Vegetable planning

The arrival of the new seeds prompted me to spend something like three hours trying to sort out what to grow where this year.  It’s a complicated issue, trying to get all the things I want to grow into five beds, a patio full of pots, a couple of beds next to walls, and all with complications caused by shading during the day.  Vegetables mostly like to have sun to grow well, and three out of five of my vegetable beds have shading through half the day.  And with an element of crop rotation and companion planting, it gets to be quite a headache.  In the end I just decided to fit them in where they could go.

So, in the NW bed which has had brassicas in it last year and they’ll be there till Easter, probably, there will be root vegetables: the new root parsley (Hamburg Parsley), carrots, parsnips scorzonera and two types of fennel. That’s seven veg in a 4ft x 4 ft plot.  Sometimes I think I try to pack too much in.

In the Centre bed (overwintering lettuces and chard at present): sweetcorn and the new buckshorn plaintain, with various squash depending on what grows from some rather old seed.  I did this combination (squash and corn) very successfully in 2010 so I’ll see if it works again.

The Path bed is currently holding a little beetroot which hardly grew and a crop of winter tares as a green manure which is very successful.  I may need to trim back the tree nearby which is shading it too much.  This will get chard,two types of kohl rabi, pak choi, kale and cos lettuce this year and will be the one that gets netted against the butterflies.

The SE bed is currently still holding scorzonera regrown from broken roots from the year before, some fennel which can come out, the overwintering mizuna endive frisee, and the celery, but all of those will be gone by Easter. I’ve just taken out the last of the carrots and planted the Super Aquadulce broad beans.  A funny time of year to do it, either November or February is favoured, but it’s so mild and the soil is fine and I hope it does ok.  It’s the last of the packet, and if it doesnt come up there is still time to sow some of the crimson flowered that all ripens at once.  The penalites of an F1 hybrid, and not to be repeated.  Of course I could keep some seed from the Super Aquadulce…  That will be joined by French and Runner Beans, using the nice cane frame I got last year, hopefully with some cucumber up it too, and some beetroot and celeriac although the book says beetroot doesnt like growing with runner beans.  My beetroot is never very successful anyway, so we’ll see.

The SW bed which seems to be increasingly suffering from shade problems from a nice bush as well as the wall is still struggling to grow a decent crop of celeriac this year and I’ve started digging it up.  The chard wasnt much good in it and neither were the beetroot, although the rocket sown in desparation has done well during the autumn and mild winter.  It will be replaced by my salad bed, some more carrots and a later fennel.

And I havent put the sorrel anywhere at present as I seem to have missed it out of the calculations.  My new peas are going to go in the outside bed up the outside wall as they are supposed to grow to ten feet and that should be the right height for them.  Goodness knows where all the tomatoes are going to go – there are too many for the patio.

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