Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Garden planning

Prompted by a conversation about quinoa today I decided to get my seed stash out. I bought some rainbow quinoa seeds late last year ready for this years growing season. Well, I have now found almost every seed known to man (perhaps not quite) except for the rainbow quinoa. Very frustrating. I'm going to summon the energy to rake through the drawers again after this.

Anyway, now I have my seeds stash to hand I'm starting to plan the beds in my head. Some of the seeds are from last year but they have been stored well. I suspect the germination rate may be slightly lower but I'm going to try them all the same. Some are new ones that I have picked up as I've seen them over autumn and winter.

Now that I have two veg patches I feel I have so much more scope and hopefully will be able to more than double last years productivity by maximising both plots. I'm aiming to bring food not just to our table but also to our friends who have very generously offered their garden. I know I won't manage to grow all of the veg we eat but I hope to make a big impact on the shopping bill and have fun in the process.

We'll be foraging again too and after watching a few Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall programmes recently I think I'll have more success with my elderflower cordial, elderflower champagne and elderberry cordial this year. I know now that the champagne is supposed to go mouldy! I shouldn't have thrown mine away last year at that point.

I'm going to do more research about hawthorn before the blossoms come. We really enjoy the hawthorn blossom tea so I'm now wondering about collecting and drying it for use later in the year.

Also wondering if it's possible to preserve the wild garlic leaves in some way too. I love that flavour. It's different to ordinary garlic. It reminds me of messing in the woods as a child.

I've not made any final decisions but I think this is what I'll be growing this year.

Low maintenance patch - Potatoes, jerusalem artichokes and beetroot. Some other odds and ends too but I think these will be the main crops here. There's a potential rabbit issue here so it may be wisest to stick with hardy roots.

Salad beds and cut and come leaves - Rocket, radishes, spring onions, chard bright lights, parsley, basil, pak choi and perpetual spinach.

Bean and pea beds - Runner Bean, Dwarf French Beans, Broad Beans and Peas. I've an extra early type of broad bean this year and some are already started in pots outside.

Greenhouse - Goji berries, peppers, aubergine, melon and cucumbers. The goji won't produce anything this year. I think they need a few years to mature. Possibly a couple of tomatoes but after big tomato gluts the last couple of years I think we'll stick to one or two - probably the Tumbling Tom variety.

Main bed - Sprouting broccoli, Courgette, Onions and Leeks.

I'm not going to bother with mooli, carrots or parsnips this year unless I get round to preparing a special bed for them. It's a bit of a waste of time in our soil as it is. I think I'm going to concentrate on making a pumpkin and squash bed instead. I really want to grow more pumpkins this year but they take up so much space. Need to ponder this one.

Off now to carry on hunting for the rest of my seeds.


Anonymous said...

thats very organised Claire.

Claire said...

That's the easy bit - planning.

Dawny said...

wow Claire i was going to say very organised too lol , my garden is huge but i don't know where to start.
good luck with it all xx

Clare said...

I love how inspiring your blog is :) As I was reading I thought 'I'd love to do this but we only have a square foot for a garden'. But then you said that your friends let you use their garden? I'm really going to run out of excuses...

Jenny Bear said...

This souns like a grand plan - the strimmer is clearing the low maintenance patch as we speak.

Now you havent grown onions in the same place before have you?

We must plan a four ywar rotation!

Ruth said...

You are organsised. I can't even find my seed stash:0

Anonymous said...

That all sounds great, I really need to get my planning head on, trouble is if I plant here I will be even less inclined to move on.