Designing paths in vegetable gardens

Isn’t that a fab moody picture?

We have had drizzle and mist for days and days now. Which means that when it stops, you leap out and do things. Even if you find yourself raking leaves at dusk.

Or working in the forest.

Here is this week’s mighty project.

Madame wants to sort out the top part of the potager. It is less than stellar.

The gorgeous six raised beds at the front of the huge space have been a roaring success.

The old fashioned beds at the top… not so much.

So I decided it was time now that it’s quiet to have a go at changing things.

And in particular the paths.

If you are planning a potager or vegetable garden I can’t stress enough that the width of the paths are vital. And if you get them wrong, you will be irked.

I never regret the space I have given over to the centre of the potager to just gravel paths. Wide enough for a wheelbarrow to turn. Spacious enough to walk.

Over time the little paths between the top beds have deteriorated. About ten years ago I took the advice (Joy Larkcomb) to build my potager beds just one metre wide. The perfect width for working the beds without compacting the soil.

But what that means is I had a plethora of paths in between. And with my usual weapon of weed proof choice – fabric and river pebbles, gravity and random bits of soil have done their worst.

You can’t even sit down in between the beds to weed.

So out in the drizzle I went this morning with a tape measure and a mad gleam.

Time to change. Make the beds one metre twenty wide and the paths at least 70 centimetres wide. And remove the pebbles, put down new weed proof fabric and start again.

I know. Mad. Mad. Mad.

I will lose space for growing to slightly wider paths. But it will be worth it.

What ever happened to a quiet life of crime novel reading in front of the fire?

Especially as I needed dozens more chestnut logs to build up the sides of the new beds.

And we have only just recovered from all the pebble sloshing in buckets on the last job….

Cue an afternoon in the forest with David cutting down things and piling them up by the side of the little road. (Sciatica intervened to prevent instant carrying up to the house.)

Here is the start of my messy work.

Not helped by The Creature who wanted to sleep on my lap while I worked.

More wretched pebbles into buckets to get washed.

Then down with the first layer of old swimming pool cover.

One down. Six more to go.

I”m so sorry you have to endure the beige and brown of the winter scene with gravel and pebbles. Believe me, a blast of colour would do us all the world of good.

I know. How about the potager from way back when.


And on the note, I need to hose off all the dirt and scrape and scrape at the filth under the fingernails.