The first bed was planted in 2015 in containing fruit bushes, with a wooden edge and weed suppressant membrane inbetween covered in woodchip for low maintennance.
The second bed started a couple of years later with rhubarb and the same membrane, however it soon became apparent that this site was too dry for rhubarb as it never got established well, despite good plants going in. We expect that the ground is poor due to builders rubble being underneath the topsoil, although we can’t be sure this seems likely.
Later we removed the rhubarb and replaced with herbs- including rosemary and sage which seem to be doing well despite a bit of shade from the fence. The edge of the bed has been removed and some more vigorous and self seeding herbs such as oragano and lemonbalm planted here too, as they will mix with the meadow.
The membrane has been removed from the bushes too, as experience has shown us that, although often used in horticulture, this is not good for soil health. The plastic membrane prevents the woodchip from enriching the soil as it degrades as the worms can’t incorporate the compost into the soil. The woodchip once degraded provides a good growing medium for weeds on top on the membrane anyway. As the soil is poor, we are now trying to increase the nutrients for the fruit bushes by adding compost mulch and allowing dynamic accumulators (mainly plantain and clover) to grow under the bushes as an intercrop, or groundcover.