New Herb Garden – Hammer and Sickle

Part of the point of moving house was to be able to grow herbs in my own garden and not need an allotment.  Our new house has a beautiful established garden with many shrubs, these beautiful trees:

Hawthorn and Birch from Office window

A 20 foot plus Hawthorn! and a weeping birch

and a lawn.

Now I’m not a fan of lawns because of the maintenance and I don’t want to get so sucked into suburban life that I add to the lawn mower noise of a Summer weekend.  To be fair, this is a rough lawn with many wild flowers including, in succession, violet, self-heal, white clover, medick, perennial cinquefoil and of course plantain and buttercup.  Many will be valuable crops in due course.

So I will keep some of the lawn, cutting it periodically with a sickle.

To the news then – I have made first tentative efforts at a raised bed and wanted to record it here.  Nothing heroic but I have a camera on my phone!

I bought a 1 square metre planter frame from Primrose.  This is where the hammer comes in.  A camping mallet really, to tap together the pieces of the frame which went like this:

Raised Bed 1

Raised Bed 1

Now to dig up the lawn.  I marked out the edge with a spade, memories of cutting turves in the 1970s to top drystone walls (dykes in Scotland) . However, instead of cutting careful squares of turf, as I was going to mash up and bury them, I scraped them out with what I call a mattock and everyone else a trenching hoe*, (more memories of a study tour

Raised Bed 2

Raised Bed 2 – mattock on left

to Sri Lanka in 1979 where these were used when I “helped” to build a very serviceable hillside road outside Kandy).

[* Trenching hoe £15 from Stanton’s DIY, Leeds]

Whilst loosening the soil with the mattock I thought I had found the Heworth equivalent of the Staffordshire hoard.  But no – not an Anglo-Saxon helmet, more a 70s York hippie night-light holder:

Heworth Hoard

The Heworth Hippie Hoard

So, buried some of the turf (why is there always some left over?) and topped with well rotted compost inherited with the garden and finally some even more soil-like compost from my former backyard in Leeds:

Raised Bed 3

Raised Bed 3

Raised Bed 4

Raised Bed 4

So-phase 1 of raised bed 1. Now to fetch my plants from across the Tadcaster divide.

Watch this space….


About donaldpurves

Traditional Herbalist since 1989, qualified originally with National Institute of Medical Herbalists (Tutorial Course, School of Herbal Medicine/Phytotherapy), joined Unified Register of Herbal Practitioners in 2011. University lecturer in Herbal Medicine since 2005. Born and brought up in the Scottish Borders. Higher Education at University of York (Biology 1980) and Scottish School of Herbal Medicine (MSc Herbal Medicine 2003). Married to Rukshana Afia, an artist working with drawing, textiles and ceramics. Passionate about environmental, economic and social justice.
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2 Responses to New Herb Garden – Hammer and Sickle

  1. Erica Hollis says:

    sounds a lot like what I’m doing here in Fife but, having moved from a very large garden not an allotment, I had to pot up my herbs to bring them and now rushing to make the beds and plant them out before winter!

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