I tend to be a bit of a creature of habit and once I’m on to a good thing, then I don’t tend to change much and the beds that form the rest of sector one are of the ilk – ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.’ Maybe I’ll do a bit of tweaking in the pepper bed but it is pretty much business as usual but in a different bed. Everything in this sector except the herbs and Rhubarb and Artichokes move one bed to the right. This means the same crop won’t be in the same place for five years.
Bed Two – The Leafy Greens
This bed is where the cucumbers were last year and normally consists of spinach, rainbow beets – often called chard, celeriac and celery. We love the spinach, the rainbow beets feature on our plates from time to time, but the chickens seem to love them more. I like to have them in there as they do add a delightful splash of colour all year.
Due to the exceptionally wet season last year the celery and celeriac did really well, but I’m not sure I want to repeat the conditions for the sake of this pair. But I’ll pop them in again with the expectation of struggling to get a decent crop because I’m hoping it will be a dry summer. I can’t see any reason to change the contents of this bed – just the location.
Bed Three – The Cucumbers and Melons
This will be where the garlic and peppers were last season. I like to grow them up so I have three rows of netting tied to rebar pole. Rebar is much better than bamboo and just as affordable so making the change last year was a good idea. But the nylon netting had a tendency to make the whole thing sag under the weight of a heavy crop. This year I’m thinking of using some of the spare sheep fencing we have. Hopefully this is more robust for my plants. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of point putting up netting if the crop ends up on the dirt anyway. I hope it works.
The cucumbers I want to grow are long telegraph style ones, lemon cucumbers because they don’t seem to be as bitter as the apple ones and lots of gherkins because you can never have too many of these – although the key is to harvest early and often, so you don’t end up with a thousand jars of pickles filled with one gherkin each. In this bed I also like to pop in a few rock melons and a luffa to climb the frame too.
Bed Four – Garlic and Peppers
The garlic is already in there and doing well. I am keeping a sharp eye out for signs of rust and aren’t afraid to spray if necessary. This bad run of garlic needs to end now! Once the garlic comes out I’ll pop in the peppers. This year I have acquired some larger pots so if the peppers have to wait, then they can do so in comfort. The majority of the bed will be bell peppers so we have enough to freeze for all year use. There’ll be a few interesting ones and some with a bit of a kick just to make it fun. I’m not sure which ones yet, but I’ll have to decide soon as I usually start the seed off on the 1st August.
Bed Five – Rhubarb and Globe Artichoke
I need to remove the old rhubarb, raise the soil level and replant the ones I grew from seed. I was hoping to raise the level under the artichokes but they seem to have bounced back from the flooding drama so I’m still undecided as to what to do. But I have plenty of time to think about it as the soil is too soggy to dig… again… I’m beginning to wonder if this is a one off blip in an otherwise gentle temperate climate or is it a more sinister sign of climate change?
Bed Six – Sweetcorn
This should be simple…. There is space for 60 plants and they should be all the same as most are destined for the freezer to bring a ray of sunshine in the winter months. Last year I ended up with gaps all over the place. They prefer to be direct sown – it helps them to establish a strong root system that will anchor these giants into the soil, and I’ll do this again this year – but I’ll pop some in the greenhouse at the same time in case I need to plug any gaps. Some years the conditions are ideal for some plants and terrible for others. Last year it didn’t smile favourably on my poor sweetcorn during its formative days.
I feel a bit more in control of this new season with a quarter of the garden planned. I can do this! At times like this I wonder why I have such a large garden, but then as I ponder each crop as I decide where to put it, I can almost taste the freshness in my mouth and I long for it to be time to grow everything.
Come again soon – the long and the short beds are next to be exposed to close examination.
Sarah the Gardener : o)