Saturday, 18 February 2017

One done...then more....

It has been warm spring weather these last few days, so Lester has been on the move with the Courtyard Project.
The first raised bed made, and it is to go here.....
And then he made some more...

And then we spent ages moving them about to see what were the best positions to put them in.

Eventually the job was done.
It took a lot of fiddling around to make it look like they were randomly placed.

They tuck in nicely to that part of the Courtyard, and there is still room for the tractor and van to have their turning circles, and be driven out of the back gates.
Two or three of the raised beds are going to have hats on them so they will become mini greenhouses because we have not got the poly yet and we need somewhere to start the seeds.
I thought that the beds would dominate the Courtyard, but it feels like the Courtyard itself has stretched itself to accommodate them.
So we have made a start on the Market Garden Project. It feels a long way to go before we are ready to sell to the public, but it is comforting to know that we shall have a good amount of vegetable produce for ourselves, which is something we have been lacking over the last year or so.
One thing, though, is that planting for ourselves and planting for the public require different mind sets,
Planting for ourselves means throwing a variety of seeds into various pots, probably hoping to empty the seed packets so therefore planting too many, and then having to find room out in the veg plots when the seedlings are ready to go out there. There would not be hardly any planning, just hope that everything would grow.
For planting for public sales, this has to be different. There has to be order. There has to be a plan.
Lester is a random man when it comes to seeds and planting outs.
I tend to be more organised.
He is excellent at harvesting the produce.
I tend to forget about produce waiting to be harvested.
He is the one who tends the soil, and tills it with the tractor.
I am at the other end, and jam, can, freeze, and dehydrate all that comes in.
In other words, we are a team, which we have to be if our Market Garden Project is going to work.
Lester has designated me as The Planner.
We are going to measure out the approximate space of each of the three veg plots,
then make a list of the vegetables to be grown in each one.
Then to apportion out parts of each plot on graph paper to represent what space we shall have for each vegetable.
So for Purple Sprouting Broccoli we would designate a space, work out how many plants we would put in that space, and from there we would know how many seeds to plant in the pots.
Sort of working backwards, that is what we shall be doing.
Instead of thinking 'oh we shall do a few pots of broccoli' and then find we have too many, we shall have worked out how many seedlings we need and then plant the necessary number of pots.
It sounds like a faff, but we would only need to do this for the first year, after that we shall be experienced enough to know how many seedlings to plant.
Lester is excellent at planting seeds and looking after them, so that he will do.
How are we going to sell the produce? Not sure. Got plans though, ...maybe markets, veg boxes, or a shop here, but the decision  will have to wait until the time comes. Sometimes you have to take one step at a time, concentrate on doing your best while you on that particular step, and have faith that the next step will appear.
It always does, that is what I have found in life.
It is another sunny day here, so I need to get out and do things.
Hope you have a good day.
Bye for now,


rusty duck said...

The raised beds look fab. I would plant a few more seeds than you think you need. Some always fall by the wayside. But perhaps that is just me being plagued by mice!

Vera said...

JESSICA, it would be slugs which would eat our seedlings, especially now we don't have chickens in the Courtyard to keep the population down!

DUTA said...

Spring is knocking at the door, and it's so lovely to feel that winter is in its last stage and we're free to go out and start enjoying the warmth of the sun!

Planning and team work are all there is to it. Even if we plan, we might still find ourselves stucked because not everything depends on us. But to see people not making a thorough plan before a big move is always a shock to me.

You and Lester are a team from the very beginning and that brought you to your achievements so far. Hopefully, team work will get you to new successful projects in the very near future.


The Broad said...

I think you and Lester are simply amazing!The raised beds look beautiful. Good luck with your project!

Janice said...

Very exciting to see the beginning of the project. Can't wait to follow the process and see all the veggies you will be selling. Good lick!

Vera said...

DUTA, actually we did not make a big plan before coming here to France, although we did have lots of little plans!

THE BROAD, Thanks, he has done a good job with those raised beds.

JANICE, it will be interesting for us as well to see how it all turns out!

Horst in Edmonton said...

Fantastic job on the raised bed frames. Now you have to fill them with a good mixture of soil and, compost, or manure. You may also want to put half of the mixture with peat moss. This way the whole mixture will take on and hold more moisture. The soil mixture is the most important thing for growing your garden. Have fun.

Cro Magnon said...

