Welcome

Welcome to my garden. Have a drink but don't sit just yet - I'm going to show you things.

We're on the roof just north of Berlin's city centre, ten minutes' walk from where the Wall once stood.
This is the first place I go to in the morning - I take a wander around in the morning while brushing my teeth, and often end up engrossed in a job while still in my pyjamas.

The plants I have brought here grow in pots - from the apple tree to the delicate curry plant. Others have emerged independently in the muddy spaces I leave between containers, and in the cracks between the paving stones.
I use the garden as a place for drawn-out dinners, lovely lunches and pots of tea and chatting. Since I started bringing plants here in 2011, it has also become a haven for birds and insects, and a hunting ground for bats.

It's my favourite place.

I enjoy decorative flowers, but try not to let them distract me from the more interesting concept of growing stuff to eat.
Sowing seeds and seeing what emerges is really exciting - yet I also find a hugely gratifying steadiness in trees and perennials.
Here you can read about what I try, how it works or fails - and what there might be to learn from the results.
Have fun exploring, use the subject tags to find stories which are related.
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Recent Articles

Mon, 06/01/2014 - 23:47

I'm doing a fortnightly gardening spot on my favourite Berlin radio station Flux FM - we're growing the most rock-and-roll tomatoes in the capital.

Here is the latest edition - in German.

The tomato feed worked wonders! Everything is wonderfully green - and we ate the first little red tomatoes - hooray!

Sun, 20/07/2014 - 21:00

Things smell decidedly rural around here. I've been planting up some new gardens elsewhere over the last few months - and it's amazing how fast things there turned from little seedlings into giants. The common factor - fresh compost with (organic) fertiliser in it. I decided to get my shit together. This is what I found.

It's cow dung basically, dried and made into pellets. It does smell a little rural even when dry. But I figured it would become effective more quickly if I soaked it in water. So I did several buckets full - and it became like a kind of mash. Which I top-dressed most things with - the tomatoes and apple, even though they look great - as well as everything which looked a little peaky.

It smells a little barnyard-y around here, but I think that probably has to be a good thing - although possibly somewhat puzzling to the neighbours here in central Berlin....

Fri, 27/06/2014 - 17:11

I've been a bit remiss about tying up the tomatoes so far this season. Many of them are little cherry varieties, so will not become as heavy as last year's insane crop.
And there are two enormous borage plants in with the group, lending some sturdiness. But I've also been a bit lazy about it - and there are some decent-sized fruit forming, weighing down the plants.

So there was a huge, all-day rainstorm this week, and when I went out first thing the next morning nearly everything seemed to be lying down.

Wanting to do at least something properly, I turned a pair of old long socks into tomato (and plum) ties and grabbed an armful of sticks. I went at it slowly and methodically, trimming off interstitials as I went. Although unplanned - and not recommended - having the plants lying down gives great access for a bit of a tidy up! Everything was soon standing up again, no damage done.

Tue, 17/06/2014 - 22:23

Bees, bees, bees. Everyone loves them. They've got big eyes, stripes and furry bits. And they make honey. What's not to like? I love the way they're so audible when they're busying around. I can spend ages lolling in a chair watching them sucking borage flowers. Sometimes I can spot three different kinds at the same time.

They love the blue flowers as much as I do. But they also go for the clematis.

And this one was just hanging around on the edge of a container.

Tue, 10/06/2014 - 10:19

Purple French beans are some of the most exciting, satisfying and tasty things I grow up here. They grow fast and produce lots of dark purple beans which are delicious when just-cooked and sprinkled with a little salt. Yes, yes, a load of butter is also a brilliant addition. These are from two years ago.

I went in far too early this year, and had to throw some away after they went crazy inside, way before it would have been safe to stick them outside. http://hannahsgarden.de/seedlings-its-timing-stupid Now I've waited until the weather is right - and rather than the tall, thin, light-green wimps I got inside, they're growing with muscle shoulders, and big thick everything.

But interestingly, the first leaves came out pretty mangled - kind of deformed and with holes in them. One didn't manage to put any first leaves out at all, just stuck its original bean, spread open, up on a stem. It was most odd, I couldn't work it out. There are millions of ants in that corner of the balcony, but they couldn't, surely, have had anything to do with it. And there were no aphids. Not only that, some which I planted in someone else's garden did the same thing. The only thing that made sense was that there was something odd with the beans themselves.

Wed, 04/06/2014 - 22:34

Red is the colour. I have to keep a sharp eye out not to miss strawberries, as they are fairly well scattered around the place - I tend to graze in the mornings when having a pootle about, and again when watering. They rarely encounter a bowl.

Some of the wild ones seem to be getting bigger - I think this is their second year here, and I'm sure they're larger and certainly more, than last season.

The raspberries, having almost completely taken over the container they're in, are now producing the goods, in handfuls. A stubborn lily has shoved through the wall of raspberry leaves, but I can't see the container surface at all, which means I water by ear - sticking the hose in and listening for the sound as it hits soil rather than terrace. The berries are delicious.

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