Planning ahead for this year’s growing season meant a review of last year’s successes and failures in the vegetable world.
The big success of last year was the tomatoes, though the sheer volume was a little overwhelming – we’ll grow fewer this year. Despite slightly late sowing, we were harvesting them into November due to the long growing season in the tunnel.
The baby sweetcorn were impressively tall and we feared for the poly tunnel cover. The few we ate were delicious but we missed the bulk of the crop through being on holiday. The moral is to pick them small and early!
We grew a great many carrots as all the kids love them. While the first ones were good, the main crop had a problem with splitting (due to a water shortage) and slugs. For this season we’ve bought carrot seed that promises to be resistant to splitting and we will take care to thin them out more and earth them up to keep out slugs.
The runner beans ran away with themselves and produced a bumper crop we’re still eating from the freezer! The sugarsnap peas were a fantastic success with the kids picking and eating them raw in the tunnel.
This year the seven outside beds have a plan, drawn to ensure good rotation in the following years. Legumes (beans and peas) fix the nitrogen in the soil which brassicas (cabbagey type things) love, so these follow the legumes. Some roots such as potatoes want well rotted manure adding to the soil where as carrots and parsnips do not.
For those interested in the full range of crops; outdoors we’re planting: french beans, broad beans, runner beans, beetroot, broccoli, brussel sprouts, red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, courgette, garlic, curly kale, leeks, onions, parsnips, pumpkin, potatoes, shallots, spinach, swan gourds, and swede. Indoors: globe artichoke, baby carrots, cavalo nero, cucumbers, fennel, 5 varieties of lettuce, mizuna, pak choi, sugarsnap peas, radish, rocket, soya beans, baby sweetcorn and of course tomatoes (4 varieties)!
Then there is the new tunnel bed (10m x 1.5m). It probably won’t have the tunnel over it this season but its a good size growing bed…for what?