I once grew so many Peppers that I didn't know what to do with them all. I filled several boxes and took then into town. I visited all the grocery shops, but no-one wanted them. I think a market stall would be your best bet. Good luck.

Vera said...

HORST, we have plenty of camel manure and cow manure, so that will be the basis of the soil for those raised beds. Thanks for the added info, and will pass it on to Lester. I don't think we can get peat moss here in France though.

CRO MAGNON, we might have to do a market stall while we get the shop established. Ideally we would prefer people to come here as we can be more versatile then, but it is just getting known which is the problem. We have a couple of markets which are local to us and there are several small veg growers selling their produce at them. But we don't think too much about that stage at the moment!

Cottontail Farm said...

Your beds are beautiful. I really hope to do something like that here. When I sold at the farmers market I just planted extra in the garden and sold the excess that grew. The biggest problem for me turned out to be refrigeration, not all vegetables ripen the day before market unfortunately and I had to do a lot of shuffling around to keep things in peak shape.

minwks said...

Hi Vera, good planning on making six raised planters. So much easier to rotate your crops. I am just back from Australia where my brother-in-law is growing some miniature vegetables that are presently in demand. You may need to grow different varieties from the neighbouring vendors to create your own niche.
I do wish I had more space to grow more varieties of espalier fruit trees as they are so easy to take care of. I will be in France May to August so my garden here will not receive TLC but will certainly be harvested by friends and family.
All the best.

Vera said...

JANINE, we are also going to concentrate on growing mini vegetables, something which is not done by others round here. It was an idea which started off as 'what do we want to grow for ourselves' and mini veggies is what we came up. We then expanded the idea to sell them to the public as well.
It's a shame you will not be able to enjoy your own produce during the summer, but if you are anywhere in the SW France, (near Tarbes) do please visit us.

northsider dave said...

The raised beds look great. I look forward to seeing your vegetables growing in them. Good luck.

Coco said...

What fabulous looking boxes! You´re off to a great start.

I´ve found gardenweb a great resource for planting info. They´ve been purchased by Houzz recently, so I don´t know how much more difficult it is to navigate, but you can certainly read old posts if you just close their annoying pop up windows urging you to register, should you not want to. They go away if you do.

I overdid digging the first few nice days while planting blueberries and bruised the sole of my foot. I do something silly every spring from overenthusiasm. On the mend now.

Vera said...

COTTONTAIL FARM, what we sell will be excess to our own requirements, but I know we still have a lot of learning to do about getting the produce ready for the market!
I much appreciate that you raised that point, and we shall have a think about how to store the produce when it is picked before market day.

NORTHSIDER DAVE, I am looking forward to seeing them full of veg as well!

COCO, thanks for the link, and will have a look at the website later on. Hope your foot gets better soon..... I have not been doing much in the garden but I expect that I shall also overdo it in the first few days!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Wow, they look so professional! I can't wait to see what wonderful things you plant :-) This time of year is so full of promise.

Vera said...

LISA, thanks.

PJ said...

The raised beds look great! I wish you much success with your market garden. I am redoing part of my garden and planning a few more raised beds and some space for raspberries.

Vera said...

PJ, we are new to raised bed gardening, but we are off to a good start!

Mama Pea said...

I predict you're going to love your raised garden beds. I have a combination of both raised beds and what I call the field garden. Wouldn't be without either, but if I were in a situation where I had to choose between the two -- oh, that would be hard -- but I'd have to go with the raised beds.

When we first moved to this piece of land, the (rather large) area that we have as gardens was covered with about 3" of gravel. (Gulp.) So to start with our only option was raised beds. And we're still using them 20 years later.

Vera said...

MAMA PEA, I think I shall enjoy the raised beds, particularly because they are close to the house. The main 'field garden' (love that name for the veg plot) is further away, and is more serious because it is bigger. What I mean is, that I can spend a joyful five minutes amongst the raised bed plantings, but would need to spend half an hour or more out in the field garden. Both would be enjoyable, but sometimes there is a need just to potter!

Horst in Edmonton said...

Hi Vera, your manure will have to be well rotted or composted as the main problem with manure is the weeds that will decimate your garden the first few years. Also mix the manure very well with the soil. The reason I mentioned peat moss is that it will loosen the soil and retain a lot of needed water. You also have to worry, that if you use too much young manure is that it will burn the veggies that you plant. You probably know all this but just in case you don't it is here for you to use.