to be, shovel in a load of compost and dig it in – I still have time before most things are going to be planted out. With the pandemic there are lots of delays getting supplies so I am doing what I can with what I have.

So starting off we have the basic plan – 7 growing beds; I’ll explain the plan for the other areas at a later date, but I don’t want to get too much in the ground right away or it will all be ready at once and most will be wasted.

The basic plan – 7 beds to give plenty of space for moving and harvesting

Beds 1 – 5 will be bordered by a timber frame to make them out easily and because I like how they look. Beds 6 and 7 are more open patches of cultivated earth that I will just put rows into.

One bed has been given a temporary frame with timber I had available, the others are just marked with string for now

So, I’ve maked out beds 2-7 with string and have put the frame around bed 2 using some floorboards I had destined for the kindling pile. This is a temporary frame as I’d rather use decking boards, purely for the aesthetics, and the fact that they are treated for intense use so should last a while longer. I’ve also begun digging in the compost to give the beds a little more life, although these front beds are actually pretty good already. 6 and 7 are a different proposition…

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