Exciting plans!

So I haven’t actually mentioned what I’ll be growing this year have I!

Well, like so many other keen growers, I smiled with anticipation when several seed catalogues popped through the letterbox during the winter months and excitedly made some decision based on the varieties that caught my eye fantasising about the baskets of bright shiny bounty to be harvested the coming year!

For me though, most of the fun is in collecting little ideas and treasures as I go along. Sometimes its a visit to a garden show that inspires me like the Crown Prince James Wong spoke about at the Edible Garden Show in March, or the Red Baron onions bought from Robinsons on a recommendation from the lovely head gardener at our favourite garden centre last September. My decisions always seem to change!

In fact, just last Saturday one of our good friends on the allotment gave us some Calabrese seedlings and as I accepted the gift the grey cells were on overdrive working out where on earth they were going to fit in my master plan! And I’m sure they’ll be more…. although there won’t be a repeat of year 1 when I graciously accepted eight courgette plants… I’ll say no more!

For me I love watching them grow in the evening sun with a glass of wine recalling all the happy memories that brought them to the plot. Ah Happiness.

So, here’s the rundown of the lucky few and roughly when and why I’ll be planting them.

First season

Broad beans  Aquadulce – Firm favourite on our plot. Great taste and strong plants which can stand up to cold weather and our occasionally windy plot. As they grow taller I will need to protect them with rows of string so that they don’t flop over!

French beans Cobra – First time I’m growing these and mainly because we have a new arch that I want to grow them over. I also really like their lilac flowers! Another recommendation is Speedy as a second crop. These dwarf plants produce LOADS of beans from not many plants and I still have some in the freezer from last year. These could also be grown very easily in containers.

Cabbage Greyhound – I got these free with a magazine so I thought I’d give them a go! They are supposedly compact, quick growing plants so perfect for a small plot. The seedlings germinated really quickly on the windowsill and are now growing on well. Hopefully I’ll make some nice coleslaw with these.

Carrot Nantes 2, Purple Haze, Autumn King and Eskimo – I’ve written about these in previous posts.

Courgette Dundoo F1 – Powdery Mildew is not my friend and last year this variety faired well so I’ll be growing it again this year. It grows fast so I wont be planting my seeds for another week or two.

Cucumber Marketmore – SO many cucumbers from two plants last year that I was nearly giving them away to passers by on the street! I added well rotted manure to the planting hole and then applied a thick green waste mulch to keep the moisture in. I think it’s safe to say they loved it.

Leek Bandit – I’m trailing this variety for the first time and specifically because it is one of the best rust resistant types which is something we are seriously plagued by. I’ll let you know how it performs and fingers crossed it works for us!

Lettuce – a mixture of Black Seeded Simpson, Marvel of the Four Seasons, Winter Density, and Cuore which is a fantastic Romaine type and one of the best if you like this style of lettuce.

Onion Red Baron – Recommended to us as Robinson’s are renowned for their onions. Particularly if you want to show veg. These have grown really strongly in the ground since we planted them a couple of weeks ago.

Parsnip Tender And True – An old favourite for many people and if they are good enough for Ann Swithinbank they are good enough for me! Also resistant to Canker which is important for us on clay soil.  

Pepper Summer Salad – I’m growing this variety for the first time. Peppers grow really well on our plot so lets hope I haven’t jinxed this years crop! We grew a mini variety last year because I thought they looked ‘cute’. Big mistake as they were a nightmare to prepare!

Potatoes Sarpo Mira, Charlotte and Lady Christ – my earlier blog posts reveals all!

Pumpkin Crown Prince and Climbing Munchkin – Recommended by many the crown prince is getting it’s first outing on the plot and already the plants have romped away on the windowsill. I’m slightly nervous I’ve planted them too early as its still too cold to plant them out! I grew the climbing munchkin last year but our disastrous summer did not make a happy pumpkin so I’m trying again this year and the plan is to grow them up our second arch.

Spring onion White Lisbon – an old faithful. I’m trying a new technique this year. I’ve started the seeds off 5 to a module and will also plant them out this way.

Tomato Ferline and Losetto – both are blight resistant. I grew Ferline last year and was so impressed by the strong sturdy plants, huge crop and really flavoursome soups and sauces we made I suspect I’ll be growing this for years to come! Blight is a huge problem in our plot and so I’ve added a cherry tomatoe variety this year too.

Second season

To make the most of our small space I’m intending to include a second season crop. I find this pretty achievable but does require a bit of planning so that I’ve got the right sized plants ready to plant out when the first crop is lifted.

  • Brussel Sprouts Revenge F1 – new to the plot this year but perfect for a Christmas harvest so fingers crossed!
  • Flower Sprouts Petit Posey – we’ve eaten these many times in restaurants. Will our home-grown taste as good?
  • Cabbage January King – I’ve not grown a savoy type before but I love eating them! I planted some seedlings a couple of weeks ago as they need a long growing season and so far so good!
  • Kale Nero di Toscana – I’m slightly in love with this plant as it tastes amazing and looks stunning. White fly and pigeons have ruled the roost in years past so this year I’m fighting back and my young plants will not seen the outside of micro mesh from start to finish!

Phew! That little lot is going to keep me busy I think! We’re also growing some fruit and flowers but that will have to wait to another day!

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