Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Cottontails Kitchen Garden

The last few days have been warmer and I have decided the time has come to don one of these...

... and start work on a new project - the Cottontails Kitchen Garden.

The two ranges I am particularly keen to develop at Cottontails are the children's gardening and cooking departments, and I thought a really nice way to do this would be to set up a little kitchen garden and use some of the toys and equipment I sell at Cottontails to grow, harvest and then cook with the fruit, vegetables and herbs. I will take pictures and make little videos along the way.

(It sounds simple doesn't it, but I can see a fair bit of mud, hard work and an aching back ahead - and I will tell you now I am a complete novice at all this.)

The area I have allocated for this is behind the house, and is currently grass and 'rubbley' earth. Here are a few photos.

The photos make the ground look deceptively prepared but as this close up of Delilah the cat shows, it is far from rich and ready.

The first job is to create some vegetable bed areas so - limited knowledge here - I think I have to mark out some beds, take up some turf and turn over the earth. Then add some earth enriching substance like manure? Does this sound right?

Sadly at Cottontails we do not sell heavy duty digging machinery or manure, so I will have to buy this in.

So, stage one: to draw a plan then hire something called a 'Rugged Tiller' this weekend. I will share the results with you soon - assuming of course that they are not too humiliating. It can't be that difficult, right?

Finally, one of my inspirations for all this is my dad, who has created an amazing vegetable garden. This picture, taken last summer, is just one of his herb gardens. You can just about make out who is hiding in the center nibbling the parsley - I think he thought he was in heaven!

Finally, I know some keen gardeners & self sufficiency folk read this blog, so any advice would be most welcome :-)


Sue said...

I prefer raised beds myself, even if they are only one board high, then you can lightly dig into the earth below and top up with a layer of manure and topsoil (or a topsoil/compost mix).

Much easier and as you never walk on the soil it doesn't get compacted and remains easy to work (especially for children with little tools).

Good luck with it whichever methods you choose, it will be worth it for some fresh from the garden salad crops.

Sue xx

Charlotte said...

Ah! Sounds nice - I like the phrase 'lightly dig'.

Shall Google raised beds...


Tamsin said...

That looks a lovely space for a veg patch. Try asking Humphrey about the 'manure', rabbit poop is excellent. Just bury it in a hole/trench when you do your digging and it will rot in nicely. Squash and beans particularly like it. It's only fair he contributes as I bet he helps with the eating afterwards!

You might want to google 'square foot gardening' for one option on how to plan planting.

Isla B Baby said...

What a great idea! My children this weekend planted potatoes and radishes, I can not take any credit for this as my next door neighbour very kindly decided to get the girls going with some vegetables of their own after they spent some time in her garden asking her 20 questions about what she was planting.
I love my little garden but don't lay any claim to be a good gardener as I grew up in a beautiful old house that had the sea and the beach as a garden to play so I never did learn much about planing anything other than the odd pot of cress or parsley!
Shall await more news of your project x

Sarah said...

Oh I love planting veg! Theres such a great sense of achievement growing and planting your own and they taste fantastic!

We dig our chickens manure into the earth. You can buy bags of farmyard manure from the big diy stores though.

Runner beans are very easy to grow and tomatoes straight off the vine taste like heaven!

Anyway.....I'd better go now!

P.s thanks for your comment on my blog ;)

Hugs, Sarah x

Christina said...

LoL, I love the bunny ears peeping thru the parsley. You got it right, till the earth, add a little richness (manure) and get to planting. I am sure you will have a fabulous garden.

Crafty Green Poet said...

good luck with your garden and enjoy it too!

Pom Pom said...

I look forward to watching the progress of the Cottontails garden. Will Humphrey be allowed to munch?

Anonymous said...

How exciting! I wish you the best of luck.

Rabbits' Guy said...

We have raised beds - neater, easier to work in, slugs stay out!

Work in some amending stuff like everyone said. Find a corner and compostt all your kitchen veggie scraps and toss that in next fall and work it up a bit. You'll have great soil.

I need to learn how to grow bunnies like that ... NO .. wait .. I did not mean that!