And so a new journal begins!
After much scribbling, sketching, erasing and rearranging, I think I’ve finally worked out a plot plan.
The thing is, I don’t normally worry too much about drawing my plans to scale, I kind of just wing it by drawing out what looks about right. Sorry, I’m a slapdash creative, not a mathematician. But seeing as I’d provided a dotted graph and scale in my new journals (available in my shop – see previous post), I decided to work it out properly to scale. The only problem with this, is I’ve never actually taken a tape measure to my plot and measured it! I know that’s probably a bit slack to some, but I trust that it is 10 poles (whatever a pole actually is), I have more than enough space, I’m not going to quibble over a meter here or there, so it’s never concerned me. The second problem here is that I (typically) assumed I knew what it measured.
‘Assume and you make an ass of u and me.’ I know this, but I still go ahead and assume so many things in life, and fall flat on my face. A full plot is 250 square meters, and so I had thought that the plot was 5 meters wide by 50 meters long. Makes sense right? After drawing this to scale in my journal I knew it was wrong. There’s no way I had all that space between the top end and the shed, it just didn’t work out. I might not be good with measurements and maths, but I can visualise something and know immediately if it looks right or wrong.
So at the next available opportunity I walked the dog down to the plot, forgot to take a measure, and proceeded to walk out a rough measurement with the highly complex calculation that a meter is about as far as I can step without doing myself a painful injury. Turns out, the plot is actually 6 meters wide. I giant stepped in a comedy fashion 16 meters down to the far edge of my shed, and then 21 meters to the halfway mark of the neighbours plot which is split between 2 people. So a quick calculation (it’s okay I had my smarter-than-me phone with me) worked out 42×6=252. So it must be a tad under 42 meters long, or possibly it’s slightly under 6 meters wide, but it’s thereabouts. Somebody on the site will be able to tell me at some point.
Okay back to the drawing board. After drawing it out again using these measurements, it all worked out fine. Phew. Luckily I have last years plan, and lots of photos to remind me of what was growing where last year, so I can make sure to move everything around a bit. I don’t bother with conventional crop rotation, so long as I don’t grow the same stuff in the same place each year to avoid a build up of pests and diseases that are specific to that crop.
I managed to completely miss the shallots out, but actually I’ve probably allowed more than necessary space for the broad beans and leeks, so with a bit of jiggling, they’ll fit in there somewhere. The plan is only ever a rough guide anyway, it often changes slightly when it comes to the actual planting. In general, I want to mix it all up a bit more this year. So, rather than an A frame row of beans, I’m going to do smaller wigwams (3 or maybe 4 if there’s space) which will be dotted around the plot. Rather than a whole bed for the lettuce, I will plant these in between the sweetcorn (they grow well in shade), between the canes of the bean wigwams, and as catch crops around slower growing veg such as the squash plants, harvesting them once the space is needed. I also plan to fill gaps more this year, with annual flowers, or quick growing crops that won’t spread or dominate the space. Spring onions or dwarf beans for example.
As is usual at this time of the year (meaning it’s all in my head) it’s going to be just perfect. The slugs will be kept firmly in check, the caterpillar and pigeon vulnerable will be adequately netted, and the hungry and thirsty will be sufficiently satisfied. I’m going all out on blight resistance with my potato and tomato varieties, though I’m not sure there’s much I can do about the inevitable garlic rust and onion mildew. The RHS advice on onion mildew is to not grow them for 4 years (that includes all of the alliums – garlic, leeks etc) but I’m ignoring that advice and taking my chances, as I can’t possibly survive that long without any alliums!
The seed orders are all in now and the potatoes are ready to start chitting. I have been holding fire on the seed sowing so far this month, as I don’t think you really get any further ahead, but the potting shed is calling me.
If it all works out, it’ll be lovely, and if it looks half as good as my plan, I’ll be a happy girl.