July Garden Review 2020

Asalamualaykum, I have been gardening for most of my life in one form or another, some of my earliest memories are running around and playing on my father’s allotment in South Yorkshire, but for much of my adult life I was left without access to a garden but now we live in Leeds, West Yorkshire close to the city centre, and have been creating a garden with multiple functions since we moved here 8 years ago.

We wanted to create a place that we could enjoy as a family but also one that would be productive, where we can all have our own little piece of tranquillity and peace. We’re quite fortunate to have a large garden that can cater for the needs of everyone in our family, we have a seating area close by to our DIY goldfish pond where we can relax surrounded by the sound of the running water from the stream surrounded by fragrant flowers to stimulate the senses and provide vital habitat for wildlife overlooking the kid’s play area with open space for them to run around and play.

We grow much of our own fresh fruit and vegetables and we keep chickens which supply us with fresh eggs for most of the year, often more than we can eat so they get shared with family, friends and neighbours.

Which brings us to the most productive parts of the year a greenhouse full of heat loving vegetables like chillies and peppers, various varieties of aubergines, hyacinth beans, bitter gourds and not to forget the humble tomato.

In the main vegetable garden there are five large raised beds full of a mix of exotic vegetables as well as those commonly grown in the UK surrounded by fruit trees including apples, pears, cherries and plums and figs which form the boundaries of the garden.  Various types of bottle gourds grow up trellises with onions interplanted amongst all the vegetables growing underneath, such as the recently planted cabbages and kohlrabi.

Rather than the traditional way of planting in rows in a properly cultivated garden bed, our garden is no dig, instead everything is mulched heavily with woodchips and fertilised with compost and various smelly potions made from plants and weeds growing in the garden.

Gardening in the backyard setting like this gives me an opportunity to get the whole family involved. The garden provides an important form of daily exercise for my elderly mother who is the source of most of the gardening knowledge I have. This in turn gives me the chance to pass this knowledge onto my children and gives them a chance to actually see where food comes from, it’s a type of education that schools just can’t provide and has really helped during the lockdown period.

Our adventures are all documented on our YouTube channel My Family Garden where we not only show you what we are up to but also share a lot of gardening tips and advice.

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