Over the past month we have been lucky enough to be working with Norfolk based grower Amy Shore (otherwise known as @chicksandveg on Instagram!) on her veg patch redesign. Amy is just getting started but the progress is already phenomenal with some new additions of our 4-in-1 Modular Raised Beds, gravel flooring and new chicken run from Omlet UK but you don't want to miss what's still in store!

Amy Portrait   Amy veg patch before

We caught up with Amy to get a glimpse into her gardening journey and why she chose now to redesign this delightful plot...

A bit about you and your garden…

I guess I should start by saying that I’ve always had a love of gardening or at least getting my hands muddy! There are many photos of me as a small child making mud pies in the garden and I have fond memories of yearly sunflower competitions with my sister. When we moved a few years ago into our cottage we were greeted by a wild and unloved garden, full of derelict sheds and a lot of rubbish. The previous owners had split the garden into sections and covered a large portion in gravel. I took one look at it and knew I was going to turn this into my little haven. Some raised beds, a purple shed, a greenhouse and a lot of hard work later, I had myself a vegetable plot. Lots of people think I have an allotment but my growing space sits tucked away at the bottom of my garden. It works perfectly for me being able to walk a few paces to harvest my veg and enjoy time with my chickens. Outside of gardening I work for a design agency and prior to a certain global pandemic, would spend much of my time travelling. My garden has become more than a hobby for me, it's my passion and it brings me such joy.


Why did you decide to redesign your plot?

Up until now I had two large beds made from repurposed scaffolding boards. Raised beds work well for me because the ground was heavily compacted and the gravel proved difficult to move. This and I have some mischievous chickens that enjoy nibbling my new seedlings so having raised beds means extra protection! The beds are now a few years old and were rotting away so needed replacing. After a few years I’d uncovered some challenges with the size and layout of my beds. Having two large beds made it difficult to reach and look after everything I was growing. I’d have to leave gaps to access the veg in the middle of the beds and this not only meant I was walking all over the beds but it meant I was wasting precious growing space too! When I thought about redesigning my vegetable patch I imagined a series of smaller beds and was so pleased to discover the modular raised beds by Harrod Horticultural. Not only do they look great, their modular design means you can adjust the shape and size to suit your plot. I trialled a few different layouts before deciding on one that I feel really makes the most of the space.


What are some important things to bear in mind when planning a vegetable plot?

Having spent a few years tending to my plot I knew there were a few things I wanted to factor into the new design:

  • Access - I wanted to making sure I could fit my wheelbarrow and cart in between the beds so planned this in when spacing out the beds
  • Sunlight - Shaded partly by a hedge and some trees, beds too close to the edge don't get full sun and I’ve noticed the difference in growth so I wanted to adjust their position to make the most of their sunshine
  • Other structures - Vertical growing is a great way to make the most of your space and with the in mind I’d like to eventually add arches between some beds so factoring this spacing in now will make these additions much easier in the future


What are you most looking forward to about the new plot…

I worked out that despite having two large beds previously, by rearranging the plot and fitting in 6 smaller beds, I have more growing space! This means more vegetables! I’m also really looking to have more room and better access around the plot. I spent a few days with the beds in situ before filling them to really get a feel for the plot and check I’ve considered everything noted above. Now they are filled I’m so keen to get growing and can't wait to see what the next growing season brings.

Amy veg patch after     Amy Oliver

What's next?

Well, as I really can't wait to get growing I am popping some garlic and broad beans into the beds soon to overwinter. Both of these can tolerate the cold temperatures, in fact garlic needs the drop in temperature for good bulb development. Then, next year I’m going to try some new varieties and I'll be busy planning what's going into each of the beds.
I’d encourage anyone who’s thinking of having a move around to use the winter season when the beds are emptier and growth is slower to think about any changes, big or small, that will improve their plot. Adjusting your beds, or adding a few more to make the most of your space could really make a difference to your growing next year!


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A post shared by Amy's Cottage Garden (@chicksandveg)


Make sure to follow along with the journey and keep up to date with Amy's 2022 growing plans!

Instagram: @chicksandveg