Preparing next year’s tomato bed

There was only so much death I could gaze upon every morning.

Have I shown you the lavender bank?

It’s grim. Beware.

Well this part is vile. I have to quickly show you a success story before we don the gauntlets and get in among the dead mess.

Spaced out properly. Direct sun. Happy.

So now that you have seen I’m not a complete numpty when it comes to growing this ubiquitous Mediterranean plant, let me go back.

I worked so hard to turn this bank into something more than a weed infested place where white peaches festooned with peach leaf curl came to die.

But let this be a lesson for you all. No scrimping on the actual plants. I seem to recall my budget for the year had been spent and I didn’t invest well.  I can even whisper the words ‘supermarket purchase’ in a quiet voice.  But hey, I thought I needed 44 of them to fill this huge bank. So I went cheap.

Plus, the horrid plum trees in front grew up and up and up causing way more shade than these plants like. (I have tied menacing little red ribbons round many branches of those suckering nasties.  And as soon as I can get someone to power up a chain saw, those branches are gone. A good purge.)

A bit like the purge I had to do here. Even though there were some good’uns in among them. They all had to go.

It wasn’t easy. Despite their tough start in life, the plants put down pretty deep roots. And I had to swing hard on the edge of my fork to grub them out.

You missed one comic moment when levered the root and went flying. Fork, branch, soil and all. Good thing I was cushioned by a nice soft landing.

Revolting graphic shots of what goes wrong in a garden. But I could imagine the end.

And I took advantage of the rotten pergola poles to make chunky edges for the future…. wait for it…. tomato bed.

It makes sense. Room to stake tomatoes properly. And I will turn it into a permaculture bed this autumn to take advantage of smarter watering.  There is no automatic drip feeding in this part of the potager. So it will all be marvellous.

I used some of the last of the municipal mulch to cover over the bed this summer. It’s so lovely to gaze on an area of promise rather than one’s pathetic failures.