Yesterday was bright and sunny and for the first time in 2016 I spent the whole day in the garden, pottering and clearing. Sadly, this morning, it’s grey and overcast and we can’t do our planned garden centre visit. Time, though, to take stock of our seeding plans and … do the washing-up. Our seed trays and pots will need to be washed in Jeyes fluid (a dreadful smell, but one I now associate with the excitement of early spring) and set out to dry or be wiped down ready for this year’s seeds.
Last week, over a cosy tea, we reviewed our planting from last year and planned for this year.
- sweet corn: ok, but didn’t produce enough for the space they took up
- squash: the ones we deliberately planted didn’t do well, the ones we didn’t know we planted rambled all over the training wires for the mini-orchard and we all now have beautiful displays of yellow and green striped gourds in our houses! They do require space.
- tomatoes: for the investment in time, water and feed, they are not worth growing in grow bags and pots outside. My greenhouse probably produces enough for us all, so more ‘sweet million’ in grow bags indoors.
- carrots: need very carefully prepared soil – didn’t do much in containers
The problem with things like purple sprouting broccoli and other brassicas is that they take up a lot of space and get devoured by caterpillars. Rather more adventurous things like aubergines and peppers require sunlight, warmth and shelter. So we settled on the following list for our small site which gets South westerlies blowing through and where the only water source is our water butts:
- Shady bed: leeks (miniature), chard,onions, cavalo Nero (inevitably!)
- Warm front bed: courgettes (bush miniature), French beans
- Back slightly shaded bed: runner beans, rocket and other leaves, also beetroot
- Orchard bed: beetroot and lettuces
- And lots of basil and parsley!
We should also sow some marigolds and other companion plants, and maybe some other pollinator plants that will look pretty (and survive) in Marlene’s hanging baskets.