Sector 4 is all fruit so no planning needed there – all I have to do before the season changes is evict the aging three year old strawberries and replace them with their offspring runners to keep the production of delicious berries at an optimum.
So that leaves the back row that forms sector 5. If you take the two raspberry beds (27 and 28) out – which I’ll be replacing at some stage soon with fresh canes, there are only four beds in this section so it should be easy.
Bed 25 had the carrots and still has the parsnips in there, but we are doing our best to eat them. Last night I made some great parsnip fritters, but the kids weren’t too fussed about them – I say they don’t recognize quality produce when it is presented to them! And they should really learn to like them as they are a great way to use a lot of parsnips in one meal.
Once the parsnips have been consumed and ‘enjoyed’ this will become the salad bed. To be honest in this bed I normally like to use the variety that comes from a mixed salad packet, otherwise I’d just be tempted to put in too many of the same thing from the sheer principle that I have all these seedlings and wouldn’t want to waste them. I only put the salad in a quarter of the bed and then progressively add more across the season so the bed is in constant renewal. Any that don’t get finished before they bolt are gratefully received by the chickens or the goats. I also like to grow rocket for its spicy bite and my favourite recipe is roast pumpkin, red onion and feta cheese on a bed of rocket leaves. I also pop my radish in this bed. I don’t plant that many as I’m not a great fan of them, but I see it as one of those crops that mark a time and phase of the season and so it is more of a nod to the passing of time. Sometimes the days, weeks, months and seasons pass by so quickly that you need to stop every now and again and savour a radish.
The next bed (26) is what used to be my teaching bed – I’m not doing any teaching program this year which will be a refreshing break. But I do like to share my knowledge with people – just to get them growing something. It is a 2 x 3m bed in the ground and I pretend it is all I have in my back garden and grow crops in that space to suit a normal family. Maybe this year I’ll plant it out the same, but send the produce to the food bank or give to a needy family. Yup – that’s what I’ll do. The bed usually has beans, carrots, peas, peppers, tomatoes, corn, zucchini, salad and cucumber. I’ll rename it The Giving Bed.
Bed 29 is still a struggle for me to get my head around – it is the flower bed. I have good intentions about this, but may remove it from my generally planning or we will be here for months while I continue to wrap my head around the art of growing flowers!
The final bed in the sector system is the pumpkin bed. It is in ground as well as I want to encourage their roots to go down into the soil to find a consistent supply of moisture. Currently this bed is a bit of a weedy mess – but the bed that gets done last on a Friday does tend to suffer a little. Once this bed is planted out then I’ll put down a deep layer of mulch. There are so many varieties of pumpkin to grow and I have tried many of them. Many of them disappointed with their flavour and ended up rotting in storage or shrivelling up in the back of the fridge. So, it might sound boring but I grow what I like and these are the ones that are often found in the store. The only difference being I won’t need to pay for them. I like to grow Crown Pumpkins and Buttercup Squash. Add this to the Butternuts growing in bed 10 and we have a good supply for winter and they store well enough so I can have my roast pumpkin salad in the summer.
We also like to grow a few Atlantic Giants and after last years shameful 1kg effort the challenge is on – I shall grow a whopper.
And that’s it – my garden for 2017. It will be fabulous.
Come again soon – hopefully the storm the boffins are predicting will miss us completely. I’m over storms.
Sarah the Gardener : o)