Posts Tagged ‘Rural Garden’

We’ve been working towards building our own little back garden nursery business for the last 2-3 years. Nothing too ambitious … a micro nursery with attitude I call it. 🙂

I’m confident I have a good grasp of the propagation side of the business and have been sharing my experiences  through the blog and on our YouTube channel.

This year I’m looking to up my game and see how best to use the space I have available. I’ve already started to collect some ideas together and have to say I’m getting very excited about the whole idea.

It’s our major project for this year and it won’t be long before the growing season kicks off in earnest, so I need to kick things along a bit if I’m to make the most of the Spring season!

Plans For The New Plant Nursery

I’ve put together a rough plan to share and would welcome your comments as I’m really not very good at this kind of thing.

You’ll see from the plan I’ve included a newly built covered area which will double up as a potting shed, as well as a general store. It will also offer shelter from the April showers and provide a nice space for pottering about or maybe running a couple of courses in the summer.

Also I need to make sure there is an electric point for a kettle. After all you can’t garden without a steady supply  of tea!

John is planning to install solar power with mains back up for days when the sun stays away. I’ll be interested to see exactly how much power we’ll be able to generate.

We’ve split the plot into different areas or spaces, each serving a specific function. Over time I’m hoping the plants will spill out onto the paths and soften the edges creating a more natural feel to the space which is the general effect we’re after.

A. The Cut Flower Garden.

Approximately 40ft long by 8ft wide dedicated to growing a range of gorgeous English cut flowers.  I’ve always been a lover of cut flowers and this year I’m planning on growing  more than ever. I might even try and sell a few bunches at the village shop.

(If you’d like to know more about growing cut flowers I’ve put up a few blog posts that might help you to get started)

B. The Sales Area.

This will be for showing off the plants and will be arranged in such a way that customers can wander freely and really get a feel for the range of plants we sell.

I guess what I’m looking for is an environment where visitors feel comfortable and leave thinking they can’t wait to come back again.

C. Workshop & Potting Shed.

Basically a shed that will provide shelter from the rain and shade in the height of the summer.  We’ll use it as a store and build a potting shed in one side. The design will be based on a traditional wood frame structure. (John is planning to put up some plans when his workload will allow)

D. Propagation Center.

I’m going to create a dedicated propagation area. It’s easier to manage and I won’t end up with cuttings here there and everywhere.

I tend to get better results if the cutting boxes are positioned in a shady spot, which is why we chose this particular part of the garden. There is a Victoria plum tree immediately adjacent to the propagation area which casts  dappled shade in the summer months which will help to keep the cuttings from drying out.  Should be perfect.

If you’d like to know more about growing your own plants from cuttings there’s lots of advice on the internet. If you’d like know how we got started head on over to the Rural Gardeners You Tube channel where you’ll find a series of short videos John recorded last summer explaining about how easy it is to get started propagating your own plants from cuttings.

F. Rainwater Collection

Really important to have good rainwater collection, especially if you’re on a water meter.  Every penny helps as they say.

I plan to have a series of barrels on a plinth with taps about half way up the barrel. Saves bending down so much.

Next steps?

Well, as soon as the weather improves in March we’ll get started but can’t do too much until all this rain passes and the ground starts to dry out, or we’ll simply make a terrible mess everywhere.

Be sure to check in on our You Tube channel as we plan to share our experiences with everyone. Also feel fr)ee to drop your email details here and well keep you right up to date. I promise you’ll not miss a second of the action!

Thanks for reading and as always any questions fire them over and we’ll endeavor to answer them.

Best wishes,

John And Tania The Rural Gardeners

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Stuttgarter Onions ready for lifting

Stuttgarter Onions ready for lifting

Time to lift and store the onions and garlic

It’s a been mixed season at Blackbirds for onions and garlic. We’ve had some successes and the odd failure it has to be said.

I planted onion sets back in February, about 6″ apart in rows about 12″ apart. I prefer sets, although I have had success with seed in the past. When I say ‘about’, everything I plant in the kitchen garden is based on a certain amount of guess work.  I don’t believe it’s rocket science at the end of the day, just as long as you leave enough space for the plant to grow to full harvest, it should be fine.

I’ve just come back from the Kitchen Garden and both my onions and garlic look ready for lifting. You can always tell as the tops fall over and start to turn brown.

Onions drying in the sun

I've grown Stuttgarter for years and they always crop well for me

If your onions look ready for lifting I’d suggest you wait for a nice sunny day, then take a fork and lever the plants out of the ground, taking care not to damage them (or they won’t store well) and leave them sitting loose on the top of the soil, so the sunshine can bake them nice and hard.

I leave mine out for about 7-10 days, after which I gather them up and lay them out on wire racks in the shed. This can be a tricky period as the onions can sprout back into growth if the air is to damp, or they can also rot off, but providing you can spread them out and position them somewhere where the sun can catch them, they will dry in no time.

Best to leave them on a shelf in the shed, or even outside the back door (providing its covered) just make sure they are nicely spread out, so the air can get to them.

Tip: If you have some  old chicken wire lying around its great for making racks to dry your onions.

Drying garlic bulbs in the summer sun

We managed to grow a few garlic this year, despite a few failures

As you see my garlic has been a bit of a let down this year, and I don’t know why? 😦

Main problem is the size and the general poor state of the bulbs. I did everything exactly as last year, and I also grew them in a different patch of the garden as we garden with a rotational system at Blackbirds.

I think it cold be a couple things as I was a bit late planting them out and also I didn’t water quite as often as I should.

Anyway, I’m going to dry them  on my low tech chicken wire racks in the shed, and see how I get on. It’s unlikely I’ll be making garlic strings this year though.

Last year I worked out how to make a garlic string, so this year I thought I’d have a go at making a string of onions.  I’ll post the details in a couple of weeks when the onions have had a chance to dry out.

Looking outside today the weather has broken and it’s raining, which is great for the garden. I guess every cloud has a silver lining, as they say.

Have a great weekend!

Best wishes


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