Growing Smart

Despite the fact that I’m still really a newbie to gardening (this will be my 3rd year), and that I just have a small amount of space, this year I hope to maximise the space I have to get the full potential out of every inch of ground. In orrder to do this I will;

1) Grow things in the best possible place for them – chillies, peppers and aubergines need warmth, so they’ll be filling the greenhouse; cordon tomatoes in pots will take advantage of my warm south facing brick wall; salads will be shaded by the fence and the bean and peas,  in pots to avoid the slugs; courgettes will be in growbags/large pots on the patio, again to avoid slugs; strawberries will be in large planters in a sunny area, and some of my bed space will be freed up for summer broccoli. I’ve yet to decide what to do with cucumbers, herbs etc.

2) Grow different varieties to try and extend the season, and have a backup plan where possible in case of crap weather again (ie, cool-tolerant tomatoes).

3) Grow the things I love to eat fresh and raw, and that cost a lot at the supermarket (fresh peas, beans and sugarsnaps, cherry tomatoes, tasty salad leaves, baby spinach (I don’t like mature spinach leaves, so I’ll not let them waste space by growing on to that stage!).

4) Enjoy every moment :)

In terms of successional crops, I’ve been working on that a little today. I plan on LOTS of peas and beans this summer, as me and Chris both love them raw. I found a guide to when to plant what peas, and it looks like I’ll be going for an early crop of Meteor, followed by Kelvedon Wonder and Early Onward planted in march, followed by Onward, and finally another late planted lot of Kelvedon Wonder.  Most peas are fairly short, so they’ll be in front of a taller row of beans and sugarsnap peas.

In terms of beans I have Cobra and Blue lake for climbing french beans, some borlotti climbers to grow beans for soup/stew, and rather too many dwarf types! (Purple Queen, a dwarf borlotti, The Prince, Kitchen Favourite, Ferrari, and Purple Teepee). I may have to try and wheedle that list down a little ;) The dwarf ones will probably be mostly in containers. They all have fairly similar cropping periods (June/July to October), so I’ll try to plant smaller amounts successionally to extend the crop.

As you can see I have a bit of a seed ‘habit’ – this is just the legumes!

Oh, and I’m finally starting to get some things growing :) The first lot of meteor peas were moved into Bed1 outside yesterday, covered by fleece – the garlic is also starting to show some proper green growth. Inside, I have several types of chillis, peppers, aubergines and herbs in propagators which are gradually starting to appear – the Jalapeno pepper seedlings were transplanted this evening :)

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