Last year there were highs and lows in the garden. Most of the highs were in the spring and early summer, with the lush growth of leafy green vegetables, beans and cucumbers and the joyous colours of the foxgloves and calendula. By late summer though most of the garden was off limits due to builders using every scrap of spare space as a lay-out area for tools and supplies. As a result the late season colour and crops were somewhat neglected and the garden is looking pretty forlorn in the depths of winter.
While the short days and ground frosts are limiting my time outside and we are not yet filling the windowsills with seed trays, this is a busy time of planning and preparing for the new growing season.
Small is a relative terms. Our garden is an oddly shaped space on different levels, about 4.5 metres (or 15 ft) wide and ranging from 6.3m (or 21ft) and 7.2 (or 24ft) deep. As our garden faces north easterly and the seven foot outside the backdoor are at lower ground level and therefore in very deep shade, the productive area is instantly reduced. Based on these dimensions I classify our garden as tiny or micro, sitting somewhere between a small garden and a miniscule or nano-sized garden. As much as I would love more space to cultivate (like most gardeners), I realise I am incredibly fortunate to have any outside space in a city like London. And despite its limitations there is still a lot that I can grow, with a little imagination, succession planting and careful vertical planning.
Having lived with the garden, ‘extended’ the growing spaces and structures and experimented with different crops over the years, I am planning some changes and additions this year to build on what has worked well. Also, as our tiny garden is not just for our own benefit, I shall be introducing a wider array of wildlife friendly plants and features. And I thought I would invite you along for the journey.
I therefore plan to feature my gardening year on the blog in more detail to illustrate how even tiny gardens can be a source of food and joy, despite the space’s limitations and my own. Additionally, the garden will feature heavily on a new strand to my podcast.
From this year onwards, as well as my more in-depth podcast episodes, I will be publishing shorter, chattier podcasts, the Mrs M’s Scrapbook episodes, to share more nuts and bolts of my various making activities. Not just what I’m doing but also how these making projects feed into each other and how, despite life’s ups and downs and demands, I cobble together diverse types of making to shape a life that makes sense to me.
Here’s a little preview of the Mrs M’s Scrapbook and if you want to hear more of them, please follow my podcast feed here (on iTunes or on your favourite podcast catcher) or follow me here on the blog or over on Instagram.