Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Making a Plan - January Gardening

It's planning time. We have three beds that make up our veg patch and we're starting to come to some decisions about what we want to do with them this year. Each bed is about 1.5m x 3m so we have plenty of space to grow a range of things - but not enough to be completely self sufficient in veg over the summer. Our plan has always been to both rotate crops through the beds and try a few different things each year.

Last year we grew onions and garlic in bed one, potatoes in bed two and salad leaves, beetroot, cabbages, runner beans, courgettes and purple sprouting broccoli in bed three. We also had tomatoes in pots.

Photo from May 2013

Our plans for 2014 are being guided by a certain bit of news though. We've decided to take a few months unpaid leave from our jobs and do some travelling. We'll be out of the country for all of September, October and November and we're going to spend most of our time in New Zealand, though we're also stopping in Canada, Australia and Thailand. As you can imagine we're rather excited about this and I'm sure you'll hear more about it all as time goes on.

This has made us think more carefully about what we're planting. Not being here during the autumn is a little limiting, but means we can focus on those crops that will keep us going all summer.

Bed One was an easy decision. We really enjoyed having a fresh spuds in the garden all summer, and it saved us quite a bit on buying little polythene bags of baby potatoes from the supermarket. We'd mostly finished our potato crop by September and so we'll just plant a couple less plants this year, focusing on early varieties.

We've gone for Pink Fir Apple and Pentland Javelin which we had great success with last year, and have added Red Duke of York as a variety we've not tried before. These all came from the garden centre where they have a range of loose potatoes on a "fill a bag" basis. We found last year that this worked really well for us as one bag is plenty for our space and we could fill it with a mixture of varieties.  Joe set these out to chit at the weekend.


Bed Two is going to be given over to fresh salad leaves this year.  We can plant these as we go along and again should keep us going for all those summer months before our trip. We'll let you know what we plant when we make such decisions.

We then had a bit of a debate about Bed Three. We had wondered about leaving it fallow, then considered planting a green manure, before stumbling on the answer; peas! We're going to fill the bed with peas and broad beans which hopefully we'll enjoy for several months (read: be fed up of by the time we leave), and should hopefully do the soil some good too.

We've chosen "Hurst Green Shaft" pea variety and "Red Epicure" bean variety this year. Yes - a red broad bean, we were intrigued and decided that this definitely needed investigation (particularly with a description such as "'beany' flavour" - who could resist).


And thats it. We're keeping it simple and hopefully this should leave us with some time to get on with the rest of the garden as well.


10 comments:

  1. Hi Jenny,

    What exciting news and what a fantastic opportunity for you both. I'm not a seasoned traveller so I will really look forward to following your blog to hear your plans and hopefully get news of your journey whilst you are away.

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    1. Thanks Mitzi. We're hoping to have a mix of travel posts and our normal topics while we're away so hopefully you'll get a taste of where we've been.

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  2. Lovely news about your travel plans, the pair of you must be so excited! Some nice simple crops for you before you go as well.

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    1. We are very excited :D. We've got a few structural bits of the garden we're hoping to tackle this year, so keeping the veggies simple was definitely the plan.

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  3. That sounds really exciting. I wish we'd done it so grab the chance while you can.

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    1. Cheers. We suddenly realised that we had a window of opportunity so decided to take it.

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  4. Some great choices there! What an amazing trip you shall have. It will be so much fun planning it all. Hubs and I went travelling for six weeks a couple of years ago, it was awesome. We went to Thailand, Kuala Lumper and Australia....and have some wonderful memories.xxx

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    1. Thanks, sounds like you had a good trip too. We're looking forward to planning, and hoping that the next 7 months doesn't go by too slowly. We'll be keeping ourselves busy with the house and garden in the meantime though.

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  5. Your travel plans sound really exciting, I'm looking forward to hearing more about them. It sounds like you're making the most of what growing season you'll have, and don't forget that you can freeze your excess peas and beans for when you get home.

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    1. Thanks. Coming home to a freezer full of "fresh" veg sounds like a plan!

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