When we bought our derelict house and overgrown garden in August 2013 we had no idea of the amount of land we had, and definitely didn’t realise that we had at least 20ft of space at the side of the house!
Once we started stripping back the overgrowth and revealed this bonus space, we immediately started planning a fruit garden in this area, something we thought we wouldn’t have room for! There had been a giant clematis (at least 20 years old) several self-set cherry trees and countless other shrubs and brambles growing in this area, so we had to put a lot of work into digging the ground over to make it ready for planting, with help from my sister, my nieces, and then Mum and her husband Neil! The old apple tree next to this patch of ground was being propped up by an elder ‘tree’ so when we took this down, we improvised and made the branch a ‘crutch’ to keep it aloft! Next came the planting:
- Pink Gooseberries
- Blackberries, both cultivated and a few wild brambles we left in place!
- Rhubarb (yes I know it’s not strictly a fruit but I wanted it in the fruit garden!) We wanted something to define this area, and after some searching we managed to ‘reclaim’ some fencing that we’d once used as part of a video set at work! We preserved and painted the panels before erecting them around the garden – by making two entrances to the area, we JUST had enough fencing to go round! One year on, and we can’t believe what a fantastic harvest we’ve had from the fruit garden this summer! Over 10 kilos of strawberries, 2 kilos of blackcurrants, constant pickings of tayberries and loganberries, with raspberries and blackberries just about to begin fruiting now! We had to net the areas over the strawberries to protect them from birds (including our chickens) and next year we’ve decided we’re going to invest in a good quality fruit cage, to really take advantage of the harvest! I’m still learning about pruning and maintaining all the different fruits that we have growing in the garden, but I do find that Carol Klein’s book is essential reading, and this blog post is really handy too!