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If you had the space ?

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default If you had the space ?

Post by Chilli-head on 26th May 2011, 4:39 pm

It has come around once more to that time of year when I start working out how to cram all the plants I have raised into my small garden veg plot and allotment. A couple of questions occured to me :

- If you had (or have) only a small vegetable plot, say a 5 square metre space, what would you squeeze in, and why ?

- On the other hand, if you had all the space you could want, what else would you grow that you don't at the moment ?

For me, the first would include small wigwams of climbing french beans (probably Cobra) and climbing mangetout Carouby de Mausanne, because they are both better fresh and, being climbers, take little space. A small block of sweetcorn - it can be planted close and is incomparable if freshly picked. A bush tomato or two in a pot or hanging basket, and I'd add some salad round the edge - probably Italian rocket because it grows like a weed but is so expensive !

If I had all the space I could wish for, I'd like to have a fig tree, and vines for winemaking.
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default Re: If you had the space ?

Post by Compostwoman on 26th May 2011, 5:12 pm


Good thread, C-H!

If I only had a small bed I would grow lots of salads and herbs, carrots and shallots ( better yield than onions!) and a wigwam of climbing french beans. I would use pots to grow cherry toms, a couple of dwarf beans and maybe a courgette plant and some mange tout. I would also grow salad potatoes in old compost bags ,

I am mentoring people who are doing just this in the Master Garden scheme and they are stunned by how much good food they are growing

If I had all the space I wish for...my word what a lot of land I would have!

I would grow enough wheat for flour and straw, hay and other crops for animal fodder, have an orchard for fruit and cider. A vineyard would be good.

I would keep sheep, a couple of cows and maybe a goat so I could make lots of dairy products.

I would obviously have chickens and pigs so I could eat eggs, chicken and pork.

I would grow lots of potatoes, beans, salads, and everything else I currently grow and have enough land to basically be mostly self sufficient in food and drink.

I think it's called farming

Very Happy Shocked Laughing

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Post by polgara on 26th May 2011, 5:35 pm

I do garden in a very small space, & really only grow things I know we will eat, onions, salads, carrots. One pot of broad beans & one pot of peas, both for salads. Small greenhouse with tomatos & gerkins & to bring on a lot of odds & ends, especially my tins of spring onions & radish. Also at the moment I am bringing on parsnips. I also have a tayberry & raspberry in pots. 3 buckets of potatos & a dustbin of potatos. OH grows runners in a big box

If I had all the space I wanted, & bearing in mind that neither OH or I are very healthy, I think I would rent out the land for LOCAL people to have lotties But keep a small chunk for ourselves. That way there would be a community of people working together. I would make sure there was a range of ages so the oldies would help the younger ones.


Last edited by polgara on 26th May 2011, 5:38 pm; edited 1 time in total

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default Re: If you had the space ?

Post by Dandelion on 26th May 2011, 5:36 pm

In a small space I would cram in a Spartan apple on a dwarf root stock (because they taste wonderful fresh but lousy from the shops IMO), tomatoes (no particular varieties - something new every year), beetroot because I like them baked, runner beans, lettuce and salad leaves in between, courgettes/marrows (because you can grow them on the edge of the bed and let them tumble away outside the bed) and squash.

If I had more space I would have a go at sweetcorn and maincrop potatoes - lots of varieties to try them out.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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default Re: If you had the space ?

Post by mr_sfstk8d on 26th May 2011, 5:40 pm

I believe CW covered my answers nicely. Will be having to figure how to put in late crops to put food on the table for seven in a few weeks here. Looking forward to the challenge, not so much the intense labour, lol.

And, yes, in the ideal world, I'd have all the space, and time, required to be completely, or nearly so, self sufficient. Don't suppose I could forge my own sewing needles on the farm, but other than certain durable goods, I'd love to be able to make all of the consumable on site. Wonder how I'd go about lime for plastering? Living well indland, I don't believe there's much supply of seashells for firing, lol.
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default Re: If you had the space ?

Post by Compostwoman on 26th May 2011, 8:19 pm

You use Limestone, Mr S Laughing

Lots of lime kilns around here - basically a cliff, with a big hole bored down, brick lined, so you have a wood charge at the bottom then fill up the hole, and light it. When the limestone is cooked and the fire goes out, you shovel ( well get minions to do it, as it is so corrosive) it out and use it for whatever.

If you can get "Edwardian Farm" over there, there is a good ep, I think it was Ep 2? about it...

But I digress.

I would have all sorts of soft fruit beds as well - a proper cage and a lot of proper, separate areas for different things. AND a wood - a really old one, full of ancient trees and a river running through it all, with enough drop so I could have a water turbine. AND a hill, high enough to be clear of the trees so I could have a decent wind turbine.

And a proper coppice, with Sweet Chestnut ( doesn't grow well here !) as well as Hazel, in sensible coupes rather than the random arrangement we have inherited! And Walnut trees. So I would have lots of nuts

And I would plant up new stuff on Permaculture principles and have a Forest Garden

Also lots of lovely barns and stables and byres , to use as workshops and rent out to craftspeople and wood workers. And get lots of WOOFers to come and help. And spare land to let people have small allotment spaces etc

And a huge outdoor classroom so I could truly have an Environment Centre, where I could run courses and teach stuff and have all kinds of fun.

Am going to stop now, as it is actually making me feel a bit sad, that I will never get to do all these things

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default Re: If you had the space ?

Post by Hairyloon on 26th May 2011, 11:49 pm

Chilli-head wrote:- If you had (or have) only a small vegetable plot, say a 5 square metre space, what would you squeeze in, and why ?
A shed.
- On the other hand, if you had all the space you could want, what else would you grow that you don't at the moment ?
A bigger shed?
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default Re: If you had the space ?

Post by Compostwoman on 27th May 2011, 9:02 am


I would have a bigger polytunnel, as well.....

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default Re: If you had the space ?

Post by Sparhawk on 27th May 2011, 9:29 am

Compostwoman wrote: have an orchard for fruit and cider.

Oh cool Cool you can grow cider! I knew I was right...

If I had a small plot I would make it into a raised bed & I would seriously look at what crops I am growing & try to work in crops to extend the growing season for as long as possible which I am doing, & not grow to many slower growing items.

I would be trying to create a dismantleable small "poly tunnel" arrangement to go over the top in the winter, which I have done & I would look at as many large planters & tyre stacks I could put in for spudz, peas, fruit bushes, herbs, rhubarb, strawberries.

I would also try to look at watering without using tap water, as the way ahead for water companies is water meters.

It is early days but seem to be on target to grow more than I have before...

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default Re: If you had the space ?

Post by Chilli-head on 27th May 2011, 3:49 pm

What a lot of interesting ideas. CW, you obviously have higher ambitions (and more energy) than me !

I like the idea of growing some grain crops though, at least just to say I've tried it. I did try growing grain Amaranth one year, got about a pound or too from a square metre. Trouble is what to do with it; it gave most things an overly earthy taste and a gritty texture. Even the birds weren't impressed !

I also like the idea of an orchard. I have a Charles Ross apple tree, which when the conditions are right, produces a lot of apples which don't keep too well - I put them in a strong freezer bag and beat them with the mallet to crush, then pressed them with a press made for homemade wine (take care if you try this - my press, although meant for grapes, was made by my father from a very sturdy grade of stainless steel). It was a delicious luxury !

If I had space for the orchard of course, I would have space to put some hives amongst it ... homebrewed cyser

I like Pol's thoughtful idea of using it as allotments; I would hope you would be rewarded with plenty of fresh produce !
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