After recovering from a cold that it seems the rest of the world has also had, I have been attempting to get my act into gear and plan for a new year of allotmenteering. To be honest, I’m sometimes surprised I’m still going at all. I think when I took the plot on back in 2008, I didn’t imagine I’d still be full of enthusiasm for it by 2015. But then I can’t quite believe it’s actually 2015 already, and this is my final year of being in my 30’s, heck! Anyway, I can’t imagine not ever growing my own vegetables now, I don’t know what I’d do with the time for a start.
So, last week John headed down to the plot one cold and icy morning, and did a heroic job of getting the plot into some sort of order. He weeded the onions and garlic, chopped back the mustard which was starting to look a bit worse for wear (hopefully this will rot down into the ground now, adding some vital nutrients), cut the raspberry canes back and cleared and dug over the bed that previously contained the squashes. All in one morning! It was cold, I think he needed to keep moving to survive. I came and revived him with hot coffee and food at lunch time.
Meanwhile, I’ve been sitting at home in the warm with a nice hot cuppa, and doing some vital planning and ordering of seeds. What? It’s an important job too you know.
So, my seed order for this year is:
- Brussels Sprouts ‘Rubine’ – red variety, nutty flavour, all sounds good.
- Kale ‘Rouge de Russie’ – or Red Russian if you like, I planned to try Kale last year and never did, this is one of Sarah Raven’s desert island veg plants, don’t you know.
- Sweetcorn ‘Lark’ – I know I was borderline on growing these this year, but the seeds were on offer!
- Winter Squash ‘Uchiki Kuri’ – otherwise known as onion squash, can be trained to climb, so we shall see if it does.
- Cabbage ‘Rigoletto’ – savoy cabbage.
- Chilli ‘Big Jim’ – to be grown at home, can grow to 30cm long apparently, wow.
- Courgette ‘Tristan’ – let’s hope I manage to grow some this year. Spine free variety.
- Parsnip ‘Gladiator’ – long trusted variety.
- Tomato ‘Ferline’ – blight tolerant (whatever that means, they catch blight but just put up with it and soldier on anyway?) I did grow them once before, I should have remembered.
- Tomato ‘San Marzano’ – a cooking variety that I’ve always fancied trying. Again, seed on offer, can’t resist a bargain.
and then just because I needed to add a bit extra to qualify for free delivery (these crafty companies) I threw in a wildcard:
- Cucamelon Seeds – they’re the cutest looking things, like teeny tiny watermelons, but they taste of cucumber with a hint of lime. All the rage! If you’re interested there’s more info from James Wong or, from My Allotment Garden, or I loved watching this little video from Clare’s Allotment here.
I do also have some potatoes on order from our local allotment society stores, but the order was placed last October and by now I can never remember what I ordered. I think it was Charlotte earlies (new to me) and Romano main crop (which I’ve grown the last couple of years). But I might be surprised to find I actually ordered something entirely different.
This is a rough idea of how it will all look by mid summer (click on the image for a bigger version):
Not quite as pretty as the one I did for 2009. And, just as I’d inked it all in, I realised I’d missed the tomatoes. Doh! Although it is roughly to scale, it’s not that accurate, so the garlic bed isn’t quite as big as that, and there should be plenty of space above that to fit the tomatoes in. I haven’t included lettuce here, as I tend to squeeze that in wherever there’s a bit of space, usually around plants that I know will take a while to fill out. It’s called catch cropping, useful for things that grow pretty quick around things that grow slow. Underneath or around wigwams or A frames of canes is another good space, until they get blocked of light. I also haven’t included leeks, as they’ll have to wait for a vacancy to become available, probably from the early potatoes.
So I guess I’d better dust down the propagator.
PS: thanks to those of you following my little spin-off blog ‘From Plot to Plate‘, if you haven’t yet, please do go and take a look and follow me. I’m thoroughly enjoying researching new recipes and playing at food photography.